You may have seen the story in the news last week of the Berkshire boy who was expelled from school for having Mini Cheddars in his lunchbox.

It sounds somewhat draconian but apparently was the final straw after relations between the school and the family completely broke down.

The lunchbox issue is one I’ve encountered before. Recently a friend of mine told me that one of her children came home upset because her teacher had told her off for having crisps in her lunchbox. That would have been fair enough if it was school policy, but it wasn’t. Her friends in other classes had not had any such restrictions placed and neither had anything been communicated by the school. The family were left in a situation where one child was allowed crisps in her lunchbox but her sister was not.

These arguments are nothing new. Something similar happened at my own school back in the 1970s when packed lunches were introduced. Chocolate biscuits were allowed but chocolate bars were not. This led to all sorts of arguments about what was or was not a biscuit. In fact I can remember the great Twix debate to this day.

The Government has issued guidelines on the subject of packed lunches but school policies vary. Some in authority have said they would like to do away with lunchboxes altogether. But this is not always feasible. At my son’s school they have no kitchen facilities at all so everyone has packed lunches.

Every time this issue comes up in the media the blame is laid squarely at the door of the parents. What those pointing the finger do not seem to understand is that we don’t deliberately set out to feed our children an unhealthy diet. I would like nothing more than to fill my children’s lunchboxes with fruit, vegetables and all the other healthy options suggested by the Government but I know what would happen if I did. It would come back half-eaten. So I compromise the best I can – cereal bars and fruit flakes which pertain to be healthy, though I’m well aware of the sugar content. And thankfully they do love bananas, so at least they take one piece of fruit.

Parents of fussy children face a daily dilemma not only over lunchboxes but home cooked meals too – yes, we do feel guilty when we give them pizza or chips but they have to eat something. I have tried incredibly hard from day one with both of mine to get them to eat healthy food and it has been an on-going battle. For every new food successfully introduced, another is rejected. We have reached a point now where we have a repertoire of about half a dozen different main meals I can cook in the evening. Of those I would deem about half to be on the healthy side and half not. It’s a compromise, but it works for us. I’ve got two happy and healthy children so please stop telling me I’m a bad parent because I am doing my best.