‘Great British Bake Off’ judge Prue Leith has been battling to get school lunches banned from schools for almost 40 years and appeared on this morning’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ to argue the case for outlawing home-brought lunches.
The television judge joined hosts Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard on the breakfast programme to debate schools banning packed lunches amid claims they are contributing to childhood obesity.
Beginning the discussion, Prue said most parents “fill lunch boxes with junk” and called for items with high-fat contents to be restricted.
“There are some mums that do it really well but most people fill the lunch boxes with junk,” she said, going on to say packed lunches should be banned.
Prue went on to say parents should not put treats in lunch boxes as they should be given once a week, not every day, which seemed to shock Susanna who queried: “Once a week?”
Prue replied: “It depends, but I think if you have more than one sweet thing a day you are adding 400 calories to your days.
“Chocolate and chips aren't bad, you just don't want it every day.”
Should packed lunches be banned?— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) November 20, 2019
Critics say that lunchboxes encourage fussy eating in children.
Share your thoughts, and send us pictures of what you've packed inside your kid's lunchboxes! 👇 pic.twitter.com/eCTQIM1oBj
Arguing that packed lunches shouldn’t be outlawed Sian Griffiths, who works in schools, counter-argued that though something needs to be done about the one in three children leaving primary school obese, banning packed lunches not the answer.
“I don't think banning packed lunches is a good idea,” she said.
“A lot of school food is absolutely terrible. I go to schools a lot and just this week I was offered fish fingers, pizza, fried fish in batter and sausages and that's not healthy food.”
Prue said it should be up to schools to teach children about healthy food, but Sian said: “I think schools have got so much on their plate.”
Susanna went on to point out there was some conflict as Prue is the judge on a baking show.
“Of course it is a very obvious one, but that is a competition,” Prue responded.
Prue later cleared up her previous comment, telling the hosts: “I never said you should have a treat a week, I said mothers shouldn’t put a treat into the lunchbox every week, they’re going to get dozens of treats at home.”
She went on to say she wanted to see lunches as a lesson.
“In Finland the children sit down and are taught a lot about food, they are sitting down with teachers and they are learning, they don't know it is a lesson - it should be relaxing, but it should be healthy.”
The debate about the future of packed lunches continued over on Twitter with many disagreeing with Prue that home-brought lunches should be outlawed.
Seriously school dinners can be shocking at best and the dinner breaks at most high schools aren’t even long enough. I’d rather my children eat food from home than not eat— Terri Wood (@TerriWerri) November 20, 2019
Some children especially those that have been through trauma, autism or special needs would find it difficult to have a school meal, at least with a packed lunch they get something that is familiar & reassuring— BusyBess (@pheonixt3) November 20, 2019
Parents are and should be responsible for encouraging their children to maintain a healthy diet, this would take that away— Dan Whitehouse (@DanWhitehouse93) November 20, 2019
I think this is absolutely ridiculous. I’ve always been a fussy eater even before going to school and when I was on school lunch I was fussy and hated the food. People just like to winge— Sam Dixon (@Samdixon2007) November 20, 2019
Nothing wrong with a packed lunchbox, it’s what’s put in it, obesity doesn’t just come from a lunch box,but children constantly eating at junk food outlets, eating anytime of the day to shut them up moaning that they are hungry, not being encouraged to each only at meal times— Joyce Padmore (@padmore_joyce) November 21, 2019
Ridiculous. A daily school packed lunch is 5 out of the 21 meals for the week. I put in what I know my children will eat and enjoy. Same as my mum did for me. It’s comforting and familiar. No need for over analysing, it’s just another meal 🤷♀️— Kerri Clark (@kinnylou) November 21, 2019
READ MORE: Dentists urging schools to go sugar-free
It isn’t the first time there has been a debate about packed lunches.
Last month a primary school’s decision to ban all drinks other than water from pupil’s packed lunch boxes caused controversy.
And last year a mum went online to complain about the strict lunch box policy at her daughter’s school, detailing how she was called in for a special meeting for including a mini chocolate bar in a packed meal.