Swap some sweets for a healthier treat

Barb Conners preparing the snack for the day.

Illinois has the fourth highest obesity rate in the country.

In Adams County, more than 40 percent of kids are overweight or obese, but schools are working to break that cycle.

Barb Conners comes in everyday at 5 a.m. to prepare a fresh fruit or vegetable snack for more than three hundred kids at Washington School. She says its something many students don't see at home.

"It is expensive and I think it's important they get a healthy snack everyday. I do think it's very important," Barb said.

She's right. A combination of a federal and state grants cover the cost of these snacks, but buying fresh produce and healthier foods can add up to a much higher grocery bill.

"We already know that if you want to eat at home a quote, healthy diet, I've read estimates it can cost up to ten times the cost of a fast food restaurant, " Dr. Dennis Go said.

Cost, convenience, and picky eaters can all make it hard to incorporate healthier foods into your family's diet. The transition is worth the trouble. Swapping out simple carbs, like sugary snacks, for a healthier option like these grapes is a start.

"We tend to get stuck on brown meals where we have chicken strips and fries and chocolate milk so all our food is brown and we really need to get more associated with color at our meals, get more fresh fruits and vegetables," Registered Dietician Ashlyn Meyers said.

Meyers says families need to look out for portion size and preparation as well. Baked and broiled means less fat than fried foods with the same protein or vitamins. Barb Conners just hopes parents will support what she's trying to do at home.

A cup of fresh fruits and veggies is just the beginning of a bigger change in school menus.

Friday on KHQA News at 6, we'll show you how the new federal school lunch program affects students.