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New Zealanders overwhelmingly support a mum who was shamed after she included a piece of baked chocolate slice in her child's lunchbox.

An Australian mother-of-eight who added the chocolate based home-baking to her child's lunch was stunned to find a note from the teacher telling her to stop sending it in.

The note sent home to the mother had a sad face and read, "Your child has 'chocolate slice' from the Red Food category today. Please choose healthier options for Kindy."

My friend (mother of 8 healthy children, what follows relating to no. 7) received this today from her 3 year old's kindy. I told her to put in two slices tomorrow and tell them to get lost.

Posted by Melinda Tankard Reist on Thursday, 2 February 2017

Australian schools use the traffic light system as a guideline for healthy choice. It categorises foods and drinks according to their nutritional value.


Green is the best and red foods - which include cakes, confectionery, fats and soft drink - are not recommended.

The note has caused a maelstrom online as parents leap to the defence of the home baker. A whopping 87 per cent of voters on a Herald poll are backing the mum.

Asked whether it was the kindy's right to tell parents what food to pack, more than 17,000 people have come out against preschools determining what was and wasn't allowed in children's lunchboxes.

But it still remains a polarising debate among parents on either side of the healthy lunchbox debate.

"The day the school decides to pay for my child's lunch is the day they can tell me what my child eats for lunch - try telling me what I can and can't take to work for lunch - actually I would love to see what the teachers take for lunch," posted Malissa Goodburn on Facebook.

Mum Claire Gardiner said the same thing happened to her when her child was at preschool in Hamilton.

"I find this hilarious...13 years ago I was told the same thing at a Hamilton kindy., so I packed fruit...but my then 3 year old saw other kids with chocolate bars and decided she didn't want fruit and helped herself to the Sante bars in another kids kindy lunch box, lol. I was spoken to about my child stealing food Hahahahahahaha. Of course a 3 year old child is going to prefer chocolate over an apple. They have no right to dictate what parents feed their kids."

Many are encouraging the mum to keep baking, saying it is a much better option than processed food.

Posted Rosie Chapman:"I have four kids and baked every other day when my kids went to school. Not one of them is over weight and all my kids are good at baking and do it for their own families now. How dear people tell us what to do. Fed up (pardon the pun) with stupid PC brigade."

Eniko Erki Sheehan:"Ridiculous! I'm a nutritionist and believe in balance diet. Kids need treat sometimes. My daughter has super healthy, home baked lunch and still she got comment about her brownie. She told the teacher that 'my mom believe in balance diet so do I!' She is 5 and a half. this kind of letter is just stupid, talk to the parents if you have problem!"

But Brenden Connor said a bad diet in the first years was causing major dental problems at a young age.

"Several children from our local primary school have lost most of their front teeth. There parents feed them sugar at kindergarten age. Chocolate, Coke and lollies etc. Utterly shameful."

John Bollard, chairperson of Avondale Community Preschool, said New Zealand daycares had to follow Ministry of Health guidelines on healthy food.

Early childhood worker Susannah Newton said the centre where she worked had a healthy food policy with lunchbox guidelines that included a list of banned food.

"If we find these foods we ask the child to not have it at preschool; rather, take it home and have it there and we are constantly educating the tamariki and the parents about healthy food choices. We even have alternatives on standby in case the child has no other healthy options. We send a wee note home that asks for the item not to be in the lunchbox, which also refers to our healthy food policy and healthy heart award."

The difference was at her centre they did not refuse home baking and did not try to make things difficult.

"If parents are struggling with choices we give suggestions and work with them. We don't want to make things difficult for anyone. We just want our tamariki to be happy and healthy and understand moderation and good choices."