Time to rethink what you pack for child's lunch - WSMV Channel 4

Time to rethink what you pack for child's lunch

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Before you put your kids on the bus tomorrow, take tonight to rethink their school lunch.

"It's very easy for kids to fall into a habit where they want the same lunch every day," said Dr. Joseph Gigante from Vanderbilt's Children Hospital. "So if it's processed meats and cookies, they'll be getting extra calories and salt, which they don't need."

So what do kids need in their lunch box?

First, skip sodas and sugary drinks, instead pack water and milk.

When it comes to your child's sandwich, use whole grain or wheat bread, whole wheat wraps or pita. You should also be selective with sandwich meat.

"A lot of sandwich meats have high sodium and high fat," said Gigante. "Look for low fat and leaner cut meats, turkey and hams, are better options than regular lunch meat."

Along with the sandwich, the snacks.

The American Heart Association suggests these options instead of chips:

  • Unsalted sunflower seeds
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Fat-free or low-fat cheese sticks
  • Unsalted rice cakes

And here's a twist that may satisfy your son or daughter's sweet tooth.

"Having apple slices and peanut butter is a healthier snack than throwing a candy bar in there," said Gigante.

If you don't pack your child's lunch, you still can have a big impact on what your child eats at school.

Talk with them about healthy options, like salad bars, now offered at many Metro schools.

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