I have been talking to the children in Yrs 3-6 about healthy packed lunches and in particular, the high amounts of sugar some food contain and the impact on their health. This letter clarifies our approach to ensuring children have - where they choose to - a balanced, healthy packed lunch.
As a rule of thumb, children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (= 6 sugar cubes). Some individual items in a small number of packed lunches - clearly exceed that.
The letter below (and the policy on our website) set out our expectations on packed lunches as we teach the children about healthy choices, for life.
Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of difficulties with some of the items coming in children’s packed lunches, so I am writing both to clarify our expectations on this and also to simplify the system so that parents can better understand the requirements.
As you may be aware, there is an increasing issue with childhood obesity and tooth decay and, as an accredited Healthy School, we want to support parents as much as possible to make healthy choices for their children’s meals. There is also a clear link between a high sugar intake and poor behaviour, which we seek to protect our children from.
We recognise that this issue can sometimes be confusing and would like to clarify this further.
School kitchens – like ours - must stick to very strict nutritional guidelines about what can and cannot be included in school meals. This includes any salt, sugar and saturated fats. The menus have been specially designed and tested to ensure your child receives a healthy, balanced diet full of nutrients and vitamins as well as carefully controlling the amount of fat, sugar and salt.
This means that although the children will sometimes have puddings, cakes or chips for example, these are sourced and cooked in a healthier way and are presented as part of a balanced menu over the week. We understand that it is sometimes hard to explain this to children, who may see their friends as being allowed to have something on school meals that they are not as packed lunches, but we can control the sugar, salt and fat content of school lunches in a way that we cannot with packed lunches.
In the past, we have tried to ensure that packed lunches are of a similar healthy standard to school meals.
Therefore, to clarify our guidelines for packed lunches, they can include anything so long as there is NO:
- Nuts (to safeguard those with allergies)
- Fizzy drinks
- Sweets, chocolate bars, chocolate covered biscuits (eg Kit Kat) or chocolate mousse.
Please note that:
- Cakes and plain biscuits are allowed - but only 1 of these per day
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.