Don't let them eat cake!
Many parents admit to making meals that are ‘filling rather than nutritious’ as the cost of food, including staples such as milk, continues to rise. The British Nutrition Foundation is concerned at the impact this may be having on children’s diets, especially in families on tight budgets or those living close to the breadline.
As some parents are facing a stark choice between heating and eating, variables such as too much access to cheap food outlets and not enough access to free school meals play a major role in contributing to diet inequality. Insufficient access to nutritious food is a key part of defining poverty or food insecurity, with children being some of the worst affected.
A new research study suggests that half of parents living in low-income households shelter their children from food insecurity by limiting their own food intake or skipping meals.
Three quarters of mums surveyed said they bought or prepared meals that were ‘filling rather than nutritious’, by bulking out servings with cost-effective carbohydrates like pasta or rice. But dependency on high sugar, high fat convenience food only exacerbates the problem of diet inequality with children not developing tastes for ‘good or nutritious’ foods, says the BNF. That is why the importance of eating at school must not be overlooked. Major supermarkets can also play a key role in helping to reduce food inequality.
Sara Stanner, science director at the British Nutrition Foundation, comments: ‘We recognise the need for all children to have access to healthier food in schools, alongside provision of good food and nutrition education which we support through our Food-a fact of life education programme.’