Food watchdogs have warned that nine out of 10 children’s school lunch boxes contain foods that are too high in saturated fat, salt and sugar.

The Food Standards Agency looked at 556 home-packed lunches from children from 24 primary schools across the UK. It found that 40% of the saturated fat content came from butter and other fat spreads, up to 25% from cheddar cheese, 19% from crisps and14% from chocolate bars and biscuits.

Salt came from foods such as white bread, ham and crisps, and sugar came mainly from fizzy drinks and chocolate-covered bars and biscuits.

The FSA is planning to issue practical tips to parents on how to reduce saturated fat, salt and sugar in their kids’ lunchboxes. The Agency has put together healthy lunchbox menus, which can be viewed by clicking on: www.food.gov.uk/news/pressreleases/lunchboxes

Chef and board member of the FSA, Robert Rees, said: “Healthy options needn’t be boring and the aim is that these tips and lunchbox suggestions will be popular not only with parents, but also with the children eating them.”