Waitaki Herald - - MONEY -

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.

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