Whatâs in your childâs lunchbox?
The school lunch crisis was first brought to the public eye when Jamie Oliver revealed the shocking state of children's diets in his 2005 television series. A year on and Jamie is back in the classroom with the problem seeming to be no better as shocking new research reveals the high level of sugar in our nations children.
The research, conducted by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of Young People, shows that the average British boy eats the equivalent of 21 teaspoons of sugar a day, while girls consume an amount equal to 17 teaspoons of sugar. On average two thirds of all the sugars in our childrenâs diets comes from sweets, cakes, fruit juices etc.
There is no question that the nations childrenâs diets drastically need to be improved and quickly. However the question is how? How easy is it to introduce healthy food into your childâs diet? A very simple step such as having an apple a day as an alternative to other sugary foods provides your child with important nutrients that can assist with well-being and helping to prevent illness.
Consultant nutritionist Juliette Kellow BSc RD joins us live online to offer advice on introducing healthy and enjoyable alternatives for children that wonât have them reaching for the biscuit barrel.
Juliette Kellow joins us live online on 26th September at 15.30 to discuss introducing healthy food into your childâs life
CT – Carmel Thomas
JK - Juliet Kellow
CT: Good afternoon and welcome to today’s show, my name is Carmel Thomas and this is our food and drink show. Now you may have seen Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners, it’s been almost a year since Jamie showed the shocking state of children’s diets at school. Now it’s been almost a year on and nothing seems to have really improved. Research shows that the average schoolboy eats about 21 teaspoons of sugar a day, and girls eat about 17. now there’s no doubt about it that something has to be drastically done about this and very quickly as well; but the question is, what? Now I’m joined today by the lovely Juliet Kellow, hello Juliet
CT: Juliet is a nutritionist, a consultant nutritionist. She’s written columns and columns about diets and she’s here today to tell us about a good alternative for your children, what to pack them for their lunch box. So Juliet, welcome to today’s show
CT: And this is a big problem, big big problem
JK: Yes it’s a massive problem I mean as you say we know that children are having too much fat, too much sugar and too much salt in their diets, and the great news is there are now school nutrition guidelines in place which means that children are far more likely to get a healthy school lunch, and also any food provided at school whether it’s in the tuck shop or whether it’s in the vending machines, you know children are guaranteed to get a healthier option, but you have to remember that school lunches are only about a third of a child’s daily intake -
CT: Yes, it comes from the home really doesn’t it?
JK: Two thirds of what they’re eating is coming from outside of school
CT: And they always say don’t they the five portions of fruit is what a child needs – what I’ve always wanted to know Juliet, what exactly is a portion?
JK: Yes I mean five fruit and veg a day, it’s really really important and it’s actually much easier for you to achieve than we think it is. So for example starting the day with a glass of fruit juice
CT: Would that be a portion?
JK: This kind of quantity of fruit juice is one portion, then packing something like a nice Golden Delicious apple in your school child’s bag -
CT: They’re lovely and sweet aren’t they?
JK: Lovely and sweet, they’ve got a very thin skin so children love them, they love the sweet taste and the fact that it’s not got a tough old skin that they’ve got to chomp on, so that’s another portion. Adding a tomato for example to a sandwich counts as a portion -
CT: Oh fantastic, yes
JK: Small handful of grapes, few little grapes like that, that’s one portion
JK: So we’ve got four already and then 3 tablespoons of vegetables whether it’s peas or carrots or leeks – that will count as your fifth portion
CT: So it’s not really difficult to get your five portions. And I think a lot of parents want to know as well you know – what is a good alternative to pack in the children’s lunch box, because as you said it comes from home so eating well at home, but then what do they pack their kids during the day and how do they stop them from snacking on chocolate and crisps?
