The packaged items a mum was trying to giveaway on Facebook.
The packaged items a mum was trying to giveaway on Facebook. Facebook

Mum shamed for trying to giveaway packaged 'lunchbox' foods

LUNCH box shaming is a thing. And among parents, it is alive and well.

I recently saw a post on Facebook where a mother was offering "lunchbox food" her daughter doesn't like to anyone who wanted it.

"Lunchbox food I've bought but my daughter can't/won't eat. Will put in bag for anyone who would like to pick up," the post reads, along with a photo of a container full of chips, Tiny Teddies and cheese dip with crackers.

It didn't take long for people to start shaming.

"Lol, doesn't look like food to me," one Facebook user wrote.

"It doesn't look like real food, no wonder she won't eat it," another said.

"It's not a bad thing that the child won't eat them," wrote another.

"Well stuff me for trying to help out someone who wanted some lunch bits for their kids," the mother wrote.

"Some people can't afford to [buy] certain non necessary items for their kids. And here I am trying to do something nice and people have the audacity to cut me down. SHAME ON YOU!"

Yes...but this just goes to show we all have different ideals on what is "lunchbox food."

So what are ideal lunchbox foods?

According to paediatric dietitian (nutritionist) and director of Smartbite, Karina Savage they are wholegrain carbohydrates, protein and plant foods.

"Healthy lunchboxes should contain a complex wholegrain carbohydrate such as a healthy sandwich on grainy bread or roll or crackers, good quality protein from either animals or plants, plenty of plant foods such as fresh vegies and fruit and the other two to consider are healthy fats such as avocado or tuna and something with calcium like a cheese or a yoghurt."

Ms Savage says lives are busy and for some it is a real struggle to keep packaged foods to a minimum but kids are getting far too many of them - and it is a real issue.

"Those packets of processed refined carbs are quick and easy to grab but they don't offer much nutrition. They are high GI, fast release sugars and low in fiber.

"I call these processed carbohydrate snacks 'sometimes foods'.

"And if you are going to have them try and limit them. Reduce them to once or twice a week."

For me, you would never see something packaged or processed like chips, Tiny Teddies or cheese dip (is it really cheese?) and crackers within a whisker of my children's lunchboxes.

My six-year-old's lunchbox. Alexia Purcell

I take great pride in making my kids' lunches every day. Knowing that they're healthy, balanced and all the items are lovingly homemade.

Now, I couldn't care less what other kids have in their lunchboxes but I hope when my son opens his at lunchtime, other kids and the teachers admire his lunch.

And more importantly, he enjoys it. Which I know he does because his lunchbox always comes home empty.

He has a sandwich, on bakery sourdough with either avocado or all natural peanut butter, a section of fruit, a tub of unsweetened Greek yoghurt with raspberries and something homemade like my low sugar jam drops (yes I even make the jam) or a piece of my raspberry and yoghurt cake sweetened with the littlest bit of honey.

Often he will also have slices of cucumber, green beans and cherry tomatoes. And he always has a piece of fruit for fruit break.

My three-year-old eats the same. But you see, we have always eaten like this. They have never had packaged foods so they don't know what they are.

My three-year-old's lunch. Alexia Purcell

But if you are a parent, who gives their children packaged foods (and no judging from me) but want to move towards healthier lunchboxes, here's what you can do.

"Stop buying all the packet food," Ms Savage says.

"Or if you need to buy packaged food for the convenience, swap the items you usually buy for better packet options such as popcorn or dried fava beans or chick peas. Even Ryvitas or Vita-Weats are better options.

"And homemade baked goods always going to be better than packaged sweet things.

"Taking a few moments on a weekend to plan helps. Do a big bake up of things to put in the lunchbox and buy those foods that are the better option and don't give your children the option."

If you'd like some more help or ideas for healthy lunchboxes you can check out Ms Savage's Smartbite blog here.