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Saturday 20th January 2018

The aim of the lunchbox is to make sure children eat

13th January 2010

Writing in The Telegraph, Anna Maxted responds to research that shows many parents fail to comply with nutritional standards when they make their child's lunchboxes.


I give my seven-year-old the same lunch everyday of Marmite sandwich, yoghurt drink, carton of juice and Shape bar.

Research from Leeds University suggests I am like 90% of mothers who give their children nutritionally-suspect lunches.

Of the 1,300 seven and eight-year olds surveyed, more than 25% had a lunchbox containing sweets, crisps and a sugary drink and only 10% contained a portion of vegetables.

We are warned by the government and the schools about lunchbox contents, even though they appear ignorant of the fact that many young children eat carrots, grapes, cucumber and apples quite happily at home.

The truth is, we have “begged and forced” our children to go to school with a “flask of home-made broccoli soup, tomatoes, a banana, an organic flapjack, a peanut butter sandwich on granary bread, dried chopped apricots and a peach smoothie.”

What happens – we open the lunchbox to find none of it has been eaten.

So many things that may be healthier and more attractive to children are also rejected by the food police, as they contain things like nuts.

Lunchbox ideas from children’s cook Annabel Karmel were little help, with suggestions such as Spanish omelette and Chicken Caesar salad.

There is another issue – unless you want your child to be bullied, do not send them to school with food that smells.

Parents have to compromise over school packed lunches.

A super healthy packed lunch that remains uneaten is a far worse than a less than ideal choice that is eaten.


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