HEALTH shocks found in the average lunchbox have been highlighted by the Cancer Council, with parents preparing to pack the first of about 200 lunches per child over the year from today.
Research shows many lunchboxes contain the recommended serves of fruit but can be alarmingly low on vegetables and high on hidden sugar and salt.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said parents may be packing foods that appear healthy, and would be shocked to discover high levels of saturated fat, sugar and salt.
"Balancing the weekday lunchbox is a difficult task - we understand the time, financial, emotional and practical pressures Queensland parents face," Ms Clift said.
"Too often lunchbox snacks are promoted as healthy choices, but contain high levels of saturated fat, sugar and salt, which can negatively impact children's health and wellbeing.
"The majority of lunchbox items should be wholefoods from the five recommended food groups.
"Parents should choose fresh, whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, lean meats, eggs, poultry, legumes and beans, wholegrains high in fibre and low fat dairy products including plain milk, yoghurt and cheese for school lunches.
"Processed and packaged foods should be avoided as much as possible."