WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most children are not eating the two-and a half to six-and half cups of fruits and vegetables each day. Many are taking in more salt than they need. Experts also say kids are drinking more sugary sodas per day than milk.
Studies show that eating healthy helps our children perform better in the classroom.
So what should you put in your child's lunch bag? Local nutritionist Danielle Omar, MS, RD of foodconfidence.com, and her daughter Nora shows us how they prepare for a healthy school day. They say that part of the fun is the process of packing the food.
Omar says, "It's very important to getting kids just very excited about lunch, you know putting food into cute little packaging, it gets them excited about that."
It gives them a chance to pack their own healthy snacks. Nora likes to add strawberries and frozen grapes. You can also pack guacamole and hummus in the containers for snacking. Danielle says snacking is a big part of kids' lives, this is where they get a third of their calories.
"So right here I have these "Way Better" snacks which are sprouted tortilla chips. So they are a healthier tortilla chip. We love sprouting in our house, it is so fun to do and I like these because they sort of upgrade your snacks," adds Omar.
Foods made of sprouted beans, seeds, and grains is a great way to unlock the nutrients.
Omar says, "So it helps for people who have problems digesting the grains, some beans, some seeds. It helps to increase digestion, it really intensifies the antioxidants and the vitamins and minerals."
When packing a lunch, be creative, but make sure you remember to mix it up.
"Make sandwich kabobs. Nora loves yogurt and you should always have yogurt in her lunch. You want to have a protein, and you know some kind of fat, there is fat in the almond butter," adds Omar.
For more protein, add edamames, black beans or lima beans.
Omar says, "Whatever beans you child loves, throw them in there."
"I think this costs a little more than the snackable type, but the quality is much higher. Or you can go to a 'big box' store like a Costco and get this stuff in bulk. I think that over time the savings even out and I think the savings you are giving your child not getting sick, being a healthy child in the long run is gonna be better," adds Omar.