I was appalled when reading an expose by a colleague on the high-sugar, zero goodness $2 ‘‘lunch packs’’ available in dairies in poorer parts of Auckland.
These hideous packs contained a mixture of chippies, biscuits and sugary cordials, and cost between $2 and $3.50.
Readers were as shocked as me, but one response got me thinking.
It was the claim that you couldn’t give the kids lunch for $2.
Everyone in my family takes lunch to school/work, and I don’t reckon we spend much more than that.
Lunches need to vary in bulk depending on the age of the child, but the basic ingredients aren’t expensive: sandwiches, some fruit and some vege, and (shock) tap water in a reusable bottle. What’s in a $2 lunch? Well, actually, quite a lot. I just popped downstairs to Countdown to get a bit of a pricing for the base ingredients of our children’s lunches: Fruit, bread, carrot (and cucumber) and sandwich. ❚ Banana: 30 cents (apples are more popular in our household). ❚ Healthy lunch, healthy kids ❚ Fruit, bread and veges, not high-sugar snacks ❚ Tap water, not soft drinks
❚ Carrot: 28 cents. ❚ One fifth of loaf of brown bread: 80 cents. That would leave 62 centsworth of spreads or fillings like cheese, peanut butter and marmite, unless you just want to grate the carrot in, which actually makes a halfdecent filling.
The 62 cents can then be spent on something else. Yoghurts were on special for $3.80 for a pack of six.
This is the first time I have priced out children’s lunches, and I admit, what I have just sketched out doesn’t earn you bragging rights in the playground.
My children tell me some of their peers get sweets in their lunches every day, and one child even gets KFC delivered by his grandparents at lunchtime.
Our lunches are ‘‘improved’’ regularly by my elder daughter, who is a home-baking whizz, and the addition of a few seaweed crackers, which sell for $2 a pack usually.
Roughly each girl gets about 24 cents a day of these crackers, which usually get put inside the sandwich to give it crunch.