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Packed full of goodness

GUIDANCE ISSUED this week by the Scottish Executive is calling on parents to pack healthy snacks such as egg and couscous salad or wholemeal pitta breads filled with cucumber and tinned salmon in their children's lunch boxes.

But one of Scotland's main parents' organisations complained it was unfair to expect hard-pressed mothers and fathers to find the time to make intricate recipes for their children's packed lunches.

Eleanor Coner, the information officer with the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, also predicted that the only people who would follow the guidelines would be those who already gave their children healthy lunches, rendering the whole exercise pointless.

"You haven't got time in the morning to be messing about measuring out so many cherry tomatoes and half a cup of couscous," she said. "I'm a great advocate of healthy eating, but I got really angry when I looked at the menu they were suggesting parents should follow. Young children shouldn't have to worry about eating low fat yoghurt."

However, Hugh Henry, the Education Minister, who launched the guidance during a lunchtime visit to the Glasgow Gaelic school, said: "We are taking action to improve the health of the youngest Scots and future generations.

We've made great progress. Under Hungry for Success, our school lunches are healthier than ever - but we're not stopping there."

The latest stage in the drive was to publish tips for parents to help them make healthy packed lunches.

SAMPLE MENU

Monday

1 wholemeal pitta bread, reduced fat polyunsaturated spread, cucumber, canned salmon mashed with lemon juice and low fat yoghurt

4 cherry tomatoes

1 slice of fruit loaf with spread

Grapes

1 low fat fruit fromage frais

Tuesday

Homemade wholemeal pasta salad, retail tomato-based sauce, sweetcorn, cheddar cheese

1 medium banana

Small carton pure apple juice

Handful of raisins

Wednesday

Granary bread sandwich with chicken, low fat yoghurt, lettuce

1 carrot cut into sticks

Semi-skimmed milk

1 peach or seasonal fruit

1 oatcake with reduced fat spread

Thursday

Carrot soup

Egg and couscous salad, chopped cherry tomatoes, grated cucumber, handful of raisins, sliced boiled egg

1 low fat fruit yoghurt

1 clementine or other citrus fruit

Friday

Wholemeal roll, reduced fat spread, low fat soft cheese, roast beef

1 tub pineapple pieces in juice

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