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Lunchables have concerning levels of lead and sodium, Consumer Reports says

Consumer group speaks on health concerns over Lunchables
Consumer group speaks on health concerns over Lunchables 02:45

(CBS DETROIT) - High sodium can be cause for concern for anyone. Now with pre-packaged snacks in the spotlight, experts recommend cutting back on junk and opting for fresher items because you never know how harmful the snack could be.

"You know, a kid could be getting a quarter to half of their daily sodium intake from one of these kits, which is a lot for a small meal, and it kind of just puts them in a bad space," said Kevin Loria of Consumer Reports.

The popular snack kit Lunchables should be removed from refrigerators, according to Consumer Reports.

Though a quick and easy snack, we're told the health implications of too much sodium can set the children up for lingering issues.

"Kids with high sodium diets are about 40 percent more likely to develop hypertension than kids who eat a low sodium diet," Loria said.

In total, the organization tested 12 different lunch and snack kits from different companies. In it, they found lead in the kits.

They said the levels weren't over regulatory standards, but it's still troubling. 

"Even low levels of exposure to heavy metals can contribute to cumulative exposure," Loria said.

As of recent, thousands signed a petition rallying to have the snack kits removed from school lunch programs. Consumer Reports said the snack kits served at schools are even higher in sodium than those sold in stores.

According to the Michigan Department of Education, the products served in school aren't the same ones on grocery shelves.

"It's important to note that most products served in schools are not the same ones on grocery store shelves. These products are specially formulated to meet nutritional standards (lower calories, sodium, etc.). Some schools serve what they call a "Lunchable," but it's actually a meal they prepare to resemble what students see in stores or commercials," said William G. DiSessa, spokesperson with the Michigan Department of Education

"The majority of children don't meet the recommendations for consuming fruits and veggies, so looking and starting there..what could I add to my child's lunch or dinner, how can incorporate healthier snacks," said Caroline Susie with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Susie, who is a registered dietician, recommends shying away from packaged products and perhaps packing items yourself. Officials also said not to be scared to include frozen fruits and vegetables. 

"I think it's important to know that frozen is just as fresh as fresh," Susie said.

It's recommended that those looking for healthier and cheaper alternatives should buy in bulk especially to allow you to slice your deli meats.

"Perhaps chicken breasts or something like that…and then slicing at home, it's a wonderful and healthier alternative for sandwiches," Susie said.

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