A headteacher has shamed parents who are sending their children to school with “worrying” packed lunches, including a day-old McDonald’s Happy Meal.
Jon Carthy, who works at the Byron Primary School in Gillingham, Kent, issued the warning to parents in a school newsletter, highlighting real examples of food that he and his staff have uncovered in the past few weeks.
One pupil had a McDonald’s hamburger and chips that had been purchased the previous evening.
Another had two packets of crisps and a crisp sandwich, and another had a four-yoghurt multipack and a tube of Smarties.
One of the children, who are all aged between five and eleven-years-old, even had a chocolate muffin, a chocolate roll and a Yorkie bar, with no other food.
Carthy said: “Whilst extreme and funny to read on paper, I must make this clear these are not acceptable examples of a balanced packed lunch.
“Children work very hard at school and a balanced meal at lunch time helps provide concentration for the afternoon.”
The school provides free school meals, funded through a government subsidy, to children in reception and years one and two. For children in year three and above, they cost £1.79 per day.
A McDonald’s hamburger Happy Meal costs £2.69.
Carthy told Kent Live: “We have 525 children at the school and every single child took that letter home and it has been posted on the website. I’ve only had positive comments back. Parents have said thank you and told me that someone needed to say this.”
He also provided guidelines for parents on what to include in their child’s lunchbox, placing emphasis on one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables of salad.
“Snacks such as crisps should not be included. Instead, include seeds, vegetables and fruit (with no added salt, sugar or fat). Savoury crackers or breadsticks served with fruit, vegetables or dairy food are also a good choice. Cakes and biscuits are allowed but these should be part of a balanced meal,” he added.
And if you’re struggling to come up with packed lunch ideas, The Huffington Post UK has spoken to eight parents and bloggers for some healthy foodie inspiration.
Emily Leary, 33, who blogs at A Mummy Too has two children and said: |Making up freezer batches of savoury muffins or tomato pasta salad can be a real time saver – freeze in individual portions so that there’s no faff in the morning.
“Wraps and rolls only take seconds to fill.”