TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Here's a warning before you prepare your children's lunches.
Denise Harrison has years of experience packing lunches for her kids. "Mine do prefer to bring their lunch to school versus buying it," said Harrison.
While making sandwiches may be common, cheap, and quick, the World Cancer Research Fund is urging parents to avoid using processed meats because of cancer concerns. Oncologists say the problem is the high nitrate and saturated fat levels in these meats. "That's clearly known to cause gastric cancer," said Oncologist Dr. Habte Yimer.
The American Cancer Society says women should only eat one piece of bologna two or three times a week. Men can have three pieces five or six times a week.
Cancer concerns are not the only danger. Nutrition expert Rene McCarty said high sodium levels are found in processed foods and could lead to high blood pressure and even heart failure. "We don't know what's in it exactly," she said. "If you read down the list of ingredients, most people don't have enough chemistry background to know what they are actually eating."
McCarty said kids do need more fat and sodium than adults, but there are healthy alternatives to processed lunch meat. "Cheese is good for kiddos," said McCarty. "See if your kiddos will eat peanut butter. Yogurt is another good thing."
Harrison's youngest starts high school next week, and she says she will be boxing up some healthy lunches. "We will stay with the chicken and the veggie burgers," said Harrison.