As school starts and the kids are packing their lunches, almost every parents wants to make sure their kids are getting the nutritional balance in order to grow up strong, healthy and happy.

According to the CDC's State Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Profile, the Division of Public Health and the Governor's Office joined forces to launching the Live Healthy Georgia campaign with the aim of increasing awareness about the risk factors associated with chronic disease.

Giving your kids an early start to a healthy lifestyle will have long-lasting results and most of all, your kids will have a foundation for great eating habits and an active life.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's 'Strong 4 Life' program looks to educate parents on what are the best options for snacks, meals and other nutritional aspects associated with giving your kids a healthy diet.

One school lunch hack that the CHOA's 'Strong 4 Life' likes to suggest is creating healthier and cheaper 'prepackaged lunch packs' like the kind found in grocery stores. These typical prepackaged lunches contains as much sugar as 40 jelly beans and as much fat as a serving of ice cream.

Parents, you're busy and sometimes a quick fix for your kids' lunch could be the key to your stress-free lunch-packing needs.

Here are some suggestions:

Kids love to dip their food, so why not pack some veggies and hummus for lunch? Add our healthy sides an they're good to go!

  • Fresh veggies (like cucumber, carrots or bell peppers) with hummus
  • Whole-grain crackers or rice cakes
  • 1% plain low-fat milk or water

Research from CHOA shows that 42% of Atlanta parents give their toddlers, aged one and younger, 100% fruit juice. Children who start drinking fruit juices at an early age are more likely to be avid drinkers of sugar-sweetened beverages later in life and more likely to be overweight in early childhood.

Don't be deceived by the '100% fruit juice' labels, this does not always mean it's a healthier option.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released new juice guidelines that state juice should not be introduced to infants before one year unless clinically indicated.

A child's daily intake of sugary drinks should be limited to:

  • 4 oz. in toddlers ages one to three years
  • 4-6 oz. for those four to six years
  • For those seven to 18 years, limit juice intake to 8 oz. or one cup of the recommended 2-2 1/2 cups of fruit servings a day

You can check out the 'Strong 4 Life' website for information about food parenting with age-specific tips, facts and advice from experts and parents at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.