JK: Yes I mean I think when it comes to lunchboxes I think one of the big problems is actually boredom, so you see children going to school day after day with white bread processed cheese sandwiches, a couple of bags of crisps and then a chocolate bar and a couple of biscuits, and the kids are bored frankly with that. I mean as an adult we’d be bored if we had exactly the same every day, so I mean the key elements first of all, something with some starchy carbs. Starchy carbs help to provide plenty of energy for children so they’ve actually got enough energy they need to concentrate for the rest of the afternoon, so that might be wholegrain bread, it might be some wholewheat pasta in a salad, it might be some brown rice in a salad. And vary the breads you know, if you’re going to do sandwiches use rolls, use tortilla wraps, use different varieties of bread to get the variety in there. And then filling it with say chicken or tuna or egg or lean meat, ham for example, all those sort of protein-rich -
CT: It makes a variety for them as well
JK: - Always putting in, I would say a couple of portions of fruit and veg, so it might be an apple, it might be a handful of grapes. It could be a banana and a handful of cherry tomatoes, and I would say the younger children are, go for the kind of foods that, or the fruit and veg that they can pick at, so grapes and cherry tomatoes are great for young children because they can eat them a bit like sweets and with things like your apples, chop them up into pieces, a bit of lemon juice will stop them going brown, children are far more likely when they’re young – if they can pick up a chunk of apple -
CT: - Little bit rather than a whole apple. And you can get little boxes of raisins, little packets of fruits in the supermarket now can’t you?
JK: Yes, dried apricots, those sorts of things. Now the other element of a healthy packed lunch box is really sort of like having some form of dairy product because dairy is full of calcium which is needed for healthy bones and for growing bones in particular, and the most important time for calcium as a nutrient is during childhood and the teenage years, because that’s the time when you’re really building up your strong bones. So a pot of reduced fat yoghurt a carton of semi-skimmed milk, something like that, even a sort of like a milkshake drink or a yoghurt drink if it’s low in sugar, and that will help to make sure that children get enough calcium, so really you’re looking at a carbohydrate type of element, like your sandwich with your protein in there, couple of portions of fruit and veg and at least one dairy in there
CT: It all sounds pretty tasty as well!
JK: Yes and it’s really about mixing it up and you know – I think one of the most important things is that children actually talk to their parents about food and find out what they like and what they don’t like. I mean I would love to see the situation in a few years when instead of children bargaining chocolate bars and packets of sweets and cans of drinks with each other and -
CT: They’re bargaining their fruit!
JK: They’re bargaining their fruit!
CT: They could be because at the moment you know I think that a lot of children feel alienated when they’re coming to school with a healthy lunchbox and someone else has their chocolate and their crisps. Now we are taking questions for Juliet, if you want to send us a question, just type your question in and type where you’re from and your name as well, and just click submit and we’ll take the questions live in the studio, we’ll ask Juliet and she’ll be able to answer them for you. I have a question already for you Juliet, it’s from Helen and Helen wants to know “what are the health dangers of my children having too much sugar in their diet?” and I suppose that leads to obesity – I read somewhere as well Juliet that a lot of children – a lot of parents don’t even know their child is overweight?
JK: Yes that’s absolutely right, there’s some shocking statistics which are showing that parents aren’t recognising the fact that their children have got a weight problem, so there’s no impetus for them to change their diets but I mean the dangers of sugar, I mean let’s get this into perspective, I mean not all sugar, you know small amounts of sugar in the diet aren’t particularly bad, but it’s when you’re getting most of your nutrition from things like chocolates, biscuits, cakes, those sort of foods have got lots of fat in them usually, lots of calories and no nutrients, so they contribute to the increasing problem of obesity as you say
CT: What other physical effects could that lead to in the long run for children?
