To pack school lunch or not to pack school lunch? Almost half (45%) of school children eat a sack lunch prepared at home every day. However, challenges abound for parents in packing those lunches. Key among them is “Finding a variety of healthy foods my child will actually eat.” In 2012, 59% of respondents in Allrecipes’ annual Back-to-School Survey* said this was their main challenge in packing school lunches, up 12% from 2011. Finding information to make healthy lunches is also a huge challenge for consumers, with 68% more citing this compared with last year.
|Challenges to Preparing Healthy Lunches and Snacks for Kids|
Why do parents pack a school lunch for their children? One-fifth say they do it to know exactly what their child is eating, 17% say because it’s healthier, and 19% say because it’s less expensive. When parents don’t pack lunch for their kids, 42% say it’s because the child prefers to eat school lunch, and 15% say school lunches are cheaper. Another 12% don’t pack lunch because they don’t have time.
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When deciding what to pack for a school lunch, almost half (47%) of parents are swayed by their child’s preferences. Another 39% say a food's nutritional value determines what’s in the lunch bag. What are parents doing to help their kids eat healthier lunches? Leaving out soda, sweets and salty snacks are the main actions, but interestingly, these efforts have dropped compared with 2011, as has the number of families making lunches at home, down 33% since 2011.
|Year-Over-Year Comparison of What Parents are Doing to Help Kids Eat Healthier Lunches|
|What vegetables do you pack in your child's lunch? (Check all that you include.)|
#1 – uncut apples
#2 – string cheese
#3 – granola bars
What's a favorite in your child's lunch bag? Please share!
* The 2012 Allrecipes Back-to-School Survey was hosted on Allrecipes.com in September 2012, with participation from 924 U.S.-based Allrecipes’ community members. No incentives were used to reward or encourage participation.