MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - With students still getting back into a routine at school, parents may wonder if their children are picking the best options for a balanced lunch.
School lunches should be high in protein and low in sugar.
Nutritionists said if you want your kids to pick the healthy options at their cafeteria lunch, you should teach them early about these options.
Leslie Albers, manager of the St. Francis Surgical Weight Loss Center, said having enough protein at lunch will help your child's concentration at school and prevent a sugar crash.
To round out a lunch, she recommends a serving of fruits or vegetables and water.
Statistics show kids are drinking less sugary drinks than 15 years ago, but they still count for about 10 percent of a child's caloric intake.
Albers said if you're to avoid one thing at school, it's soda.
"One soda a day increases the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes. If a child becomes overweight and obese in their early years, they're likely to become an overweight or obese adult," Albers said.
Some fruit juices can have just as much sugar as soda as well.
Albers said always opt for the whole fruit.
And the old saying about breakfast being the most important meal of the day? It's true.
Albers said make sure not to skip breakfast. For families on the go, she recommends a high protein yogurt with a healthy cereal bar you can grab.
"You need to have a protein and a complex carb," Albers said. "When you feed them sugar, they're going to crash. They can have symptoms like being shaky and nauseated and just not feeling good and they can't focus."