JK: Well I mean obesity in the long run for children in particular, there’s some really big emotional issues, you’ve got problems with self-esteem and confidence, there’s also quite often bullying behaviour rightly or wrongly you know children feel alienated when they’ve got a weight problem. I mean it’s the same any child whose remotely different from the rest will be picked on, and that’s unfortunately the way things work in the playground
CT: I suppose in school then as well maybe lack of concentration or a lack of performance as well, tiredness -
JK: Yes exactly, children not wanting to go to school so they’re kind of more likely to try and stay off school, so then you’ve got education issues, you know children aren’t performing as well as they could. In the long term of course you’ve got an increased risk of all sorts of diseases – heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, joint and bone problems, back problems – you name it, I mean the body’s not designed to be carrying too much excess weight, so when it does, it does it starts to go wrong in every – from top-to-toe pretty much
CT: I’ve got another question in Juliet, it’s from Chloe. Chloe wants to know “what do you think today’s children – why do they have such a bad diet?” I mean you’ve written columns about this, you know that shocking ad at the moment with the child drinking back the litres of oil showing you how much fat is in a packet of crisps. What I want to know is, and I think a lot of parents do as well – why is nobody taking notice?
JK: Well I think people are beginning to take notice, the government have got lots of plans in place, education have got lots of plans in place to actually improve nutrition overall and to improve knowledge so that people can make informed choices. But I think, you know one of the key things when it comes to children’s diets, when you think about it as adults, now if we were sitting here and we had chocolate bars and fruit in a bowl, we would probably, nine out of ten times go for the chocolate. Fat and sugar make food taste really really great but as rational adults we can say well we’ll go for the fruit most of the time and we’ll just have the chocolate occasionally. Now quite often with children -
CT: They don’t know that
JK: At 6 or 7 they can’t make that rational choice, all they know is that the chocolate bar probably tastes better than the cherry tomatoes and therefore they’ll choose the chocolate
CT: So do you think it does really boil down to parents at home?
JK: Yes – it’s not all on the parents but I think you know, a new survey out by South African Golden Delicious apples has actually said or found that ¾ of parents actually hold their hands up and say it’s my job to see that my child eats well and that’s fantastic news but you know it’s really important but it’s one thing saying it, it’s another thing actually making sure that they then provide children with healthy options
CT: So it’s very good to give parents the knowledge as well. I’ve got a question for you here Juliet and it’s actually one I’m quite interested in as well, Daniel sent this in – he wants to know how many calories are in an apple?
JK: About 50
CT: 50, so when you look at a packet of chocolate bars it could be hundreds of calories
JK: Yes I mean if you compare you can probably eat five of these chocolate bars to an apple, there’s usually about 250 / 270 calories in a standard chocolate bar
CT: That’s a lot!
JK: Most fruits are around about 50 calories a portion, bananas a bit more. But you know this is why fruit is generally such a good choice because it helps to fill kids up – and adults as well, it’s packed with fibre as well which will help to keep sugar levels stable, and it’s got lots of vitamins and minerals in and it’s relatively low in calories and also very low in fat so you can eat lots of apples to every chocolate bar!
CT: So it’s a good alternative. On the apple question as well James sent us a question, he wants to know “does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?” Is that true?
JK: You know what, an apple a day keeps the dietician away and probably the dentist away too. I mean there’s lots and lots of research that’s been carried out with all sorts of different fruits and vegetables, and apples in particular because apples actually contain an antioxidant which called flavenoids, and these have been linked with a reduced risk of certain cancers, improved lung health and reduced risk of heart disease and we know that these are particularly in the skins as well these flavenoids so it’s important to actually eat the skin -
CT: And you said this has got a nice, soft skin -
JK: Yes nice soft skin the South African Golden Delicious ones and we also kind of like, there are yes naturally occurring sugars in apples and also acids so when it comes to tooth decay we know that dentists say well fruit’s not really going to be as bad as say eating a chocolate bar, it’s important to look at the overall balance of the diet, so if someone was chomping on 15 portions of fruit a day yes their teeth may suffer but with kind of the recommendations say 2 or 3 portions a day as part of your 5, teeth are unlikely to suffer
CT: That’s interesting about the 5 portions because as Juliet said if you just put a tomato in a child’s sandwich that is a portion a day which is brilliant
JK: Yes and I think the other thing is I think quite often we think we’ve got to have five very obvious – this is very obvious portions -
CT: And to be honest I don’t think I’d like to eat 5 huge portions of fruit a day, but you can get it in other ways – another question in Juliet, it’s from Derek, he says he’s got a 5 year old little boy, and can you tell him what he can feed his 5 year old little boy to ensure he is getting his 5 a day? We also had another question in a bit earlier saying what type of fruit should Sarah put in her child’s lunchbox and how much? If you were to make like a perfect child’s lunch in a lunchbox, what exactly would you put in there?
