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QUAKER PARENT/TEACHER SURVEY REVEALS LUNCH CAN BE A BATTLEGROUND; EXPERTS OFFER SOLUTIONS

 CHICAGO, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- A just-released survey reveals that with the start of the new school year many parents will be facing a battle-- the battle of the lunch box. According to the Quaker Chewy granola bars Lunch Box Leaders Survey, conducted at this year's National PTA Convention, three out of four parents (75 percent) say they have disagreements with their children about what kinds of foods to pack for lunch.
 The reasons are clear: parents want to pack foods that are nutritious, while kids want a lunch that tastes good and is fun to eat. Most parents (54 percent) consider nutritional value the most important attribute for lunch box food, but most (69 percent) also realize that good taste is the top concern for their kids.
 The conflict between taste and nutrition means food is being tossed out more often than parents realize. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the parents polled believe their children usually eat all the food in their lunch boxes. But the teachers surveyed report that less than half (48 percent) of the students who bring lunch from home eat everything.
 The Lunch Box Leaders Advisory Panel -- including nutritionist Ruth Carey, pediatrician Robert Mendelson, lunch box book author Annie Gilbar, lunch box-packing mom Irene Bennett and devout brown-bagger 10 year-old Joel Bennett -- met recently to discuss the survey results.
 "Lunch is an incredibly important meal to kids in school," says panel member Carey. "Many don't get enough breakfast, so by lunchtime they're very


hungry. But parents would be surprised to see how much food actually goes into the trash can," she says. "That's why it's so important to look for foods that kids will eat and that have some nutritional value."
 "The two qualities don't necessarily cancel each other out," says panel member Gilbar, co-author of The Penny Whistle(TM) Lunch Box Book. "You have to combine nutrition with attractiveness and good taste," Gilbar says. "Cutting vegetables and fruit or sandwiches in different shapes and sizes is one way to make nutrition more fun for kids."
 Dr. Mendelson says that he has seen a dramatic increase in parents' interest in their children's food habits in the last five years. "Parents ask more nutrition and food-related questions than any other subject," he says. "But," says Mendelson, "no matter how nutritious a food is, if it ends up in the trash can or anywhere but the child's stomach, it doesn't do a bit of good."
 The survey shows parents are trying to fill the gap. They cite fresh fruit, granola bars and apple sauce as their top three choices for nutritious lunchtime snacks that kids love.
 Another way to ensure that children won't trade or throw away food is to enlist their help in the selection and preparation of their lunches. "What I recommend to parents is that they shop and provide a variety of healthy, good-tasting snack foods in the house, and then let the child make his or her lunchtime choice," says Carey. "Look for snack foods like Quaker Chewy granola bars that have some nutritional value, like fiber, protein and other nutrients, yet are foods the kids will accept," adds Carey.
 OTHER KEY SURVEY FINDINGS:
 -- Conflict is often settled with a compromise: Parents say they often compromise by giving something sweet that also has nutritional value.
 -- Sandwiches and sweet snacks are most often packed: Parents report that virtually every lunch box includes a sandwich (94 percent) and a sweet snack (95 percent).
 -- Good snacks are important, but can be hard to find: Most parents (88 percent) say they look for sweet snacks that are good tasting and nutritious -- but more than half (54 percent) report having trouble finding snacks that meet both criteria.
 -- Sandwiches and fresh fruit are thrown away most often: Foods most often tossed in the garbage are sandwiches (according to 62 percent of teachers) and fresh fruit (51 percent).
 -- If they don't toss it, they may trade it: Teachers say that one out of four (26 percent) of their students trades food from their lunch on any given day.
 -- Teachers recognize the importance of lunch for performance: Teachers unanimously agree that a nutritious lunch is important to help a child have a successful day in school (91 percent said very important, 9 percent said somewhat important).
 Both the Lunch Box Leaders Survey and Advisory Panel are sponsored by Quaker Chewy granola bars as part of its effort to collect and communicate useful information for parents to help them make better lunch choices.
 -0- 8/18/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: B-Roll, graphics, and panel member interviews available/
 /CONTACT: Dan Ciancio, 312-988-2345, for Quaker Chewy granola bars Lunch Box Leaders/


CO: Quaker Chewy granola bars Lunch Box Leaders ST: Illinois IN: FOD SU:

WB -- NY014 -- 3829 08/18/93 10:18 EDT
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Date:Aug 18, 1993
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