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Food shaming kids is never the answer

Experts are speaking up about food shaming since schools have banned ham and cheese toasties, fairy bread, juice poppers, and last year even vegemite toast was banned at one daycare in NSW, which I might add is a step way too far and very Un Australian!

The experts are backing families and speaking out saying there is a real danger in labeling food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, as it is much more complex than that.

Issues around banning ‘junk food’ start with defining what that term even means. 

If you were to ask someone what their idea of junk food is, they’d probably rattle off fast food, chips, chocolate bars and fizzy drinks. But instead of labeling a food as ‘bad’, kids should be told, “This food doesn’t have loads of health benefits and should only be eaten sometimes.”

What the experts say

child lunch school

“Whenever children feel deprived, the tendency is to push back and want it even more,” says child psychologist Sara Dimerman.

Nutritionist Amanda dos Santos also shares, I am completely against shaming of food, even ‘junk’ food. A child feels shame associated with their lunch box and could develop emotional eating issues,” she tells us.

Naturopath Nicky Wood tells The Healthy Mummy she believes the schools need to work on their approach, as many are currently not educating kids and parents, they’re just rubbing parents up the wrong way!

“Should a school tell you what to put into a lunch box? I think the answer to that question is yes, but there is a way to go about it that both educates the child and the parent on making better choices,” says Nicky.

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“For example – at the beginning of the school year, a list of good vs not so good examples of food choices and the impact of them on the child during learning times could go out with welcome packs to all students along with a little recipe book of lunch box treats and ideas. 

“Secondly, I believe the school should spend more time and resources on educating children on healthy choices based on the understanding of how the food from poor choices make their bodies feel (do they like it when they have a sugar crash and get angry or moody).

What our mums think

healthy pink lunch box

Our research shows that a total of 143 mums, who took part in our previous survey on kids lunches, believe schools should contact them first before sending food back.

What’s more, over 50 percent of our mums said the schools have no way of knowing whether the contents in their kid’s lunch is a healthy option or not!

“I’m all for eating healthy but to be dictated what a child can and can’t pack in a lunch box is becoming a joke,” says one of our mums. “All these stupid rules, next we will be given a menu of what should be packed each day.”

Popular lunch food banned from schools, try our Healthy options instead

Healthy snacks for kids

We have thousands of healthy snack recipes on The Healthy Mummy app. Here is a list of 50 healthy lunchbox ideas from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge to help you with the daily grind of lunch box prep.

5 HEALTHY and Nut Free Snack Bar Alternatives for the Kids Lunchboxes

Pizza Scrolls

Get the pizza scrolls recipe here

Salted Sticky Date and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted sticky date and dark chocolate chip cookies

Get the recipe here

Two Ingredient Strawberry Roll-Ups


Get the recipe here

Chocolate Weetbix Slice

Grab our Choc Weetbix Slice recipe

More healthy snacks:

Read more: Busy mum of 3 made 330 back-to-school snacks

Tips to help your child have a healthy relationship with food

  1. Cooking healthy dinners from scratch is the best way to ensure your child is eating the right food.
  2. Help your child learn how to prepare healthy meals and be more aware of what they are putting into their body.
  3. Make exercise fun. Get them involved, go for family walks and make exercise seem like a fun pastime that is part of your everyday or weekly routine.
  4. Set good sleep habits. Keep communication open with your child open at all times and let them know you are there to support them and help them if anything is bothering them and causing them to emotionally eat.
  5. Limit devices and social media. Playing on devices or scrolling through social media can cause kids to go into a trance-like state, and this can lead to mindlessly eating.
  6. Offering praise can help your son or daughter succeed in getting down to a healthy weight. Rewarding them with non-food items for their hard work will encourage them to want to lead a healthier lifestyle.
  7. Set good examples. Kids learn from their parents, so it’s imperative you set a good example for your children. Join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge if you feel you need to change your eating and lifestyle habits.

Read more: How your dieting habits impact your daughter


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