Aussie staple snack banned from daycare as pressure mounts on parents to create ‘perfect’ lunchboxes for their children
- The daycare banned Vegemite toast and replaced it with cereal
- Lunch boxes are changing to include healthier alternatives
- Parents are feeling the pressure more than ever
A daycare’s decision to remove Vegemite toast from the menu has highlighted the constant shift from what is considered “healthy” to include in school lunch boxes, increasing pressure on parents.
Great Beginnings in the north-west Sydney suburb of Marsden Park informed parents it would no longer serve children toast to meet the carbohydrate requirements prescribed by NSW Health’s Munch & Move programme.
On July 17, 2GB Breakfast host Ben Fordham said a listener had complained about the move, and that the center swapped toast for cereals like Rice Bubbles or Cornflakes.
However, the state health minister confirmed that the government was “not in the game of banning Vegemite toast.”
It occurs when websites, governments, and schools publish guidelines on how to create healthy lunch boxes.
Parents are constantly under pressure to select the “perfect” lunch box for their children, even though what is considered the healthiest option is constantly changing. It comes when a nursery in New South Wales removed Vegemite toast from the menu (file image)
Parents are urged to swap packets of chips for popcorn and replace muesli bars with homemade versions.
Healthy Lunch Box Swaps:
Australian parents are urged to stick to the following healthy lunch box changes:
- Swap the juice or cordial for milk or water.
- Swap the cheese spread for veggie sticks and hummus, whole wheat crispbread with cheese and vegemite, or tomato and cheese sandwich
- Swap the muffins for fruit bread, banana picks, apple and date muffins
- Swap the chocolate for homemade bliss balls, reduced-fat custard tubs, flapjacks
- Swap the Cookies for Raisin Toast, Mixed Berry Scores, Carrot Cake
- Swap muesli bars for homemade versions, English fruit muffins
- Swap out the popsicles for dried fruit, cream cheese celery and sultanas, or healthy apple crisp
- Swap the chips for popcorn, roasted chickpeas, or rice crackers
Source: Cancer Council Healthy Lunch Box
Responding to the claims, NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said there was no official government instruction to ban toast or Vegemite in daycare centers.
Instead, centers can implement rules so that they can comply with the NSW Health Munch & Move program dietary guidelines.
‘Sometimes around these guidelines there are some recommendations about reducing salt. Local centers could do that,” he said.
‘We’re not in the Vegemite toast ban game, I assure you.
‘Vegemite isn’t going anywhere. Toast is not going anywhere. We don’t want people to feel bad because their kids take Vegemite…my kids love it.’
Over the years, schools have cracked down on healthier options sold in canteens and offer guidelines for lunch boxes (file image)
The iconic Australian Vegemite variety pictured
Over the years, schools have cracked down on healthier options sold in cafeterias and offer guidelines for lunch boxes.
A flurry of websites, parenting blogs and social networks as a whole contribute to the ongoing changes and thoughts on what the ‘perfect’ lunch box should look like.
This puts more pressure on parents and caregivers to select ideal lunch boxes for their children.
of the Cancer Council Healthy Lunch Box The website provides guidelines and ideas for healthy lunch box swaps, healthy snack ideas, and sandwich stuffing ideas.
For example, parents are urged to swap juice and soda for water or milk, or swap chocolate for homemade candy.
Popsicles should also be swapped with dried fruit, and packets of chips should be swapped with popcorn, roasted chickpeas, or rice crackers.
Canteens in New South Wales do not sell juice unless it is 99 per cent fruit juice. Muffins are not for sale either
All Australian states and territories have also introduced “healthy eating” strategies to improve health and well-being while reducing obesity rates.
A list of food and drinks has also been banned from school canteens in recent years, including candy, chips, fried foods, cakes, chocolate, and cakes.
Sugary drinks, including sodas, flavored waters, vitamin waters, energy drinks, sports drinks, iced teas, fruit drinks that contain less than 99% juice, cordial, coconut water, ice blocks, and gelatin.
What’s in the ideal school lunch sandwich?
* INTEGRAL BREAD OR SOURDough: Slow-release carbohydrates help stabilize blood sugar levels.
* PROTEIN: Lean meat, salmon, tuna, egg, or tofu will help with alertness and stamina.
* HEALTHY FATS: Things like sunflower seeds, avocado and pumpkin seeds increase satiety, help stabilize children’s moods and increase their concentration.
* VEGETABLES X 2-3: Foods like bell peppers, carrots, mashed potatoes, and cucumbers contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that children need to keep their immune systems healthy.
Source: Nutritionist Lee Holmes