According to a recent survey, eighty per cent of children are given unhealthy food such as chocolate and crisps in their lunchboxes.
The study, by children’s food expert Annabel Karmel, also found that around seventy per cent of children prefer fruit to unhealthy snacks such as sweets, biscuits and fizzy drinks. The three most popular snacks amongst children were crisps, cheese and fruit.
Twenty per cent of parents admitted to giving their children sugary breakfast cereals rather than more healthy alternatives such as wholegrain cereal or porridge.
Ms Karmel explained that whilst most parents begin the day with good intentions, during busy periods they may choose the easy option and give their children food which is unhealthy.
Almost fifty per cent of the one thousand parents questioned demonstrated that they are health conscious by using tactics such as hiding vegetables in their children’s pasta dishes.
Other tactics employed by parents include; offering vegetables in the form of finger food, offering vegetables in a puree form and bribery with a sweet snack as a reward.
According to the study, children’s least popular vegetables are mushrooms, spinach and broccoli.
Around fifty percent of children claimed that spaghetti bolognese is their favourite dish although this differed between regions. Only thirty two per cent in the North-East claimed it was their favourite compared to fifty two per cent of children in the South East.
Twenty five per cent of children in the United Kingdom are classed as either overweight or obese. This represents the highest rate in Europe and Government figures suggest that the problem will get worse. It is expected that by 2025, forty per cent of people in Britain will be obese.