Back to School: Establishing healthy eating habits

Back to School: Establishing healthy eating habits (WRGB)

ALBANY, NY (WRGB)--Healthy habits start at home, according to local pediatrician, Dr. James Saperstone.

"It's not what parents say, it's what they do," he said.

The city school district of Albany is going above and beyond the regulations already in place when it comes to what students are eating at school.

"We actually double our fruit and vegetable servings to give the students more choices, so if they don't like the hot broccoli maybe they like the cold celery," said Food Service Director Lisa Finkenbinder.

Food service director and registered dietician lisa finkenbinder says you won't find a fryer inside any of the school cafeterias.

What you will find are "fruits and vegetables, we offer whole grains, we meet our protein but if there's also chicken nuggets they're coated in whole grain," she said.

And lunch doesn't have to be boring to be healthy.

"Yes we have pizza, it's on whole grain crust, it has low fat cheese on it, we're meeting a whole bunch of needs and there's a lot of variety," said Finkenbinder.

Lowering fat content, adding more whole grains, decreasing sodium levels are all necessary steps to fighting obesity.

"People don't realize how much obesity can contribute to many many cancers, so it's an epidemic," said Dr. Saperstone.

Whether your child buys school lunch or packs their own - it's best to stay away from processed foods.

Finkenbinder says foods packed with vitamins and minerals keep children energized through the day and their brains concentrating on the task at hand.

The key is establishing eating behaviors and tastes early so healthy habits last a lifetime.

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