80% 'give children unhealthy food'
Eight out of 10 parents are putting unhealthy food such as crisps and chocolate in their children's lunchboxes, according to a survey.
But fruit is one of the most popular children's snacks with seven out of 10 children preferring it to sweets, fizzy drinks and biscuits, the research by children's cookery expert Annabel Karmel said.
Cheese, crisps and fruit were the top three snacks among children.
One in five parents said they gave their children sugary cereals instead of healthier options such as porridge or wholegrain cereal.
Ms Karmel said: "More parents start out with good intentions but at busy times of the day, they may opt for an easier life and give in to their child even though that food isn't healthy."
But nearly half of the 1,000 parents surveyed showed they are health-conscious as they tried to trick their children into eating healthy vegetables by hiding them in pasta dishes.
Other tricks parents used to feed their children vegetables included bribing them with sweet treats (7%), offering finger food portions of vegetables (29%) and pureeing the vegetables (14%).
Nearly a third of children said mushrooms were their least favourite vegetable, above spinach (18%) and broccoli (17%).
Spaghetti bolognese is the top children's dish, with nearly half naming it their favourite.
But the Italian classic is more popular with children in the south east, with 52% saying it was their favourite compared with 32% in the north east.