School lunch boxes exacerbate sugar rush

School lunchboxes often contain more than a child’s entire recommended daily intake of sugar, a new report has found.

The Children’s Food Trust pester power index, which uses Kantar Worldpanel data to look at the top types of foods eaten by under-16’s in hundreds of millions of packed lunches, found that products like crisps, chocolate biscuits and sugary drinks are among the top foods parents put in kids’ lunchboxes. This is despite the fact such foods cannot be served in canteens due to Government school food standards.

One of the most worrying findings, according to the Trust, is that almost one in five lunches includes a ‘one-shot’ fruit drink of which the top branded products contain more than the entire daily recommended intake of free sugars for an average six year-old.

Linda Cregan, CEO of the Children’s Food Trust, called on schools to put a packed lunch policy in place to make life easier for parents and to give kids a consistent message. She also said the Government’s childhood obesity strategy should include practical solutions to counter the negative influences on children’s diets.

“All of us need to be eating fewer biscuits and cakes and we should start to model that in schools, perhaps by offering only a portion of fresh fruit or yoghurt for dessert on at least a few days a week,” said Cregan.

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