These Are The Worst Foods To Add To Your Kids' School Lunch

Parents who have had difficulty getting everyone dressed and fed before walking out the door, only to remember that the kids' lunches still need to be packed can understand the appeal of convenient, pre-packaged lunch options. Unfortunately, some foods that are easy to pack and will keep well until lunchtime are really unhealthy, too. Many snacks and lunch items are packed with sugar and other less-than-great ingredients that won't keep kids full for long. That's why it's so important to steer clear of the worst foods when packing a school lunch. One of the biggest culprits of all the items packed inside your lunch box is actually the drink. Things like soda, juice boxes, and other sugar-laden beverages are partially responsible for the rise in obesity (via The Daily Meal).

Packing foods that will help kids focus and perform well in school is very important, which is why options that are high in fiber, like whole-grain bread for a sandwich, can be helpful. It's also good to avoid artificial dyes, which may lead to hyperactivity, chromosomal issues, lymphoma, and tumors.

These popular lunchbox foods are packed with sugar and other bad ingredients

Some foods are pretty obvious to avoid. Things like candy, cookies, and little snack cakes are probably not great options to send to school — but there are other foods that are sneakier bad picks. Active Kids says foods like fruit snacks or fruit roll-ups pack a lot of sugar and may use artificial dyes as well as wax to make them shiny. The outlet states trail mix with dried fruit or fresh fruit that can withstand travel (like an apple) are good alternatives. Yogurts that are marketed to kids suffer the same issues as fruit snacks, as they usually contain added sugars and dyes. Instead, let kids pick real fruit to add to plain or vanilla Greek yogurt for a healthier option.

Many pre-packaged lunches like Lunchables — which are often slices of meat and cheese with crackers — are also a poor choice. They often contain more sodium, fat, and even sugar than you'd ever suspect. This is the same reason you might want to avoid processed deli meats. Instead of these admittedly convenient packs, make your own lunch kits and opt for meats and cheeses that come from your grocery store's fresh deli counter, or even use meat leftover from last night's dinner. Watch out for those crackers too! Some, like Goldfish, are low in fiber and high in sodium. Choose healthy crackers that are the reverse, even if they sadly aren't as cute.