Should parents get tough on lunch box demands?

Should parents get tough on lunch box demands?

August 21, 2014

Every parent wants the best for their child but it’s not easy to ensure they eat carrots over crisps. With pester power being as powerful as ever, it’s not surprising that parents give in to demands for lunch box foods banned by schools.

In a YouGov poll* for Bacofoil it emerged that around one in four parents with children aged 18 or under who have taken a lunch box to school (26%) have broken school guidelines. Amongst these people, crisps, chocolate and biscuits are the most popular illicit food types.

The foods which parents have put in their children’s lunch boxes that were against their school’s guidelines
Crisps 54%
Chocolate Bars 47%
Biscuits 39%
Sweets 21%
Sugary Drinks 17%
Nuts 15%
Other 3%

Should schools have control over the types of food that parents can put in their child’s lunch box? According to the Bacofoil study, 61% of parents surveyed disagree and mum of two, Grace Hughes shares this view, “I think parents have enough information to guide them but the challenge is making healthy food look interesting and appealing. Children can be very fussy and there’s nothing worse than your child returning home with a lunch box that’s still full. You want them to eat healthier foods but not at the expense of them not eating at all.”

In response to the study, Bacofoil has developed a ‘Lunch Box Makeover’ campaign to help parents make lunch boxes as healthy and child friendly as possible. This includes tips from mums and nutritionists on everything from creative wraps to involving their children in selection process.

“We don’t think parents have to get tough on lunch box demands from their children but we do think they can involve them and make lunch boxes more fun so that healthier eating is a pleasure rather than a chore.” says Adrian Brown, MD of Bacofoil owner Wrap Film Systems.

Here are a few of Bacofoil’s lunch box tips:

  • Children do often like food they can eat with their fingers. You could try vegetables such as carrots or peppers and give them some houmous to dip the veggies in. Airtight containers are great for storing these to take to school.
  • Replace chocolate bars with some dried fruit. Some brands such as Yu! are made from 100% fruit but are made to look and taste like sweets. These appeal to children’s tastes and make them seem more appetising, but are very healthy too.
  • Vegetable crisps are a great alternative, being relatively simple to make and you can always swap the vegetables you use. Just slice very thinly and roast in the oven, checking regularly. Using Non-Stick Foil will also mean there’s no need to use oil or butter. They look similar to potato crisps too making them a great hit with stubborn little ones.