Huxley Bancks pictured with early childhood teacher, Donna Divic at Byron Busy Kids, looking over the benefits of a healthier, safer lunchbox.
Huxley Bancks pictured with early childhood teacher, Donna Divic at Byron Busy Kids, looking over the benefits of a healthier, safer lunchbox. Northern Star/Brenden Allen

Lunchbox crackdown in the name of health

KIDS' lunchboxes are getting the once over after parents fill them with some foods that are being confiscated in the interests of health.

Some preschools and child care centres have a food policy that actively discourages certain foods.

Byron Busy Kids Daycare and Montessori Centre, for example, has a no nuts policy to protect against allergic reaction and discourages chocolates and salty foods.

Early childhood teacher Donna Divic said she thinks the school's approach is generally embraced by parents who want to see their kids eat healthily.

"We haven't banned chips and chocolate, but we do discourage them and chocolates go back into the lunchbox and get sent home if they take them out to eat them," she said.

"We send out flyers to parents and they do actually comply. Some need a little bit of persuasion because it is so easy to pick up junk off the shelf and it's cheaper sometimes."

NSW Health's Hunter New England area recently implemented a pilot program called Good for Kids, Good for Life aimed at tackling childhood obesity and stipulated lunchbox guidelines, which were enforced in many preschools in that region creating some controversy.

Program director Dr Colin Bell said the guidelines were not mandatory and were based on Australian guidelines.

"The project is a demonstration one so is just running in the Hunter New England area but those aspects that have worked will be picked up and used more broadly across the state," he said.

"What the guidelines do is suggest that parents offer a variety of different foods so they are not having vegemite sandwiches every day."

Cornflakes, muesli bars and fish cakes are on the discouraged list and pre-schoolers are encouraged to eat smaller portions of fruit to limit sugar intake.


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