My daughter and I ate a Twix last night. She had one stick, and I had the other. It was a delicious, perfect way to end the day.
I’m sharing this anecdote with you to establish that I’m not anti-junk food. I love junk food as much as anyone else and I choose to eat it occasionally. I allow my children to do the same because I want to teach them how to eat a balanced diet.
A landmark report has called for a junk food ban at school canteens and sporting venues and I’m all for it. In fact I think it’s at least a decade overdue. You can read all about it in this news report.
This isn’t the first time an approach like this has been suggested, and discussions about introducing a sugar tax have also been going on for some time.
But in the meantime, can we just ban junk food from places children frequent? We can start with schools and children’s sporting venues.
The last thing I want is to deprive them of these foods, only to have them binge later in life when I'm no longer in control of them. Yet that's precisely why I'm in favour of banning junk food at school canteens and children's sporting centres. I've wanted this for a long time, because when you surround our children with so much junk food at every turn, you are reducing their ability to make a healthy choice.
Kids may say no the first, second, third or fourth time they walk past the chocolate bar display, but by the fifth they may find themselves reaching for it because they're hungry and it's there.
I don't want my children to end up eating junk food just because it's there. I want it to be a considered choice, balanced against all of their other food choices each day. I'm not anti-junk food, because it's is a delicious treat. But if junk food is only available at food shops, then your consumption of it isn't incidental. You know you are going to a food shop, for food.
Let's be real — when it comes to school canteens and children's sporting centres, there's not a great selection of food available. I have to admit that some school canteens are improving, particularly those in more affluent areas, but my children's school tuckshop still sells pies, sausage rolls and flavoured milk.
Listen: Party bags are full of junk food kids don't need. (Article continues after audio.)