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Breakfast gets top billing as the most important meal of the day, but lunch isn't far behind. Dr. Oz says small changes in your child's lunch can have big results. "Every big diet program that has ever worked over long periods of time has shared one characteristic—that you shave off 100 calories a day from what you would have eaten and not more," Dr. Oz says. "When you try to lose 400 calories, your body says, 'Hey, wait a minute. We're in a famine.'"

David says the lunch your child eats will determine how alert they are for their afternoon classes. To avoid what David calls "nap-in-a-box" lunches, he's put together three suggestions for healthy, nutritious and tasty lunches.

Option 1:
  • Turkey with Swiss sandwich on whole wheat bread. "You want to start off with a sturdy anchor of lean protein, healthy fats, good-for-you carbs," David says. "Your kids will probably whine for a couple days about the whole wheat. ... They'll want the sugar [of white bread], but this is a very smart change because it goes back to the fiber point."
  • A low-sugar gelatin snack and pretzels. "Kids love crunchy things," David says. "This is much better than chips."
  • Tropicana Fruit Squeeze. At only 40 calories, David says the real fruit juice is great for kids. "You can make the single greatest change in your diet and lead to rapid weight loss if you focus on the beverage," he says. "And a lot of fruit juices out there can be like sodas."
Option 2:
  • Slices of ham, Triscuit crackers and Swiss cheese. "Ham is a surprisingly lean cut," David says. "[Swiss cheese] is lower in calories, sodium and fat."
  • Apple slices and peanut butter or caramel apple dip. To keep your apples from turning brown during the day, Dr. Oz recommends sprinkling lemon juice on them. "It has vitamin C. It prevents the apple from turning brown," he says.
  • Individually wrapped Rice Krispie treat. "It's 90 calories," David says. "You have to give your child something to brag about or barter with in the cafeteria."
  • Skim milk. "One change there is that 100 calories in a day," David says. "As you go from 2 percent to 1 to skim, and 100 calories a day is over 10 pounds a year. Three-hundred calories a day is over 30 pounds a year."
Option 3:
  • Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread
  • Squeezable yogurt
  • Carrot sticks with caramel dip
  • Water. "The greatest no-cal drink on the planet," David says.
Be patient if they don't get too excited right away, Dr. Oz says. "It takes about 12 exposures to a taste for kids to finally say, 'You know what, I think that's okay,'" Dr. Oz says.
FROM: Dr. Oz Reports: Why America's Kids Are Fat
Published on January 27, 2009
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.