This week the American Beverage Association announced it is recommending limiting soft drinks in schools, a move that comes amid increased pressure to curb the epidemic of childhood obesity. The weight worry along with the rising cost of school lunches has many parents reconsidering the packed lunch as school starts up again.
Nutrition researcher Anna Maria Siega-Riz says involve kids in the process and stock a smart kitchen. "So the best thing to do is is to be able to have foods that are available and say here are some options that tare healthy options then your child decides from those healthy options," says Siega-Riz.
When it comes to drinks, this nutrition expert says milk and water are best and advises parents to avoid sodas, fruit drinks and even juice. "Because they replace a lot of space for energy dense good calories that you need and some nutrients and it's just full of sugar," says Siega-Riz.
For desert - try yogurt, fruit and fat free pudding. The bottom line is that lunch may seem like a small meal, but it can have big impact on the food choices a child makes over a lifetime.
Actual time for eating lunch at most schools only lasts for 15 to 20 minutes and is filled with distractions. Experts say make sure the lunch foods you pack are easy to eat and easy to open.