So now let’s ban packed lunches. What next, compulsory short hair to avoid nits? Listening to the Today programme this morning, once again I feel sound logic – I mean, who can argue with healthier eating for children – is accompanied with the wrong plan. The wrong implementation. The wrong how.
This used to be my job – helping big companies make a change happen properly, change the behaviour, change the habits, you change everything, and you do it well. Slap on a big negative ban, be abrupt with your change, don’t get people behind you – you’re on the road to failure.
So who’s getting it right? Some people interviewed this morning. One school has made the lunch area fun and enticing for children, it’s become the place to be. Another school is growing vegetables, and another one has a cooking club which is their most popular after-school club.
And who’s getting it wrong? My daughter’s school meals and slabs of rock-hard brown meat nearly turned her vegetarian. She had spaghetti with potatoes on the side. She loved their daily jelly, custard or other E / sugar filled deserts. So now, surprise surprise, she has packed lunch. She takes vegetable sticks and fruit every single day, often yogurt and honey. I am afraid I did back down on the crisps. She gets a packet of crisps on Fridays.
But I agree packed lunches aren’t always the solution. I am shocked by the amount of processed, sugary and salty foods in some packed lunches. One woman interviewed today mentioned how packed lunches are often more expensive what with drinks, crisps and so on. Well of course if you put that stuff in there.
So can’t we just talk about banning those things rather than the whole concept of packed lunches? And ban them at any time on school premises, not just lunch-time? Every day at pick up, I see my daughter looking at some of the other kids with donuts, bags of crisps or biscuits. If she’s lucky, she gets a banana.
And has the government thought about all the children with allergies and intolerances, and catering for their needs rather than allowing parents to save the school time and do it themselves?
If I could ban anything it would be all sugary and salty food and drinks on school premises. That’s the short-term measure. Long-term, if we want healthier people, if we want children who are more energetic and attentive, we need to change their habits. I used to do it for business; now the government can do it for our children. Ban the bad eating habits, not the packed lunch. Focus on the positive. Teach them how to grow it. Teach them how to cook it. Teach them how to eat it.