Children Swapping School Lunches

School Lunches - Countdown

One in five (20 percent) parents opt to prepare their children’s school lunches the night before to avoid the morning rush. However, according to a recent survey commissioned by Countdown, some children are still trading at school no matter how organised they may be.

The survey found that while 14 per cent of the survey respondents’ children made their own school lunches, surprisingly, one in five parents (20 percent) thought their children were trading lunchbox items at school. This suggested that a portion of uneaten food may be exchanged without detection. One in 11 parents (nine percent) also disclosed that approximately half of their kids' packed lunches return home untouched.

While the traded food items remain a mystery, the largest group of respondents (30 percent) committed one-quarter of their child’s lunchbox purely to fruit and vegetables, and 82 per cent of parents made sure that there was at least one piece of fruit or vegetable in the lunchbox.

Countdown’s nutritionist Deb Sue said it was great to see so many parents and caregivers adding more fruit and vegetables to school lunches.

“By prioritising these foods, parents are setting their kids up for success throughout the school day, and strong, healthy eating habits will help them thrive long after their schooling, too,” said Sue.

“When selecting fresh produce for those lunchboxes, shopping seasonally is a fantastic way to ensure maximum flavour, freshness, and nutritional value. It's also a good way to explore the abundance of local fruits and vegetables that thrive during different times of the year.”

Fruits and vegetables, like mandarins, carrot sticks, and those in Countdown’s Odd Bunch range, are some of the best options for parents to place in lunchboxes during the winter months as the produce is excellent value, seasonal, and flavour. Sue added that canned or frozen fruit and vegetables were a great option if a child’s favourite is not in season.

Sue continued that parents can help grow their kids’ interest in fresh fruit and vegetables by creating their gardens at home and involving them in shopping.