Alison Goulding: Muffin top or black death?

Lunch box

Lunch box

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MANY adults wouldn’t accept eating the same things day in, day out, so why should children?”

So says the aptly named Rachel Cooke, spokesperson for the The British Dietetic Association (BDA).

With a new school term round the corner, The BDA is doling out some “handy hints” on healthy packed lunches.

Here’s another bold statement: “Packed lunches can be exciting and full of healthy options and variety.”

Clearly they never viewed any of my packed lunches. It’s safe to say my mum never got any memo about “excitement” and “variety”.

My school years were dominated by Marmite sandwiches, apples and Trio bars.

I’ve trawled my memory, but I honestly can’t remember anything else ever making it into the final round-up.

Either that or my mum would give me £1 in the car to spend in one of the two school cafeterias.

One was named The Light Bite and one was given an unrepeatable nickname that indicated it sold slightly less healthy food.

The truth is they were both as horrible as each other.

Am I complaining? Not at all. In this lunatic day and age we have forgotten what my mum knew without even thinking – food is fuel.

It doesn’t need to be fancy, or composed of sesame seeds or nine different vitamins. It needs to fill the child up so it can run around all afternoon and shove other kids about in the sandpit.

It’s wrong to give kids Wotsits for their tea, but it’s just as bad to make parents feel awful if they don’t furnish their sprogs with an exotic fruit salad and a hand-crafted panini every day.

Who’s got the time and more importantly, the money, to go on like that?

My friend told me the other day that her daughter came home from school after a “healthy eating day” and burst into tears at the sight of a cupcake. She thought her mum was trying to poison her.

The advice given to parents these days just seems impossible to me.

I imagine it is pretty difficult to get most children to eat any fruit or veg, never mind five pieces a day.

Parents are expected to go to absurd lengths to trick their children into eating foodstuffs that are notorious for being sprayed with pesticides, wax and goodness knows what else.

Every era has its big problems and one of ours seems to be obesity.

Personally, I’d prefer to be morbidly overweight than contending with some of the forerunners: The Black Death, the Irish Potato Famine and typhus make a muffin-top look like a walk in the park.

By the way, I never, ever, ate the apple that my mum put in my lunch. Not once. I fed it to the horse I walked past on the way home.

As an adult I’ve never struggled with my weight and I eat a balanced diet which I put largely down to the fact that no one ever made a massive fuss about what I should or shouldn’t be putting in my cakehole.

Give them some sandwiches and let them figure it out – kids aren’t as daft as we pretend they are.