Parents may be shortening their children’s lives by giving them huge packed lunches which are packed with sugar and saturated fat.
While the trend for ‘lunchbox shaming’ often goes too far, it seems that many parents still don’t know what, or how much, food to give their kids.
Experts claim that school cooked lunches are now the healthiest option for little ones.
While many of us remember Turkey Twizzler’s and potato smileys with beans in primary school. these are now very much a thing of the past.
Paul Evans, from School Health UK and the Obesity Society, is campaigning to show parents the health benefits of school dinners.
School Health UK research showed that in 2018 it would cost £6,000 per year to cook one pupil’s school dinners using ingredients from the supermarket.
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That’s a huge saving when kids up to the age of seven eat for free and after that parents only pay close to £2.20 for two courses.
Far cheaper than even most packed lunches.
Parents sometimes struggle to keep up with strict school rules around lunchbox contents with many banning nut products, sugary snacks and drinks as well as insisting ons several fruit and veg items.
Paul Evans said: "Parents are shortening their children's lives and wasting hundreds of pounds a year by choosing packed lunches.
"Gone are the days of turkey dinosaurs and potato smileys (covered in salt), a frosted cake with pink custard and half a pint of extra-sugar squash."
Paul is trying to push mums and dads who choose to pack lunch for their children, around half of all parents, to move to school dinners.
He claims that the swap will save them money and improve their kid’s long-term health.
He said: "If all a child is given to eat is cakes or crisps and Fruit Shoots to drink that is what their body will use to grow."
CEO of School Food Matters, Stephanie Wood agrees with him.
She said: "Research from the University of Leeds confirms that packed lunches are no match for a school meals".
Stephanie said that findings showed only 17% of children’s lunches contained vegetables and salad.
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Additionally, only 1.6% of lunches met the nutritional standards that school meals have to meet.
She said: "We believe the very best lunch available at school is a hot, nutritionally balanced school meal."
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