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Whats in your lunchbox

Whats in your lunchbox
Millions of British children are tucking into lunchboxes containing more than double their daily sugar intake, a study has found.

These images show six different lunchboxes contain the kind of ingredients eaten by 52 per cent of children up and down the country every day.

But four of them contain at least 47g of sugar – more than double the 19g maximum recommended daily intake for 4-6-year-olds and almost twice the 24g 7-10 year olds should be having.

Four of them also contain between 1.51g and 2.09g of salt - more than half of the maximum 3g a 4-6-year-old should be consuming.

But research has found 39 per cent of parents have no idea how much salt and sugar their children should be having in a single day, so admit they struggle to keep to the limit.

A spokesman for MyProtein, the creators of healthy snack range Little Beasts, which commissioned the research, said: “Even though parents often have their children’s best interests at heart, many kids are eating much more salt and sugar than they should be.

“And many of the so-called ‘lower fat’ or ‘non-sugar’ snacks make up the shortfall in other ways, with a low-fat content usually replaced by a higher amount of sugar, and sugar-free items often containing more fat.

“Our study found that there is a real danger of British children growing up less healthy than they should be, due to the packed lunches they take to school.”

Despite all this, more than three quarters of British parents believe that the lunchboxes they make for their children are healthy.

Each week in their packed lunches, kids eat an average of 2.2 yoghurts, 2.5 chocolate or cake bars, 1.9 packets of crisps and 1.3 cookies or biscuits.

And the reason that 46 per cent of parents make packed lunches is that they can keep a closer eye on what their kids are eating – with another four in 10 saying they prefer it because it’s cheaper.

One in five parents admit that in general, they’re clueless when it comes to how healthy the food they put in their child’s lunchbox is.

And that figure jumps up to 3 in 10 when asked about how much salt and sugar their kids are consuming from their packed lunches.

Despite the evidence to the contrary, 55 per cent of parents think their children are consuming about the right amount of salt for their age.

Sixty per cent think their children are eating about the right amount of calories, although nearly a third admit their child probably eats more sugar than they should.

Interestingly, a third of children have an equal say with their parents in what goes into their lunchboxes – with the parent making the sole decision in only 50 per cent of cases.

Eight in 10 parents say they let their children influence what they buy in the supermarket.

And price and nutritional value are almost neck-in-neck when it comes to the most influential factors when it comes to buying snacks for under-16s, and one in 10 parents admit to being swayed by celebrity endorsements.

Almost a third of parents have been told by schools that their child’s lunchbox contains unhealthy items that shouldn’t be there.

And to make up the vitamin shortfall, a quarter of parents rely on nutritional supplements like multivitamins or Omega 3 / fish oil tablets to give their kids nutrients.

A spokesman for Little Beasts added: “With reduced sugar, fat, and sodium, as well as zero artificial sweeteners, colours or flavouring, the Little Beasts range has been developed to offer healthy snacks for children’s lunchboxes, while appealing to their visual senses and taste buds.

“By choosing Little Beasts, parents can have 100% peace of mind that their child is enjoying delicious, nutritious smart swaps, which will have a long-term effect on their everyday life – naturally helping them to make better food choices in the future.

“All products in the range have reduced sugar levels by up to 60%, and fat levels by up to 40%, to help prevent early childhood weight gain. In addition, products contain up to 50% more fibre to maintain a healthy gut and help keep children fuller for longer.”

Recommended maximum daily amounts:

4-6 year-olds
Sugar 19g
Salt 3g
Fat 18g

Sugar 24g
Salt 5g
Fat 22g


Sliced ham sandwich on multiseed bread,
Petits Filous 100g pot or similar
Go Ahead snack bar or similar
Dry roasted peanuts 25g serving or similar
Yazoo 200ml strawberry milkshake or similar

Sugar: 49.7g
Salt 2.09g
Fat 26.4g

Sliced chicken on 50/50 bread
Chocolate mousse 60g
Natural fruit and nut bar
Pack of Hula-Hoops or similar
Can of Diet Coke 330ml or similar

Sugar: 26.1g
Salt 1.89g
Fat 14.8g

Brown pitta with sliced ham
Chocolate mousse 60g
Natural fruit and nut bar
Packet of prawn cocktail crisps or similar
Water 500ml

Sugar: 26.2g
Salt 1.51g
Fat 16.1g

White pitta with sliced chicken
Strawberry Fruit Corner or similar
1 banana (100g)
Packet of Hula Hoops or similar
Innocent kids smoothie 180ml or similar

Sugar: 63.8g
Salt 1.49g
Fat 13.1g

Sliced ham on white bread
Full fat Babybel cheese or similar
1 red apple
Frubes 80g serving or similar
Yazoo milkshake 200ml or similar

Sugar: 47.1g
Salt 1.89g
Fat 11.9g

Chicken spread on 50/50 bread
Coco Pops snack bar or similar
100g black grapes
Petits Filous 100g pot or similar
Fresh apple juice 150ml

Sugar: 54.8g
Salt 1.35g
Fat 13.6g

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