Saturday, 12 November 2011

... and rubbish food

Some of my work involves working with children at primary and secondary schools. Every time I witness break time, I can see a class of 30 take out their bag of crisps each, followed by a chocolate bar.
30 crisps packets per class, in every class, every school day.

My older daughter will be starting school soon and I dread the advent of peer pressure. The other day, on our way home, she already explained to me how she needed chocolates in her lunch box because one child (note, just one!) in the forest kindergarten always had chocolate. I didn't manage to bring across how that wasn't a good idea, as much as I tried.

In the good old time of my own childhood (which of course weren't all that much better) I never saw a bag of crisps. We ate crisps for parties, occasionally as a treat at weekends in the house. My lunch box? Well, I ate at home, didn't get money to spend and would eat a sandwich for lunch which occasionally came with chocolate tablets as filling. I remember waffles which were sweet and probably not very healthy. But most certainly there were no crisps and no chocolate bars ever. Similarly, I would never have thought about spending my pocket money on sweets. It just didn't occur to me. I saved for Hifi's, cameras and later records.

So as of September, will I have to bend down to pressure or will I manage to rule with authority? I shudder to think of a packet of crisps going down my child 5 days a week on 38 school days. How much rubbish is that over 12 school years? Rubbish in terms of nutrition but also in terms of waste. So I had this idea when one group of children (who surely have their bags of crisps too) suggested that we could do a project on a healthy eating theme. Well, how about doing a crisps free lunch, or even a rubbish free lunch day, a day where all the lunches have to be either without packaging or one that can be recycled?

I'm rather excited by this idea. Not sure if the kids will go for it though and they have the say as far as picking a project is concerned. Temptation usually wins doesn't it? Or maybe not?

As for my own children, somehow the school furthest from a shop has taken on a new appeal.


Laura McIntyre said...

It can be hard sometimes - i admit i have give my kids crisps or sweets for snack sometimes but it is now and then when there is nothing else there - they normally get little fruit snack bags.
I admit i do give my dd2 (she is the only one of my girls that goes packed lunch) a little treat like a Kit Kat with her lunch , her sister goes hot lunches and always gets a cookie/jelly etc.. with it and she felt sad not getting it.
As with everything its all about balance and moderation

Frambooske said...

I hate the crisps in children's lunch boxes too :(. I only every had them on a 'film night' and they were a real treat. They do make those 'vegetable' crisps now, parsnips, beetroot etc. I suppose you could make a batch in the oven once in a while as a treat - then you'd know there's no extra salt in them either. So glad I've got a bit longer before having to deal with peer pressure etc - good luck :)!

cartside said...

Of course it's fine in moderation, what gets me is that at every break the packet of crisps comes out. My kids have crisps, and biscuits, and cake and chocolate but not as a rule at every meal, and only if it's not on the expense of good food. I'm also ok with a sweet as a desert, it's just this peer group pressure that I'm worried about.

Muddling Along said...

This is one of the advantages of being slightly out of the loop as a working mum - Bigger gets her lunch made for her and gets what we pack (and in reuseable wrappers!)

We are lucky though that our school has a no junk policy so no sweets or crisps in the lunchboxes



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