1 ouf of 100 Packed Lunches Meet Basic Dietary Standards

The push to improve nutrition in schools is not getting to the country’s children, with just 1 in 100 packed lunches meeting basic dietary standards, so recent research suggests.
Well publised school campaigns by the Government and Jamie Oliver to improve children’s packed lunches have not had minimal impact, with sweets, crisps, as well as sugary drinks taking precedence over fruit, vegetables and milk-based products.
The research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests that just 1 per cent of primary school children’s packed lunches meet the nutritional standards set for school meals in England.
A third of children are given low-protein filling sanwiches, with just ten per cent being given sandwiches containing vegetables. Another ten per cent are given a separate portion of vegetables. The foodstuff least likely to be eaten was fruit, with confectionery being the most commonly consumed.
Around half of British schoolchildren eat a packed lunch brought from home, which equates to 5.5 billion packed lunches consumed each year.
New standards setting out the required healthy food groups for prepared meals came into force for all local authority schools in England in 2006, prompted by concerns that school lunches were not providing sufficiently healthy food choices.
They specify that school lunches must contain protein rich and low-fat starchy foods, fruit, vegetables and dairy products.
Meals may not include sweets (confectionery), artificially sweetened drinks or savoury drinks. These were followed in 2008 by more government standards on the fat, energy, vitamin, salt and nutrient content for school meals.
All the children were taking a packed lunch to school at once a week, and nearly 90 er cent ate a packed lunch each day.
The type and quantity of foods in every child’s lunch box was recorded and weighed before and after lunch on one day and contrasted to Government’s school meal standards.
Savoury or sweet foods that are allowed are, vegetables, and natural juice, milk or pure water. Sandwiches, sweets, savoury snacks and artificially sweetened drinks were the most common items.
20 per cent plus had a packed lunch containing savoury snacks, sweets and sugary drinks; with another 40 per cent having sweets and snacks, but no sugary drink. Less than ten per cent had none of these foodstuffs in their lunchbox.

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