JK: Ok so I’d put a sandwich probably with something like chicken and tomato on wholegrain bread
CT: Do you put butter or mayonnaise?
JK: It depends on really the child, I mean I’m not adverse to using just sort of a thin scrape of butter, but some mums prefer quite often margarine, whatever the child prefers. You know a little bit of reduced fat mayo instead of butter for taste
CT: People are saying as well if you cut the sandwiches into little shapes and stuff for them as well
JK: Yes I mean you know making it as attractive for children as possible so a sandwich of some sort, or a wrap or wholemeal pitta bread. I’d put in a pot of reduced fat yoghurt, yes low fat yoghurt. I’d probably put something like some malt loaf in, some form of sweet treat so they don’t feel like, so they’re not going to stop of from school on the way home and get chocolate and things like that -
JK: If they’ve had something sweet. And then I’d generally put in two portions of fruit, so maybe an apple and perhaps an orange because that’s a very good source of vitamin c
CT: Alternate them as well so it’s not the same every day -
JK: And drinks, I’d put a bottle of water in as opposed to -
CT: Better than fizzy drinks. And isn’t it true as well that if you give your child a good breakfast they don’t start snacking on the way to school buying chocolates and crisps, they’re full until probably lunchtime?
JK: Yes breakfast is a really really important meal and again it’s a great way, if you’re skipping breakfast you’re skipping an awful lot of nutrients, but it also makes it harder to get those five a day in
CT: Of course
JK: You know because breakfast is an opportunity to give kids a glass of juice or to put some dried apricots on their cereal or some raisins
CT: Or even the fruit smoothies are nice as well aren’t they?
JK: Yes exactly and I mean I think this is what it boils down to in terms of letting sort of experimenting with fruit and veg, so you know tomatoes in spaghetti bolognaise, a can of tomatoes in spaghetti bolognaise count, you don’t have to have pure fruit. And there’s a great booklet out, I mean this is based on the Golden Delicious apples from South Africa, but this is actually got loads and loads of different recipes in it -
CT: Oh fantastic -
JK: On using apples, so there’s about 25 / 30 recipes and you’ve got loads – everything there from sort of like smoothies -
CT: And it’s one fruit you’re sort of guaranteed most children actually like
JK: Yes exactly and often serving apples with meat which we often don’t think about and if anyone whose watching wants to get hold of this, it’s Golden Delicious.info and just send off for one of those booklets and you know it’s like 20 or 30 recipes for free on getting more fruit and veg into your children – and yourself!
CT: And we’ve got quite a challenging one for you here, it’s from Jo and we’re all going to know where Jo’s coming from she says she “really struggles to get her kids to eat healthy food, they only want chips, chips and chips -
JK: More and more chips!
CT: - What can I do?” So how do you have an alternative to something like chips? I mean I suppose one thing as well, I know when I was younger if we went to get a takeaway it was a treat, it wasn’t something that was readily available every day, you know and a lot of people say don’t reward your children with food either but when it comes to something like chips which they do love, how can you replace that?
