The Caterer
Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Only 1% of packed lunches in primary schools meet nutritional standards

12 January 2010 by

Just 1% of packed lunches for primary schoolchildren come up to the nutritional standards set for school meals in England, a new report has found.

A team of researchers from Leeds University examined 1,300 schoolchildren's lunchboxes and found that healthy foods like fruit and vegetables lost out to crisps and sugary snacks.

The study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, involved children aged eight and nine who took a packed lunch to school on at least one day of the week.

Over a quarter of the children had packed lunches containing food and drink banned under rules on healthy prepared meals for local authority schools in England, which came into force in 2006.

Only one in five packed lunches contained any vegetables or salad, according to the Journal. Although half of children had fruit in their packed lunch, it was the least likely thing to be eaten.

The chair of the School Food Trust, Prue Leith, told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I'm not really surprised at all, because it absolutely chimes with the research we have done.

"I have never met a mum who could resist putting in a little bit of chocolate or a cake or a packet of crisps."

Leith recommended a ban on unhealthy treats in lunchboxes.

"I think parents would prefer their children not to eat unhealthy food. If the school makes a rule that packed lunches have to be healthy, the parents can say ‘You can't have a chocolate bar in your packed lunch, the school won't allow it' - it makes it easier for the parent," she said.

Lead researcher Charlotte Evans, of Leeds University, said: "It reflects the typical diet of the whole population. Most adults would also have crisps or a chocolate bar and not enough fruit or veg in their lunchbox.

"There are many initiatives going on to improve our diet and exercise, but change won't happen overnight."

Around half of children in the UK eat a packed lunch - the equivalent of 5.5 billion lunches every day.

Older pupils still shunning healthy meals, finds report >>

School Food Trust welcomes Government food strategy >>

Free school dinner pilot boosts uptake in County Durham to 86% >>

School Food Trust launches £1 school dinner campaign in North Somerset >>

By Neil Gerrard

E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.

If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk

Caterersearch.com jobs
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs

Blogs on Caterersearch.com](http://www.caterersearch.com/blogs) Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
[Newsletters For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail newsletters.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

close

Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking