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Lunch Boxes?


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Just after some views on this please.

After christmas, we noticed that one or two children were bringing a sweet or two ( usually a chocolate coin or santa) left over from the festivities. This has now slightly snowballed, with more children bringing things and the original two actually bringing small pots of sweets as an integral part of their lunch, today it was gummy bears.This is in addition to a chocolate bar etc. Now, I am not averse to a bit of something sweet myself on occasion BUT this is beginning to prove problematic, some of those children, if we don't watch like hawks, will down the sweets before anything else is opened. We tried removing them from the boxes and allowed them back once the other things were eaten, but I had a parent asking why I was taking things out of her child's box? I did explain and thought all was well, but the child told me sweetly last week 'mummy said don't you dare take my treat away'.

Anyway, my own feeling is that although we cannot of course, dictate what does and does not go into a lunch box, I have put out a newsletter today asking that parents observe some general healthy eating guidelines, one of which is not to put sweets into their child's box. I have said that an occasional treat is fine, but have explained that for us, lunch times are becoming a minefield as some children don't have sweets and this causes arguments ( true)........ and several children are bringing in sweets every single day. Last week one child had two packets of crisps and two chupa chop lollies as her lunch! Am I being an old bag by suggesting that a piece of fruit is much nicer and kinder to teeth etc so we would prefer to see those in boxes instead and perhaps sweets could be reserved to a treat once a week with parents at home? The parent of the child with gummy bears stood and read her newsletter before leaving, and quite seriously asked, ' well, what am I supposed to put in her lunch instead then?? It will mean there's a little space in the box if i don't give her them'!!!! I said that perhaps an extra piece of fruit, or a handful of raisins might be better, and I wasn't saying no sweets EVER, I just would prefer not to have them in the setting. We have put a healthy eating leaflet with the newsletter, and i don't want to go over the top, but am I being unreasonable?

Edited by narnia
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I dont think you're being unreasonable. These things do get out of hand and we all know we are expected to promote healthy eating so the least we can expect is that the parents will support us.

But after saying that I am reminded of the thread a few weeks ago where the cook was with holding dessert from children who didnt eat their lunch, maybe parents are worried that might happen?

I'm sure you've got a policy somewhere that talks about heath and wellbeing, maybe you could remind parents of what they signed up to. :o

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well they need to get used to it all our schools have a no sweet policy!! we are of course told by ofsted that we have to advise on the contents of lunchboxes and i think it's fine to say no sweets in luchboxes....and no i do not think two lollipos and a packet of crisps is right for anyone(just as a cold mcdonalds is not right either :o ) you may need to implement a no sweets rule to get the message across...do you have a smile for life campaign in your area?...if you went for silver status you would have to cut out the sweets. Good luck with this one!!

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I don't think you're being an old bag, at all! (if you are, I am, too!)

 

I provide the snacks and meals for my childminded children and we have 1 fun-size chocolate after school on "chocolate Tuesday" (which happens to be the day they have school swimming lessons in the afternoon - it's just enough to keep them happy until we get home and have toast, crumpets or crusty bread and jam and fruit!)

 

Most primary schools in my area have a no sweets policy for tuck and lunch boxes. Perhaps you could check whether those in your area are the same? Then you could say that you're getting the children used to the way it's going to be in school!? One more thing to blame on 'school readiness' :o

 

Nona

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yes, I recall that thread Rea, though of course, this isn't dessert, just junk really.That's a point though, so far I haven't had a child refuse to eat their lunch and then only want the sweets! We never remove and keep sweets away, they're returned when the child has started eating the savoury part of their lunch. yes, we do have a policy saying we aim to promote healthy eating etc, outlining what we provide in the way of snacks etc and we always remind parents that our policy is to encourage children to eat their sandwiches or whatever is provided before anything else. We always have water available too. Don't know, maybe I'm just being an old bag! :o

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yes, ladies, the schools all have 'no sweets' policies......the local one allows a packet of crisps to go in on Fridays, that's the treat day. So yes, maybe I'll see what response i get from the newsletter and go from there. Thankyou for the replies

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We have always said no sweets in lunchboxes (the haribo style ones) and we will remove them from lunchboxes and put them back in for the child to take home if we do find any - so far the parents have been fine with this and there have been no problems. Like above, we also tell the parents that we are working in line with the local schools who definitely don't allow sweets :o

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we did same as Mrs Bat.. a no sweets policy and removed them, putting them back into the box to go home again... parents then stopped putting them in..

 

No complaints.. they were told when they started lunches of out policy and we stuck to it... many thanked us for it as it helped with cutting down on the sweets and demand from the children for them.. they were able to say we did not allow them..

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Last week one child had two packets of crisps and two chupa chop lollies as her lunch!

 

Sometimes you have to question the thinking of some parents :o With all the media surrounding us in the forum a TV and even adverts as well as written media how can this parent possibly think that constitutes a healthy lunch?

 

I would update your policy and reissue it saying you have had conversations with schools and you are tweaking some of your policies to aid transition from nursery to school.

 

Parents can feed their children what they like at home but you have a duty of care and that covers trying to promote healthy eating I would say.

 

Good luck with it....some parents fail to see the bigger picture in times like these, they just put the needs (or indulgences) of their own child first.

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Hello Narnia

Just to reassure you you are not alone and we are heavily looking at our policy too.

 

This week the finally straw was:-

1 packet of crisp, 2 double deckers and 1 family size packet of chocolate eclairs!

 

X

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Today was a revelation!!! One parent arrived and handed me two plates, both with a full Sunday roast ( complete with Yorkshire puds)!!! then EVERY single lunch box except one (child has been on holiday, so they didn't get the newsletter until today) was packed with fresh fruit, yogurts, wraps sandwiches on wholemeal bread etc...............wonderful :) ( the child who has been away brought in the minty chocolate from their hotel room pillow. So, early days of course, but a good start :)

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Today was a revelation!!! One parent arrived and handed me two plates, both with a full Sunday roast ( complete with Yorkshire puds)!!!

 

Blimey, my son said on Sunday that Christmas was the last time we had a roast! I begged to differ but he might have a point with Sunday being hangover day!

:o

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We produced a leaflet wih guidance on what to include in lunch boxes and portions sizes. It's somewhere on the forum - I'll try to remember later to come back and search for it.

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  • 7 months later...

We produced a leaflet wih guidance on what to include in lunch boxes and portions sizes. It's somewhere on the forum - I'll try to remember later to come back and search for it.

 

Any chance of finding this for me as we have started the new term back with serious lunchbox issues and I wanted something to give to parents explaining our policy on healthy lunchboxes, I have done a forum search but have only come up with threads not actually documents. thank you

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Any chance of finding this for me as we have started the new term back with serious lunchbox issues and I wanted something to give to parents explaining our policy on healthy lunchboxes, I have done a forum search but have only come up with threads not actually documents. thank you

 

the resource library here has something..maybe a starting point.. always discussed so often cannot find the other ones I remember , they are here somewhere but usually they end up in a thread with an unusual title.

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I completely acknowledge the responsibility we have to promote healthy eating. That's a given.

 

I do have to ask though, whether you have considered letting the children eat their lunch in the wrong order i.e. sweets first?

 

I have had this battle in the past and now allow children who are old enough to manage their own lunches. if they choose to eat their treat first that is fine. If they leave the savoury it will go back and the parent will see it uneaten.

 

I would be educating and encouraging the children to eat savoury and healthy foods first but ultimately if they eat the whole meal does the order matter? Maybe the mother whose child dared you to take the snack away felt this way.

 

I am absolutely in favour of educating children, and parents when necessary, about healthy balanced diets but I also prefer not to use this sort on intervention if it isn't absolutely necessary. If a child was likely to end up eating just the sweets and then end up hungry and grumpy in the afternoon or only had snacks provided I would raise this as a problem with the parents and try to find a solution together.

 

I appreciate that larger settings have different challenges but I just thought I would present an alternative point of view for consideration.

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We always sit and 'model' eating our lunch with the children exclaiming in a loud voice' ooh noo I wouldnt eat that before my sandwich...it'll taste sooo much better afterwards!' I know some of the children will eat everything in their lunchbox regardless of the order so I will tend to let them 'get away with it' saying 'but I know you will eat everything, wont you?' It generally works. A lot of our children bring the flasks with warm food in, such a good idea and as we have rota helpers in they see it and then their children try it.

 

It is in our policy for no sweets and no fizzy drinks in lunchboxes. ( though 'double trouble chocolate friday' is popular!) I'm with you as it does fit in with our local school policy.

 

We had one little boy last year who used to come in on a Monday and we always knew if they'd had a party at the weekend as his lunchbox was leftovers, olives, canapes, couple of after eight mints as well as a tub of salad with sundried tomatoes with balsamic dressing and chicken! How the other half live!

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I agree with your point upsy daisy and up til now lunchboxes have never been a problem but an example of a lunchbox for a 2 year old today was a packet of chicken fridge raiders, mini box of raisins, school bar, mini packet of biscuits, fruit string, packet of smarties and a go ahead bar. It just seemed to much junk food for my liking and all he ate were the smarties! mum just says that he is a fussy eater but to be honest if i was offered junk food only I would become a fussy eater too!!!!! I don't want to be 'food police' but surely we have to offer some 'guidelines', Is it appropriate to ask parents to restrict the number of high fat high, sugar items?

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I don't want to be 'food police' but surely we have to offer some 'guidelines', Is it appropriate to ask parents to restrict the number of high fat high, sugar items?

 

Absolutely! I would offer the guidelines, ask parents to support me in giving a good example to all of the the children, make suggestions as to healthy alternatives, have food tasting activities where they tried healthy foods they have chosen at the shop or made and I would have a conversation with the parent in private to offer suggestions on how to approach food with a fussy eater.

 

I'm just not sure I would take the less healthy food away (even if I planned to return it) because that isn't actually teaching the child anything. Does that make sense?

Edited by Upsy Daisy
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I am reading this thread with interest - we to have a problem with lunch boxes and I find it a difficult issue to handle, my youngest son is a nightmare to do a packed lunch for so I take the 'easy option' and pay for a cooked dinner, we do not have that luxury at our pre-school but I do find it very frustrating when parents fill the lunch box with rubbish. Another issue we are currently struggling with is water in bottles and not juice - if I'd had a pound every time I'd heard 'but he'll only drink juice he won't drink water' I could have retired months ago!! I pour the juice away and refill with water and one parent had a right go this morning about me doing that - it was pointed out to her that our policy clearly states water only but she won't have it.

 

I am going to re-issue our healthy lunch box leaflet - which I think I adapted from a link on here and see what the result is.

 

Anybody would think we are trying to poison the children instead of educating them in healthy eating!!

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Hopey

I pour the juice away and refill with water and one parent had a right go this morning about me doing that - it was pointed out to her that our policy clearly states water only but she won't have it.

 

 

Have you considered providing this child with an alternative cup or bottle containing water and encouraging him to make a healthy choice?

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