Innocent-looking lunchbox should ring alarm bells for parents, experts warn

An innocent-looking lunchbox has hit headlines after an expert says it should be 'ringing alarm bells' for parents.

The tin contains ham white bread sandwiches, crackers, a fruit roll up and a chocolate yogurt.

It looks pretty similar to what many of us tucked into at lunch time when we were kids.

However, according to Australian nutrition experts at the Cancer Council NSW, this meal could actually be doing more harm than good, reports The Mirror.

They say it hides an "uncomfortable truth" parents might not want to face.

To highlight their concerns, the council also shared a photo of a second lunchbox to see if people can notice the difference.

The second lunch box contains cheese and tomato sandwich, fruit, vegetable sticks and a yoghurt.

The first box contains twice the amount of sugar as the second packed lunch.

And if that wasn't enough to worry parents, the contents of the unhealthier box also happen to cost twice as much, due to most of it being pre-packaged items.

Speaking to, Cancer Council NSW’s senior nutrition program officer Nina Tan explained that many parents buy pre-packaged snacks for school because it saves time, or because children ask for them.

She said: "When it comes to pre-packaged foods, companies are plastering them with nutrition-related marketing claims like ‘source of calcium’ or ‘no artificial…’, and adding colours, cartoon characters and fonts designed to draw in both parents and kids.

"Bright colours, cartoon animals and fun shapes are used to attract children, and text like ‘no need to chill’ and ‘the perfect lunch box biscuits’ are used to appeal to parents’ desire to make easy and quick lunch box choices for their kids, but these snacks can be packed with sugar, salt and kilojoules and often don’t provide children with the nutrients they need."

Cancer Council NSW recently assessed 140 popular lunch box snacks in Australia and found nearly 80% could be classified as unhealthy.

Ms Tan added that they were "particularly concerned" by the results given the role lunch box snacks played in a children’s diet.

To try and tackle this concern, the council have since set up a website for parents to help them pack healthier lunches. You can find out more at

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