Lunch box lunacy

Parents are failing to put enough fruit and veg into their children's packed lunches, health experts have warned.

The School Food Trust, which examined 3,500 packed lunches in England in 2009, says about 40% of lunchboxes do not contain any fruit or vegetables, compared with 10% of school dinners.

It said parents should consider switching to school meals.

Yes of course, you would love that wouldn't you. You can't regulate and control what parents choose to feed their kids if they give them packed lunches. If they all went on school meals you could make sure they are all fed the same 'healthy choices' that you dictate. What's next? Ban the packed lunch and turn all feeding over to the state?

Patricia Mucavele, research and nutrition manager at the School Food Trust, which offers its own advice on packed lunches, said, "School lunches are now the most nutritious choice for children and young people.
"Packed lunches aren't as nutritious as school meals - they are typically higher in saturated fat, sugar and salt, and often contain foods that can't be provided in schools, such as sweets and salted snacks.

Sweets and salted snacks can't be provided in schools? It's a long while since I went to primary school but I'm assuming then that the 'tuck shop' is a thing of the past?

I was at primary school in the early eighties before all this PC and healthy eating claptrap became big business for fake charities. I'm not a fat whap and I'm quite healthy, as are many people my age. There is no need for all this nannying in our schools.

Meanwhile, the World Cancer Research Fund has set up a website to give parents advice on healthier lunchboxes.

It might be a website about food but you will need a strong stomach to go visit it.

This website is supposedly written to help adults make healthy choices for children, yet it is written as though only under fives will be reading it. No self respecting adult could read through any of that and take it to heart, it's kidspeak all the way through.

There is a section where you can create a lunchbox meal planner for the week by selecting choices to put in the lunch box then printing it out.

There is also a section on cooking your own food with recipes.

Every food item suggested in these sections is totally vegetarian. There is no suggestion on the site that it is intended to be vegetarian or that children should be fed as such, but you just try and find a ham and tomato sandwich on there and you won't succeed. There are no meat related products at all.

Here are some of the options:

Butternut squash soup with wholegrain bread
Cous cous with roasted vegetables and chickpeas
Wholegrain pasta salad with tomatoes, green beans and sweetcorn in green pesto sauce
Low-fat cream cheese on wholegrain cracker with grapes
Carrot and cucumber sticks
Dried fruits

"What have you got for dinner today, Chardonnay?" "Cous cous with roasted veg and chick peas."

Yeah right. There is nothing wrong with a ham and tomato or tuna mayo sandwich. It's only lunch, you can still prepare them something healthy for tea in the evening. As long as a diet is balanced, kids will be healthy. It doesn't need to be mega healthy vegan slop 24/7. Throw a 'salted snack' in there if you want. Salt is also part of a healthy diet.

"It can sometimes be difficult for parents to control what their children eat, particularly if they are passing shops on the way home from school or visiting their friends.

No, it's quite simple. Children don't have any money apart from that which their parents give them. If they pass shops on their way home from school they can only spend what money they have been given. Some also have minds of their own, although if I had been given wholegrain cous cous with non fat chick peas for my dinner I would want to get something more substantial from the shop

But parents can influence what is in their packed lunches and the fact that not all of them are doing so is a missed opportunity."

Parents don't influence what goes in a packed lunch, they have the final say. I think the bit that disappoints you is that a lot of parents don't think the same way as you. Maybe one reason is because they are not middle class hippies paid by the taxpayer to follow the life you champion.

The trust's 2009 Primary School Food Survey, included an in-depth look at the contents of almost 3,500 packed lunches across 135 schools in England.
It found 58% of those with packed lunches had items that could count towards their "five a day" fruit and vegetable target, compared with over 90% of those eating school meals.

Yes, the five a day target, pullet out of thin air by 'experts'. As long as the nippers are not eating pie and chips every day, they will do just fine. It's time the fake charity got it's fingers out of kiddies dinners.

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