JK: Yes I mean there’s nothing wrong with chips from time to time, so what I would say first of all is look at how you’re cooking those chips, and we know that low fat oven chips are actually a much better option, so switching from fried chips to the low fat oven ones which are less than 5% fat usually
CT: Fantastic, yes
JK: Also you know try doing wedges, I mean most kids will actually love home made wedges and as a mum or dad all you have to do is chop a great big potato up into sort of like 8 or 10 segments, bung on a baking tray, brush with a bit of oil, olive oil or sunflower oil
CT: Low fat oil
JK: Don’t think you – you’ve got the spray oil so you can use those -
JK: And then just throw it into the oven and leave it for 20 / 30 minutes and you’ve got great big chunky chips. Now if you call them wedges children are probably going to say “oh I don’t like them” if you call them chunky chips, these are basically chips -
CT: They love them, yes
JK: Make these changes gradually, I mean with wedges I’d normally keep the skins on but if you’ve got really really resistant children -
CT: Just take them off
JK: Start by peeling them and cutting your own great big chips and once they’ve got used to that then maybe do half with the skin and half without so kind of like they’ve got a mixture, and gradually I think – you know one of the things is it’s about making changes slowly
CT: Of course
JK: You know we watch so many of these TV programmes and it’s all about – all the bad stuff is out of the window in an instant and all the good stuff is in, but you know in reality it’s -
CT: A slow process
JK: - much better. You know if you’ve got a child whose eating no fruit and veg, let’s start with one portion and then once they’ve got that let’s go to two -
CT: And little bits as well
JK: And you know with chips if they’ll only eat chips every single day, let’s start off with cutting down on one portion and changing the rest to low fat oven chips for that week
CT: So cooking in a healthier way -
CT: Like grilling foods too. One more question here we have got in – it’s Jo with the chips question, but if you want to send in your question, we’re halfway through the show now, we’re taking questions live just write your question in the box – you can see underneath your screen – say where you’re from as well and click the submit button and we’ll be taking the questions live here as well. Now Juliet I want to ask you another question – it’s about the schools. Now millions of pounds from the government has gone into changing the whole school dinners and again Jamie Oliver helped that out dramatically, so would you say there’s been a big difference, are they putting more money per child, you know what are they going to be serving in school canteens? What about vending machines, are they going?
JK: Well the good news is there are actually new guidelines in place now to cover off what’s being served, not just in school meals but throughout the entire school, and I should just say this is actually an ongoing process so we haven’t just made these changes which have been introduced at the beginning of September and that’s it, there’s an ongoing process now over the next 2 or 3 years and what we’re seeing now, really really great news, so from the start of the school term parents and children can expect to see dairy products, bread and starchy foods on the menu every day, two portions of fruit and vegetables on the menu every day for children, a reduction in the number of fried foods – fried foods are actually only allowed twice a week now which is great when you think -
CT: Every day before
JK: Lots of schools it was chips every day and then frying an awful lot of things from fishfingers, fish, sausages, those sorts of foods and also we’ve seen big changes so sweets, chocolates, and crisps are off the menu.
JK: The only savoury products now in terms of snack foods are unsalted nuts and seeds
CT: Which aren’t probably as high in fat?
JK: No. Big big changes, no table salt any more so kids won’t be able to add salt to their food and really importantly the big change in drinks, so we’ve seen that fizzy drinks and juice drinks which tend to have a lot of sugar are now off the menu and being replaced with things like water, reduced fat milks
CT: Great. Do you think they’ll be a change then if children don’t have it so readily available during the day they might not want it as much at home?
JK: Yes I mean we see time and time again kind of like children try – you know one of the best places to try and get children eating sort of new foods is when they go to tea with their friends and there’s something new, I mean I always say -
CT: It’s true actually
JK: If a mum, if you’ve got a mum – you know get your child to go to tea with someone who you know is a really really good eater -
CT: Because then they’ll come back and want whatever they had there
JK: It is, you know -
CT: That’s a very good -
JK: “Oh they had such and such can I have it” and you think gradually what we’ll see is children will get more used to fruit and vegetables being on the menu at school and trying it, they will go home and say “can we have such and such?” “I really like sweetcorn”. The main thing then is really to make sure mums and dads are equipped to deal with that and actually when the kids come home and say “can I have an apple?” they’ve got them in the house
CT: They’ve got them there. And Natalie Juliet, we’ve had a few questions in, thank you for sending them in, Natalie wants to know it seems all food targeting kids are high in sugar and salt. Should the government not be doing more to stop this?
