For the study published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers from the University of Leeds looked at 1300 packed lunches of children aged 8 and 9 years.
The most common items were sandwiches, sweets, savoury snacks and artificially sweetened drinks. Only one in ten had sandwiches with any vegetables in, and one in ten were given a portion of vegetables.
The researchers looked at the lunches before the children ate, and afterwards. They noticed that the kids were most likely to eat the confectionery – and least likely to eat fruit they were given.
Standards were set for meals provided by schools in 2006 and 2008. Schools are no longer allowed to serve chocolate, sweets, crisps and artificially sweetened drinks.