Updated 09/06/2012 07:19 AM
Packing a healthy school lunch
One in three American children and teens is overweight or obese. As our Katie Gibas tells us, that's why the American Heart Association recommends parents take an active role in their kids' lunches and snacks.
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UNITED STATES -- One in three American children and teens is overweight or obese. And they're facing many health issues that didn't used to be seen until adulthood, like type two diabetes and high blood pressure.
Even though schools are making an increased push for healthier options for students, more often than not, kids are choosing the less healthy meals and snacks. That's why the American Heart Association says parents can make a huge difference.
Experts suggest packing lunches look like a rainbow with different colored foods, like red apples, orange carrots, and green salad.
It's also important to choose foods from different food groups. The Alliance for a Healthier generation recommends a serving of vegetables, fruit, a low-fat dairy item and a source of protein like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, or beans.
They also recommend skipping sugary drinks and opt for water, low-fat milk or 100-percent fruit juice instead.
"As a society, we move less than we used to and we eat larger portions, and unfortunately, it's impacting our children as much as it is adults. So thinking about what we feed our children at lunch, snack and at home can really make an impact on their health and their lives," said Kathy Garofalo, Nurse Practitioner & American Heart Association Board Member.
And don't forget about after school snacks. Experts recommend high energy foods like whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese, light yogurt, whole grain cereal, or a whole grain granola bar. And fresh fruits and vegetables are always a great choice too.
For healthy school lunch ideas, check out the links below.