JK: Well that’s a really good question, I mean there’s a lot of stuff in place at the moment to try and ban the advertising of what we term junk foods, and at the moment you know there’s various sort of documents sort of floating around where officials and professionals are trying to come up -
CT: It’s definitely being addressed
JK: Yes it is and I think what we’re seeing is manufacturers are beginning to take sort of like a more responsible stance. Now a good manufacturer will actually be starting to look at kind of reducing the sugar the salt and the fat content of their products so what I would encourage mums and dads to do is to actually look at food labels and really sort of like choose products which do have lower salt and sugar contents
CT: That might attract their children as well. We have a breakfast problem with Lauren
JK: Oh dear
CT: Now she said how can she get her 8 year old to eat breakfast, so what is the best type of breakfast for children?
JK: Well, this is a tricky one because typically children who are eating breakfast are going for the sugary cereals as the starting point
JK: Now if you’ve got a child who is actually not eating breakfast at all and the only thing that you can get them to eat is a sugary cereal, even as a nutritionist I’ll say well let’s get something into them in the morning
CT: So they eat something, yes
JK: So a sugary cereal will be fortified with vitamins and minerals and it’s served with milk so you’ve got all the nutrients coming from milk, and then gradually over time you can start to reduce the quantity of sugary cereals for some of the other varieties
CT: Maybe with fruit on top or -
JK: Yes adding some fruit – smoothies are a fantastic choice, most kids absolutely love smoothies and it’s great if children get involved in making them as well
CT: It’s fun it’s like a milkshake for them isn’t it?
JK: Yes it’s great they actually have the opportunity to mess around in the kitchen and sort of get their hands in and chop things up as long as they’re old enough to use a knife sensibly
CT: Can you juice -
JK: Yes -
CT: Apples and oranges and -
JK: Yes you’ve got all sorts of juices out there where you can throw just about every sort of fruit in, so get children involved and if you can get them making their own smoothie they’re far more likely to drink it
JK: And you know things like we have this thing it’s either cereal or toast, well actually children will probably love things like you can buy raisin bagels which children are far more likely to like. Don’t worry too much, you know a little bit of chocolate spread on a piece of toast can go a long way for a child who won’t eat breakfast at all to start with
CT: And I suppose that’s better than so they go to school full like I said rather than snacking before lunch
JK: And if you’ve actually got a child who, you know my viewpoint is if you’ve got a child whose eating nothing for breakfast, chances are they’re filling up on a chocolate bar or a fizzy drink in the middle of the morning -
CT: Sorry Juliet that’s exactly what Polly says, she says she has children who walk past shops on the way to school, is there a tip top way to stop them wanting to buy the sweet things?
JK: Well you could give them no money!
