Parents are feeling guilty about what they put in their child's lunch boxes

Parents are feeling guilty about what they put in their children’s lunch boxes [Photo: Getty]

Parents are feeling guilty about what they put in their children’s lunch boxes, a new survey has revealed.

As many parents will likely testify what gets thrown into a child’s lunch box often comes down to what’s left in the fridge and what they’re not going to toss straight in the bin.

As a result how healthy it is comes way at the bottom of the thought process.

A YouGov poll for the Action for Children charity revealed that the most important factor in parents choosing what to put in a packed lunch was whether their child would eat it, not if it was healthy.

Some 38% pick the contents based on what they think their child will eat, but only 28% on what they think is nutritious.

The most popular items packed were a ham sandwich, a yoghurt, a packet of crisps and an apple and a carton of orange juice.

But this has 25g of added sugar, 1g more than the suggested 24g for a nine-year-old.

It also contains more than a third of children’s guideline daily calories, half of their salt and a quarter of their fat, in one meal sitting.

Experts are now warning that this packing for convenience mentality could be contributing to the obesity crisis.

Latest figures have revealed that unhealthy eating and a lack of exercise mean one in three pupils are now overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.

Further stats revealed earlier this year that one in 25 children in England aged 10 or 11 are severely obese.

Could unhealthy lunch box choices be contributing to the obesity crisis? [Photo: Getty]

Despite the food choices they’re making for their lunches, parents are concerned about the fact that their children aren’t eating healthily enough.

In fact the figures revealed that three quarters of parents (75%) feel guilty about what they pack in their little one’s lunch.

Some parents also admitted to being shamed by other parents or teachers about what they choose to feed their children. 

Commenting on the findings Emma Horne, from Action for Children said: “Childhood obesity is a problem we need to tackle, to save our children from suffering physical and mental health problems when they grow up.

“Parents need the knowledge and confidence to give their child the best start in life when it comes to nutrition.”

The news comes following a warning issued to parents earlier this year about limiting their children to two snacks of no more than 100 calories per day.

Public Health England (PHE) revealed that on average children are consuming at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming four or more.

That means the average child can easily consume three times more sugar than recommended with the PHE warning that half of children’s sugar intake, around seven sugar cubes a day, comes from unhealthy snacks and drinks.

And last month experts revealed that Britain’s obesity crisis could be starting as early as birth, with some suggesting that as many as three quarters of babies are being fed too much.

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