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A pie needn't be unhealthy. Lauren Mentjox and photographer Kellie Blizard surveyed Auckland children to see what they thought of a 'healthy' pie
A healthy alternative to traditional mince pies has been given the thumbs-up from our tasting panel at an Auckland school. Hot Bites Murphies, a pie-like product made with lean mince and a bread casing topped with potato and cheese, has up to 40 per cent less fat than its pastry counterpart. It's also low in salt. Our taste-team at Freemans Bay Primary ? Cumorah Manu, Georgia Ramdin, Ethan O'Dwyer, Lahaina Toleafoa, Shechinah Tumueuna and Ruby Campbell?gave the new pie an average 9 out of 10. They'd buy them if they were available at their school. Ethan says he liked the bread better than pastry, although he would probably want to eat two pies for lunch. Cumorah reckons it tasted homemade but at the same time, not ''too healthy''. Hot Bites Murphies were launched as part of the fight against child obesity. Their bakers, Tasman Bay Food Group, won awards for enterprise, bakery products, food service and nutrition at Massey University's Food Innovation Awards on Monday. Tasman Bay's other low fat, salt and sugar school lunch offerings include American hot dogs and pizza, flavoured water, milk freezes and fruit bars. Obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions in New Zealand, with one in three children classified as overweight or obese. To counter this, schools will be able to apply for funding to promote healthy food in lunches and canteens from next year. Freemans Bay principal Malcolm Milner says the school offers a range of lunch packs for $5. Just one includes a pie-like item. ''Kids should have home-made lunches,'' he says. ''So price is not important to me as long as it's healthy. ''I don't want a bought lunch to be an option every day.'' The 150g Hot Bites Mince Murphies are Heart Foundation approved and available at selected school canteens nationwide.