We've been asked by the Press Association to comment on the Packed Lunch Policy, which advises that lunch boxes should include at least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables every day and should avoid crisps, chocolate bars, biscuits and sweets. Maybe you've been told off for putting a treat in your child's lunchbox? Or maybe you're pleased that government's helping you stand up to pester power? Do you think the guidelines necessary/useful? (Thanks in advance)
Here's why they are asking:
By Rosa Silverman, Press Association
(ADVISORY: First ran yesterday under embargo)
Page 1: 02:47
Nearly two thirds of parents believe schools should not dictate what they put in their children's lunch boxes, according to new research released today.
The Government's School Food Trust (SFT) has issued advice on the subject and early last year drew up a Packed Lunch Policy schools could use.
But a survey suggests parents resent such intervention, with 64% saying schools should not tell them what to put in their children's packed lunches.
Just 10% of parents interviewed admitted that their children were not eating the healthy lunch they packed for them, the study by consumer researchers Mintel found.
Emmanuelle Bouvier, senior consumer analyst at Mintel, said: "Mums and dads may feel insulted at the assumption that they don't know what to put into a simple packed lunch.
"Many parents choose packed lunches precisely because it gives them greater control over what their child eats - much more so than with school dinners.
"These new guidelines clearly take this control away and understandably this is putting people's backs up."
But the survey also suggested that parents had been making healthier food choices for their children since the Government published its guidelines.
In 2006, before the latest initiatives were introduced, 66% of mothers said they tried to give their children a mixture of healthy food and treats.
In the latest survey this number rose to 86% of parents.
Nearly three quarters of parents (71%) thought school dinners were healthier than they used to be.
The SFT said its packed lunch guidance was intended to help schools work with parents to ensure as many children as possible received the fuel they needed to stay healthy and alert.
A spokesman said: "Our research has clearly shown that the average packed lunch is not as nutritionally sound as a school dinner which is, of course, now subject to rigorous standards.
"It is up to individual schools to adopt policies of their own but many parents have told us that school meals can take away the worry of putting together a packed lunch because they are nutritionally balanced."
The guidelines include advice that lunch boxes should include at least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables every day and should avoid crisps, chocolate bars, biscuits and sweets.
:: A sample of 532 parents or guardians of children aged four to 16 were interviewed.
Should schools dictate what goes in your child's lunchbox?
JustineMumsnet · 02/02/2009 16:35
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