Photos reveal how kids’ packed lunches have changed over the years

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Photos reveal how kids' packed lunches have changed over the years



What’s in your lunchbox?Have a think back to your school days and it’s the food that really makes the nostalgia hit home.
Remember the days before Jamie Oliver stole away our turkey twizzlers, when we could enjoy a bottle of Panda Pops and a massive cookie with our lunch of a pasty, beans, and chips?
Oh, how we miss them.
But the food that inspires our school lunch nostalgia differs quite a bit between the generations.
While you may fondly remember a sandwich of Billy Bear ham and cheese, someone born just a few years earlier might dream only of Wagon Wheels.
The team over at Wren Kitchens teamed up with nutritionist Jenny Edelstein to take a look at how kids’ packed lunches have transformed over the decades.
They reckon that children’s packed lunches tend to be far more nutritionally healthy today than they were 50 years ago… which is probably the case, considering our prior fondness for pickled onion Monster Munch.
Shall we take a look at the average school lunch for every decade, then?
1970s

The classic 70s lunchbox, complete with cheese and pineappleHere we have a classic seventies collection of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, some cubes of cheese, cheese puffs, pineapple slices, a carton of orange juice, and a few sweets.
Those cubes of cheese with pineapple are giving us major house party vibes, we must say.
 
1980s

Space Raiders, of courseYes, those are indeed Space Raiders – a delightful pairing with a cheese and pickle sandwich.
80s kids also enjoyed some apple slices, a Wagon Wheel (I’m team jam), and another carton of orange juice.
 
1990s

We miss you, Billy Bear hamOh hey, 90s kids. You’ll remember enjoying a ham sandwich (Billy Bear ham gets you extra points), likely with Hula Hoops, some animal shaped biscuits, a Penguin, a jelly fruit pot, and a Capri-Sun.
 
2000s

Remember Frubes?Remember Frubes?
If you were a kid in the early 2000s, you probably enjoyed a lunch of a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich, a tube of yoghurt, some pringles (you had a sparkly Pringles snack pot, of course), string cheese, and some fruit flavoured water.
Your mum probably chucked in some apple slices and grapes to make it ‘healthy’… plus a Kit-Kat for pudding.
 
2010 to now

Lunchboxes tend to be a tad healthier these daysSo here’s what the young people are eating these days: a chicken salad sandwich with fancy ‘thins’ rather than standard bread, carrot sticks, a handful of crisps, a chocolate finger, tropical fruits, and yoghurt covered raisins.
According to the study of 2,000 parents by Wren Kitchens, the majority of parents consider children’s packed lunches today to be healthier than when they were young, and what’s included now is more nutritious than the food found in packed lunches in the 70s.
Nutritionist Jenny said: ‘There’s been a definite shift away from heavily processed foods we saw in packed lunches in the 1990s and high sugar content seen in classic 1970s lunchboxes. Today, we see packed lunches include a good range of fruit, vegetables and protein.
More: Food

‘Looking at social pressures, over a third feel pressure from other parents to create healthy and exciting packed lunches for their children, but 27% say the cost of maintaining healthy lunches are far too high.
‘Knowing where to start when creating a balanced and nutrient filled lunch can be challenging, but just stepping away from excess fats and added preservatives will do wonders for your child’s health. Try replacing processed sandwiches with a healthy chicken and sweet potato wrap and swapping sugary drinks for water.’
That’s us told.
Jenny recommended the perfect nutritional lunchbox as containing a chicken and sweet potato wrap, vegetables with a cumin and lime yoghurt dip, a tub of mixed berries, and filtered tap water to drink.
So, no, it’s probably not a good idea to run into the comforting embrace of a cheese and pickle sandwich with Monster Munch. Sorry.
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