You’re in the supermarket on your lunch break. You don’t have long – you’ve got to get back to your desk and eat whatever you pick, too.
Your eyes flick back and forth between the different sandwiches, taking in the traffic light system, trying to figure out whether it’s better to take a hit on salt or saturated fats; is one red and 4 greens is better than 2 greens and 3 oranges?…and then your drink; you don’t want water, this is lunch! A time to break away from the shackles of grotty office coffee and tap water.
It isn’t an easy decision. You know Pepsi Max contains no sugar, but the acid will still melt your teeth in the end. What about a fruit juice! Labelled ‘no added sugar’…looks good…until you realise it contains more sugar in it than you’re allowed for the entire day. Fruit = fructose = sugars. Duh.
Finding healthy food for yourself when you’re up against the clock is bad. But trying to find it for someone else; a growing, wriggly, fussy dependant? That must be much harder.
You can’t cave in to a bad decision like you would for yourself either – the pressure is on. However when little Timmy is screaming from the trolley that he wants ‘the one with Spiiiderman!’ and the packaging tells you the product is organic, sustainable and contains 1 of your 5 a day, like as not you’re going to throw it in your cart and run for the checkout.
I read extracts from a report into children’s food marketing today, and while Spiderman may be a hero in the cartoons, it seems he’s a bit of a sneak.
Because ‘1 of your 5’ a day need not actually mean that. Just as ‘unsweetened fruit juice’ may in reality be very sweet.
I’m sure that there are (some) perfectly healthy, nourishing, suitable pre-packaged snacks for kids out there, but what I realised while reading the report was this; you can’t let your guard down and believe that honest marketing is a given, just because a product is aimed at children.
The report can be accessed here.
If all else fails, you could always try leaping around, Lycra clad and throwing carrot sticks at Timmy – he may just be so confused that he eats them.
PS – The Countess of Chester hospital plan to turn away all Welsh patients with the exception of emergency or maternity cases, giving payment issues from Wales as the reason. The impact on patients from Flintshire and the surrounding areas will be phenomenal. We are watching this one with bated breath…