PARENTS

What's So Wrong With A Packet Of Crisps In Packed Lunch?

10/04/2011 23:03 | Updated 22 May 2015

When did food get so confusing and complicated?

What we're supposed to eat, what's 'bad' for you, whether to compare nutritional content to GDA or RDA, whatever they are (Guideline Daily Amounts & Recommended Daily Allowances for the record) leaves almost everyone in a spin.

I bet my own mother, a retired home economics (cooking, domestic science) teacher, would have little knowledge of how big a piece of her delicious fruit crumble to dish out to me, or her grandson. As far as I am concerned she doesn't need to know. Low fat custard anyone? I don't think so.

It's my responsibility what I choose to eat and, as my child's only parent, his diet is also my responsibility - one I take seriously. Not to the extent of performing calorific burn tests on every single piece of food or meal he has consumed, but much more than a passing interest.

Considering his first year critical I allowed absolutely no 'rubbish'. Now I label everything as rubbish that has a very high sugar content, or would make greaseproof paper transparent. But I quickly and disgustingly discovered that too much of 'good things' can be bad for you too, or your nappy changer anyway. Also that low fat is not necessarily always a good thing, especially not the very young.

I like to think I have done a good job of providing my son with a sound balanced diet, and his form would certainly suggest so.

But it seems the lines of parental responsibility for a child's diet get decidedly blurred when a child starts schoolwith the choice between school diners and packed lunches.

Like many parents I opt for a mixture of both. In reality my son generally decides if he fancies something from the day's menu, carefully considering his class' queue position that week, before deciding whether to give me a sandwich order.

I'm bombarded with healthy eating messages,which I'm supposed to be supremely grateful for while I craft his ham sandwich. But is being told what to eat, or what can and cannot be included in a packed lunch really what we need?

I don't think so.

And I don't like being dictated to by a dinner time operative, who dare I say it, is clearly no more qualified than myself in the practice of eating the right things.

Sometimes my son comes home without having eaten all of the contents of his lunch box, citing the bits he has left as unhealthy, and that he was told he shouldn't really be eating them. Such 'advice' leaves him not only confused, but under the impression that eating is a black and white scenario.

Like insisting that a sandwich - buttered white bread and processed ham for example - is healthy, whereas a packet of French Fries is 'bad-for-you'. Which if you go by the saturated fat and salt content is a completely flawed argument.

Education, and food education is vital for children. But it is not a lesson I want to abdicate responsibility for.

Judging by this recent story on Parentdish, It seems that lots of people agree that the government should not tell us what to eat.

My son knows where foods come from, what are generally considered good and bad, and the effects they have on his body. What happens at school is a supplement to what he has learned from the many people in his life outside of it.

I appreciate that this is not the same for every child, and that there is a public outcry when it is perceived that the state has failed to intervene to prevent a child from being terribly fed.

But I don't believe it's the best idea for other people - the Government, the school, whoever - to take responsibility for every child's diet. Those already believing they feed their children well may resent it – like I do - and there are others at the end of the spectrum who will blame the school, state or government, anyone else, when their children are unhealthy.

Do you agree?

Have you had issues with the school's policy on packed lunches?

Or do you think they're right to preach 'healthy eating'?

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