Thursday, 28 September 2017

Primary Schools and Lunchboxes Debate

Today the issue of schools and lunchboxes has been all over the media. The BBC ran the story of a school in Bradford banning high fat foods. Sausage rolls and pork pies are on the hit list. This has been widely discussed on social media today and my local radio station had a phone in on the subject. Schools and lunchboxes is a topic that comes up again and again and polarises opinions.

My opinion is that the school are in the right on this. 
I am certainly not a food purist, my children are no stranger to a sausage roll or slice of cake and as part of a well balanced diet I have no issue with children eating them. As far as I am concerned moderation is the name of the game. 
I am also well aware that some children have complex issues around food. Not genereal fussiness but things such as sensory issues. I want to make it clear that I am not talking about those children. 

When you send your child to school you agree to the rules they set, you arrive on time, make sure your child attends and wears the uniform. Schools for their part have a duty of care to their pupils and part of care is nutrition. They must follow the governments school food standards in the meals they provide. They are also able to set their own policy on packed lunches.

We have an issue with childhood obesity in the UK. Last year it was found by year six 1 in 5 children are obese and more are classed as overweight. When these sorts of figures are released people call upon schools to do something for these children. When they do just that people are up in arms about it. Breakfast and dinner are eaten at home (in most cases) but lunch is at school.  When children are coming to school every single day with a sausage roll, bag of crisps, a pot of sugary yogurt, carton of juice and a chocolate bar for their lunch that child is clearly not getting a balanced diet. In fact that type of lunch can easily make up over half of a childs recommended daily calorie intake.

For a school a blanket ban on very unhealthy items that they see coming in a staple part of lunchboxes is the easiest way. Lunch supervisors can't keep note of every childs lunch 'oh you have a sausage roll today but that's okay because you had pasta and veg sticks yesterday' it isn't realistic. A blanket ban is easier to implement. Another way would be to have one set day a week where the rules are more relaxed.

I would love to know your opinions on  the primary schools and lunchboxes debate.

Popular this week