CT: Good point, give them no money and they can’t get them
JK: That’s kind of the obvious one but I mean I think you know, one of the things I often say to mums and dads is you know, talk to your children about food but on a level they can relate to, so all too often you kind of see – and teachers are the same as well – go in on this level “well you should eat sensibly because it will reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer” a 7 year old doesn’t really care about those sorts of things, but if you actually talk to children on a level which they can relate to, so for teenage girls for example it might be talking about fruit and vegetables, eating them, the vitamins and minerals will give them great hair, it will give them clear skin, lovely nails, nice figure. With teenage boys it’s about sporting prowess so you know you could actually play football a whole lot better, you could actually run faster, you could perform better in sort of like athletics or whatever sport it is that they love
CT: I think a lot of mums and dads are worries “is what I’m giving my child enough?” because we have a question from Claire Mckenna and she wants to know she says “I give my children a sandwich, fruit, yoghurt cheese and crisps – should she give them that or a chocolate biscuit a day for lunch and is that enough?” so she gives them either crisps or a chocolate biscuit and then she gives them a sandwich, fruit, yoghurt and cheese – that’s -
JK: Well I think the best guideline is really whether your child’s growing well and not gaining too much weight, I mean I don’t think you should be putting an awful lot of emphasis on a child’s weight and you know particularly if they’re quite overweight, you know not focusing too much on them losing weight, it’s about a healthier way of eating, and that should be really for the whole family so I would say sort of like let your child’s sort of like appetite and if they’re growing properly and they’re well they’re not picking up lots of coughs and cold and you know their immune system seems quite strong and if they cut themselves it heals quickly, that’s usually a good guideline that your child is actually having a balanced diet, but you know I think you know we have to balance in favour of the fruit and the sandwich and some sort of like cheese as opposed to the crisps and the biscuits, and maybe just allow one treat a day, so they have either crisps or a biscuit
CT: Michelle actually on that point wants to know how much sugar and salt should a child be consuming a day because we heard the results there saying 21 teaspoons of sugar the average boy takes, I mean that’s just ridiculous, but how much sugar should they be consuming a day?
JK: Well it depends very much on the age of the child, so generally the older the child then the more fat and sugar and salt they can get away with, but as a general rule we have to remember that kind of sugars exist in lots of different forms, so the sugar that you typically get in things like biscuits and cakes and confectionary is like the white stuff that we add onto our tea and coffee and onto cereals, but fruit for example has got lots of natural sugars in it. Milk has got natural sugars in it, so when you’re looking on food labels for example the sugars content, you’ll see that a glass of milk has actually got a reasonable sugar content and that’s naturally occurring, it’s the added sugars that are problems so you should be looking for things without too many added sugars. Now again things like salt, that’s a difficult one, it depends on the age but generally anyone over the age of 11 should be having no more than 6 grams of salt a day
CT: 6 grams
JK: Which is the same as adults. The younger the child the less salt they should actually have, so you know from 7-10 they shouldn’t be having more than 5 grams of salt a day and then younger 4 grams so really rather than sort of getting too hung up on numbers I would say look for products which have got no added sugars and no added salts
CT: And I suppose like you said earlier about the chips, don’t - give them their oven chips but don’t encourage them to put salt on top -
JK: And look for healthier options
CT: As well
JK: Take the salt pot off the table
CT: Exactly, absolutely
JK: Kids will generally not say “can I have salt”
CT: No mums put it on themselves
JK: And actually they’ll copy what their parents do -
CT: Absolutely, that’s important as well
JK: This is what’s the key thing, it’s really about as parents and adults we should really be setting a good example because what we do our children will copy
CT: Now we are actually running out of time Juliet some great stuff there for parents. We are actually taking a few more questions before we leave you, so put your question in and press submit. I’ve got another question here from Vivian Armstrong, thank you Vivan she said “what treat could I offer my kids in their lunchbox instead of a chocolate bar?” So what would they open up and like seeing really in their lunchbox?
JK: Yes, I mean I love things like the baked products, things like traditional currant buns for examples, things like the tea cakes, things like a wholemeal fruit scone, things like malt loaf, they’re sweet and children will actually like them and actually smoothies again, we keep talking about smoothies but smoothies – children do actually like them, they love the taste, it’s kind of -
CT: You could give them some smoothies to bring to school -
CT: We’ve got a very funny question actually from Lulu O’Hara and she says here “is it very bad to give my kids pot noodles for lunch?” Is there anything you could put in with pot noodles to make it healthy?
JK: I guess from a safety point of view it’s probably not that great to have to boil up hot water for one thing -
CT: I think a nutritionist may be going down the no
JK: There’s not much nutrition unfortunately in a pot noodle, now what I would say there’s nothing wrong actually if children like pot noodles, why not make a kind of a noodly type of soup or salad so they can take a flask with them to school with home made noodle soup, chicken noodle soup -
CT: It tastes almost the same I’m sure
JK: Yes or make up a noodle salad, you know your packet of 3 minute noodles, bunged into a pan and then mixed with a whole load of things, whether it’s tuna, cherry tomatoes some diced cucumber, bit of reduced fat salad dressing into a nice Tupperware container and you’ve got something which is not too dissimilar – ok, it’s not the same
CT: And what about a lot of mums out there who are probably thinking I’m a working mum, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands, so what kind of quick fast foods would you suggest?
