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The Physicians Committee



Cancer on a Cracker? Five Worst Packaged Kids Meals

Lunchables and similar packaged lunches seem like cheap and convenient options, but many pack a hidden cost—an increased risk for chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes—according to “The Five Worst Packaged Lunchbox Meals,” a new analysis by dietitians with the Cancer Project.  

crackersThe Lunchables Maxed Out Cracker Combo Ham and Cheddar from Oscar Mayer is the most unhealthful packaged lunchbox meal, according to the report. The LunchBoxers Pizza from Norwegian Jake's and the LunchMakers Bologna Cracker Crunchers from Armour-Eckrich are among the other items singled out.

To compile the report, Cancer Project dietitians reviewed nutrition information for nearly 60 packaged lunchbox meals offered by major food companies. The five most unhealthful items were ranked from worst to least bad. Lunchables Maxed Out Ham and Cheddar Cracker Combo topped the list because it has 22 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,600 milligrams of sodium—more salt than younger children should consume in an entire day.

The report found that most packaged lunchbox meals have little or no fiber and are high in fat, sugar, sodium, and cholesterol. Many also contain processed meats, which are linked to increased cancer risk later in life.

“Packaged lunches might be convenient, but these high-fat, high-salt products can be hard on your kid’s health,” says Cancer Project dietitian Krista Haynes, R.D., L.D. “Most Lunchables and other packaged lunch meals are packed with saturated fat and cholesterol. The only way to get significant fiber from these products would be to eat the box.”

The Five Worst Packaged Lunchbox Meals

Rank

Meal     

Manufacturer

1

Lunchables Maxed Out Cracker Stackers: Cracker Combo Ham and Cheddar   Oscar Mayer

2

Lunchables Maxed Out Cracker Stackers: Cracker Combo Turkey and Cheddar            Oscar Mayer

3

LunchBoxers: Pizza        

Norwegian Jake’s

4

LunchMakers Fun Kits: Bologna Cracker Crunchers       Armour-Eckrich

5

Lunchables Nachos Cheese Dip and Salsa          Oscar Mayer

Read the “Five Worst Packaged Lunchbox Meals” report.



 

PCRM Online, May 2009

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