Should school packed lunches be banned?

Prue Leith, Great British Bake Off judge, has called for school packed lunches to be banned with immediate effect as childhood obesity continues to be a source of national concern.

Almost 10% of 4-5-year-olds are classed as obese, according to the National Child Measurement programme, with that number rising to 20% for 10-11-year-olds leaving primary school.

The Bake Off guru is calling for drastic action, with the same school dinner served to all and lunchtime acting as a lesson in itself.

Although an extreme approach in some respects, there are a range of healthy alternatives to go in place of the more established staples of lunchboxes of the past.

Standard school packed lunches for children would be; sandwich, crisps, fruit and chocolate, or sweet, treat. But there are different options out there. Here are a few replacements that can make a child’s lunch much healthier:

  • Salad wraps are a colourful, low-fat substitute for a sandwich. Fillings can include salad, with a bit of cheese or hummus. This adds flavour to a crunchy wrap which is colourful and potentially more exciting for your child to eat. Not a fan of the salad wrap? Mix it up with flavoured pasta instead to provide a tummy-filling alternative.
  • Ditching the chocolate treat, why not mix berries and strawberries into yoghurt. The end product is a bright, tasty and naturally sweet pot of pudding which will be significantly healthier than a chocolate bar.
  • Sometimes, the secret is in the presentation. Take a few extra minutes to prepare your fruit into chunks which are placed on kebab skewers and it makes for a lively, rainbow effect which children will be more likely to eat than a slightly  single apple.

These are just a few of the ideas suggested by BBC Good Food. Getting the younger generations to develop healthier eating habits could go some way to combating the rising figures in childhood obesity.