JK: Well one of the easiest things is when you’re cooking dinner cook enough for your child to take to school the next day, so if you’re cooking up a pasta dish you know most pasta dishes can be served cold, soup and a bread roll is always a good option so heating up some soup in the microwave in the morning into a flask, particularly with winter on its way
JK: Things like the stews and the casseroles, if you’re making a casserole the night before for dinner make enough so that your child’s got some to take in a flask, and then I kind of think for some reason I have it in my head that pitta bread’s quicker and easier than sandwiches because you just have to cut open the top, stuff it -
CT: And you can fill them in which is nicer for a child as well -
JK: Yes and somehow it’s easier to wrap as well and you know they seem to be less fussy so you know just finding ways to speed things up when you’re making the packed lunches. And get your children to help
CT: To help because then they feel they’re involved as well
JK: If they’re actually helping to make their own packed lunch they’ll be far more likely to eat it
CT: One very quick question Juliet, I think we may have to leave it after that, Ruth Pepper says “my son is a diabetic, should I be careful giving him fruit for lunch?”
JK: Right I mean I think generally we know fruit is a better option, I would always say with any child whose got a medical condition then always check with your practice nurse or your GP but generally fruit shouldn’t be a problem for diabetics at all -
CT: There’s not too much sugar in it?
JK: No I mean naturally occurring sugars which seem to have less of an effect on blood sugars, but do check with your GP or diabetic nurse, whoever your son’s seeing
CT: Ok well that’s brilliant, one more question for you Juliet – you know what advice would you now give parents who want to totally change what their children bring in their lunchbox, what advice would you give?
JK: I would say first of all talk to your child so have a bit of conversation about food and why you like it, and you know what it’s good for and what children actually like and you know if you’re starting with a really dreadful lunchbox you know at the beginning of the school term, start making those changes gradually. First thing to do without doubt is to add a portion of fruit into it, next to add another portion of fruit and then you can start concentrating on sort of like the sandwiches and things like yoghurt and changing the drinks
CT: And I suppose when you’re talking about fruit it’s good to get the sweet fruit in because that’s what children like the most isn’t it?
CT: We do have information if you want a bit more of that on www.goldendelicious.info so if you go on there you’ll get more information about what to give your children, what they like and also on how much fruit and portions they need every day. I think that’s all we’re going to have time for today though Juliet, thank you very much for joining us
JK: You’re welcome
CT: And as I said if you want to get more information www.goldendelicious.info for details on what to give your children. You can also click the link at the bottom of your screen as well so you’ll be able to go directly through and have a look at that website as well. So I think that’s all we’ve got time for today, again remember 5 portions of fruit for your children and I think that’s very valid what you said, they don’t have to just be 5 portions of fruit, you can have a tomato and a sandwich, a little thing of grapes – and this as well, that’s a portion of fruit, so I think a lot of mums and dads are helped out significantly there. Also I think one quick thing before we go – ads on TV about banning junk foods during TV, is that happening as well?
JK: Well there’s lots of work in progress so yes hopefully we will see a reduction in the number of sort of like adverts promoting sugary, fatty and salty foods in children’s TV time and certainly when children are more likely to be watching but you know that then needs to be backed up really in the supermarkets doesn’t it and by manufacturers?
JK: You can ban the ads but children will still see the products!
CT: Ok yes exactly. Well thank you Juliet you’ve been really helpful, that’s it from us for today, check out that website link and we’ll be back again soon, so from myself Carmel and from Juliet, goodbye from us all, goodbye