Processed foods: What's your take? Is there one you can't live without no matter the nutrient content?
Packing lunches can be a chore for some busy parents, but experts say you can't overlook what your kids eat these days. Data from the Centers of Disease Control show about 77% of our sodium-intake comes from salt in processed or restaurant foods. But there are healthier options that don't take a lot of time to prepare.
Only a pinch of our sodium-intake comes from the salt shaker these days. Instead, they're packed in some common items in the grocery store.
"1) the portions are actually quite small for the amount of calories that they contain," says Linda Bartholomay, a Sanford Health Dietitian.
Not to mention they'll leave you still hungry, and not very satisfied. Bartholomay says watching your family's health all comes down to going fresh.
"Having things on hand, kind of a pre-stock pantry is a good idea," she says.
Let's start with a salad -- pre-cut-up vegetables are a little more expensive, but makes making a lunch easier. Try adding some parsley or cilantro to add a little flavor and Vitamin K. Linda says darker colors of lettuce tend to last longer.
"You can buy them, wash it up, key it on paper towel in a bag in fridge and it's quick and easy," says Linda.
Be careful of what you stack in your sandwich. Go natural with the cheese -- Linda says each slice equals a glass of milk in protein, or an ounce of meat. As for deli meats, grab the lower-sodium option that contains a quarter less salt.
"Deli meats are hard because they're almost all high in sodium," says Linda.
There's also ways to shed some of that sodium off. Experts say rinsing through your canned vegetables or beans before cooking takes out about 40 percent of sodium.
We all deserve a snack during the day. Instead of a bag of chips, go for nuts mixed with a high-fiber cereal, or a Greek yogurt high in protein. Always go with fruit, but not the juice box.
"[Some of them}will give you two samples of fruit, but it has no fiber. It's predominantly sugar."
If you want to keep food longer, frozen vegetables and fruits are another healthy option. You also don't need to buy everything organic -- Linda recommends picking out a few priority items that would benefit you the most.