With another school year underway, health officials are reminding parents about the importance of eating healthy. The American Heart Association has some suggestions about how to pack healthy for your family. YNN's Brad Vivacqua reports.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Eating healthy can be a challenge sometimes, but the American Heart Association is encouraging parents to help their kids make the right nutrition choices.
The childhood obesity rate in the United States has tripled in the last 50 years. The AHA recommends packing a lunch at home, to ensure kids receive the proper nutrition without the added fat, calories, and salt.
According to experts, the healthy choices begin at the grocery store. Parents should try to buy plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole wheat bread, and low fat dairy snacks.
Every lunch should include one serving of protein, which could be meat, chicken, or fish.
"The overall food that's available to everyone should be healthy foods, and sometimes time is a crunch factor in the mornings. So, make it a family thing where the night before you are planning and packing a lunch so it's ready to grab when you go out the door," suggested Cheryl Smith, St. Joseph's Hospital Registered Dietician.
Some other tips include packing pre-packaged snacks with fewer than 100 calories, cut your fruits and vegetables at the beginning of the week to have them ready to go, and prepare your child's lunch ready on the night before school.
Health officials say it's also important to make sure kids are eating healthy snacks after school too. For more tips and information about packing a healthy lunch, head to www.heart.org.