Fascinating pictures show lunch boxes through the years

From peanut butter in the ’70s to noughties Frubes and Cheese Strings, fascinating images reveal just how school packed lunches have changed over the past fifty years

  • Nutritionist analysed five decades of school pack lunches starting in seventies
  • Found that modern lunchboxes are far healthier with more fruit and less sugar
  • Seventies favoured high fat sandwiches, crisps and juices from concentrate 
  • Now fruit, vegetables and water are more on trend with healthier bread 

Fascinating pictures show just how much children’s diets in Britain have changed over the years, with a glimpse at a typical lunch box over the past five decades.

Despite the rising rates of childhood obesity across the UK, with data for 2016/17 showing that one in 25 10-to-11-year-olds are severely obese, research by Wren Kitchens and nutritionist, Jenny Edelstein, has found that kids’ lunches are nutritionally healthier today than they were 50 years ago. 

Snapshots show how packed lunches in the seventies favoured peanut butter and jam sandwiches, cheese puffs and even liquorice. 

By the eighties pickled onion and cheese sandwiches, Space Raider crisps and wagon wheels had come into fashion, while during the nineties Hula Hoops, Capri Suns and jelly pots were all the rage.

And as the new millennium hit, lunchboxes began to look healthier, incorporating more fruit along with cheese strings, yoghurt tubes and water and by 2010 salad sandwich thins and fruit made up a typical lunchbox.  

Typical Lunchbox: 70s

Fascinating pictures show just how much children’s diets have changed over the years, with a glimpse at a typical lunch box over the past five decades. Snapshots show how packed lunches in the seventies favoured peanut butter and jam sandwiches, cheese puffs and even liquorice

  • Peanut butter and jam sandwiches
  • Cheese squares
  • Cheese puff balls 
  • Pineapple slices
  • Carton of orange juice from concentrate 

Typical Lunchbox: 80s

By the eighties pickled onion and cheese sandwiches, Space Raider crisps and wagon wheels had come into fashion

  • Pickled Onion and Cheese Sandwiches
  • Crisps (Like space raiders)
  • Chocolate Biscuit with Marshmallow Filling (like Wagon Wheels)
  • Apple Slices
  • Carton of Orange Juice from Concentrate

Typical Lunchbox: 90s

During the nineties Hula Hoops, Capri Suns and jelly pots were all the rage

  • Ham sandwich (like Billy Bear ham)
  • Potato hoop crisps
  • Animal shaped biscuits
  • Chocolate sandwich biscuit (like Penguins)
  • Jelly fruit pot
  • Orange flavoured drink (like Capri Sun)

Typical Lunchbox: 2000s

As the new millennium hit, lunchboxes began to look healthier, incorporating more fruit along with cheese strings, yoghurt tubes and water

  • Tuna and sweetcorn mayo sandwich
  • Yoghurt tube (like Frubes)
  • Salty Crisps (Like Pringles)
  • Stringy Cheese
  • Chocolate Fingers (Like KitKat)
  • Apple Slices & Grapes
  • Fruit flavoured water

Typical Lunchbox: 2010s 

By 2010 salad sandwich thins and fruit made up a typical lunchbox

  • Chicken salad with peppers sandwich thins
  • Carrot sticks 
  • Crisps (handful)
  • Chocolate finger (1x) (like Twix finger)
  • Tropical fruits like kiwi, raspberries, and blueberries – Yogurt covered raisins   

Nutritionist Jenny told FEMAIL: ‘There’s been a definite shift away from heavily processed foods we saw in packed lunches in the 1990s and high sugar content seen in classic 1970s lunchboxes. Today, we see packed lunches include a good range of fruit, vegetables and protein.

‘Looking at social pressures, over a third feel pressure from other parents to create healthy and exciting packed lunches for their children, but 27 per cent say the cost of maintaining healthy lunches are far too high.’

Today’s parents are under increasing pressure from society and fellow parents to single-handedly combat the UK’s obesity crisis. 

According to a recent scientific study of 20,000 parents by University College London, working parents are more likely to have obese children. Wren’s study, though, reveals over half of parents think the government should do more to encourage healthy packed lunches by offering meal vouchers, subsidising healthy food and educating parents.

Jenny added: ‘Knowing where to start when creating a balanced and nutrient filled lunch can be challenging, but just stepping away from excess fats and added preservatives will do wonders for your child’s health. Try replacing processed sandwiches with a healthy chicken and sweet potato wrap and swapping sugary drinks for water.’

 

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