School time is upon us and it’s time for parents to head to the grocery store and load up the pantry for school lunches. While many of us will reach for the quick and easy premade meals, it’s time to consider the detrimental effects these foods can have on our children.
Many products are advertised as “100% turkey” and “whole grain,” when in reality, the deli meats are loaded with preservatives and the breads, crackers and pizza crusts are pumped with partially hydrogenated oils. Sodium is also a large issue, as one pack of Lunchables, for instance, contains approximately 1,000 milligrams of sodium; to put that in context, your child should be consuming around 1,200 milligrams…per day! Most of these convenient foods are loaded preservatives, sodium, saturated fat, and other harmful additives; parents need to be on the lookout for healthier and more natural lunch options for their children. Registered dietician Christina Moreno encourages packing balanced meals consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
Now, this is easier said than done. Most parents have a busy schedule: soccer practice, a full-time job, and maybe even a few littler youngsters home with them during the day. Don’t fret. There are healthy, options you can give your kids without worrying about additives and unnatural ingredients. Instead of white bread, opt for whole grain. Try replacing soda and juices with water. Go for fresh sliced fruits or organic yogurt in place of chips and sugary snacks. Not only does sugar push your youngsters into a midday lull, but it also increases their chance of heart disease, cancer, and other deadly conditions down the line.
Whether you’re making simple changes or redoing the refrigerator completely, you’ll feel better knowing your child is consuming nourishing, healthy foods that increase concentration and energy.
One word: preservatives. Pumped with additives, sugar, and sodium, premade sandwiches like Crustables are definitely worth avoiding at all costs. Opt for healthy leftovers or homemade sandwiches instead.
Loaded with unnecessary sugar and calories, toaster pastries are another nutritionally empty snack choice. Skip these sweet treats for a healthier option, like a homemade granola bar.