School packed lunches deemed unhealthy
Shocking new figures show that 98 per cent of primary school children’s lunch boxes are unhealthy.
Brimming with sugary treats, pastries and bags of crisps, the new figures, released by Leeds University in partnership with butter alternative brand Flora, found that parents are shunning healthy lunches in favour of diet disaster foods.
Few of the lunch boxes looked at contained the minimum standards for energy, protein, vitamin A, iron or zinc. Less than 20 per cent of the packed meals met energy needs, meaning children were at risk of an afternoon slump later in their school day.
Some of the unhealthiest boxes included one that was made up of pastry, a packet of cheese flavoured crisps Wotsits, a chocolate bar and a blackcurrant squash. Another included a chocolate roll, a packet of potato crisps Hula Hoops and blackcurrant squash.
While results are slightly better than they were 10 years ago, the soaring sugar content is still a big concern. The team calculated that 52 per cent of lunchboxes contained too many sweets and 60 per cent had too many unhealthy savoury choices.
Only 17 per cent of the lunches had vegetables in them, while a whopping 83 per cent had sandwiches, with white bread by far the most popular choice.
“I hope the results of the study are an eye-opener, highlighting that more stringent policies need to be introduced if we want to see real change in the nutritional value of children’s packed lunches,” said lead researcher, Dr Charlotte Evans, a Nutritional Epidemiologist.
She warns the British government and schools need to take action on the war on junk food.
“New policies for schools, food manufacturers and retailers are needed, which will require strong support from government and stakeholders if progress is to be made,” she urged.