BBC News has today highlighted the results of a poll carried out by the Children’s Food Trust which apparently reveals that some (not quantified) schoolchildren’s lunchboxes contain nothing but cold chips.
The survey (via SurveyMonkey) – hardly a Mori poll – is based on the “views from more than 250 people working with children – including youth workers, childminders, teachers, family intervention workers, doctors, paediatricians, staff from further education colleges and hospitals – on how children’s diet has changed in the last two years.”
I won’t add my opinionated tuppenceworth here, but suffice it to say, that so far the BBC article has brought in 203 comments. A few of these are sensible, there’s the odd Monty Python “when I were a lad” parody, and many raging at ‘feckless parents’ with Sky TV, iphones and new trainers, some suggesting that the poor should be barred from procreation!
There undoubtedly are some feckless parents who do think that cold chips are an acceptable lunch. There are also probably children who have to make their own lunch and can find nothing but cold chips (maybe out of a rubbish bin). One BBC comment also mentioned that cold chips weren’t that unhealthy, pointing out that they are a vegetable and probably no worse than a baked potato and cheese, their crime being that they are working class food.
A number of the comments extolled parents to make more use of fresh food, saying that fresh food is cheaper than junk food. I could write pages in support this argument, but is presupposes that you have the right equipment in order to cook in the first place. If you have just fled your violent partner and are living in temporary accommodation, or you’ve been fortunate enough to be allocated social housing, you are unlikely to have a lovely new kitchen with all the equipment you would find in a Magnet Kitchens advert on telly.
Middle class kitchens are crammed with food processors, juicers, fryers (fatless of course), breadmakers and the like – I’m not saying that you need any of these – but you do need knives, plastic containers, saucepans, wooden spoons, chopping boards, bowls – need I go on – not to mention a working fridge, oven and a hob.
I’m not providing any solutions here, but another commentator suggested that the poor be given ‘healthy food only’ vouchers instead of cash benefits. If this happens kids will be appearing at school with raw potatoes!
Updated 30 August 2013 – I would say that Jack Munroe hit the nail on the head here!