Please stop giving Haribo to our Primary School children

I may be a Nutritionist but that doesn’t mean my children are deprived of sweets or ‘treat’ (I hate that word) foods.

We have cake on our birthdays, we have chocolate at Easter, mince pies at Christmas etc etc.

When I was little we had 10p on a Friday after school to get a pick and mix up (jelly teddies used to be 4 for 1/2p, now I’m showing my age!!!), we had home-cooked meals (I may have been one of the lucky ones), and on Sunday we had a homemade dessert such as apple crumble, rice pudding after roast dinner and we had cakes for tea in the evening.

But, day to day we didn’t get lots of sugary foods, we weren’t exposed to the drip feeding of sugar like you see today.

In this country we have 1 in 3 children moving from Primary school to Secondary school being classed as overweight or obese. In reception there are 1 in 4 children classified as overweight or obese.

I really do not know when this trend started but it seems common practice to give out sweets to the class when it’s a child’s birthday. I would like it to stop. Not because I’m a grumpy miserable cow who wants to spoil everyone’s fun but because with the knowledge I have it greatly concerns me. I’m worried about the long-term effect for our children.

It is anticipated that in 2020 (which isn’t that far away), the NHS will be pushed to its limits supporting those with type 2 diabetes. A disease that can be completely reversed with diet and lifestyle changes, a disease that is caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices.

Children as young as 8 years old are now being diagnosed with this horrible life limiting disease. A disease that increases the risk of suffering from a multitude of other diseases. Nobody wants that for their children, do they!?

I know that if your child is having a sugary treat right now, you cannot see the effect of it right now. Your child will be perfectly fine after eating that food – right now – but what about in the future – what about the cumulative effect of a constant drip feeding of sugar!?

If you could see the damage it was doing right now you wouldn’t give your children these things but because you cannot see it, you don’t have that emergency button switched on to warn you. This sugar feasting has become so intrinsic in our life that eating sweets (and not just sweets, other sugar loaded foods and drinks) has become the norm.


Let’s look at kid’s parties nowadays. How much sugar is at an average kid’s party? Well I’ll you it’s well over 15 teaspoons of sugar. The recommended amount is no more than 5 teaspoons a day.

And then on top of the weekly (sometimes twice a week) birthday parties that happen with 30 kids in a class there’s the added sugar that comes with the packet of Haribo given out in the class on the actual day of the birthday.


Now because there are 30 children in a class this happens at least once a week if not 2, 3 or even 4 times a week sometimes.

And they give it directly to the child, not the parent so you can’t control this, directly to the child. I hate being the ‘no’ Mum. So, what happens is that if you do not want your child to have the Haribo it causes a problem. They see their friends eating the sweets and it results in a stand off!!! I hate the standoff.

It’s not fair on those parents who want to give their children a healthy balanced diet.

This standoff is not forming a good relationship with food!

It’s not fair!

So, I want ALL Headmasters and Headmistresses of Primary Schools to ban the giving out of sweets (and other sugary treats) at school.

Please stop giving our children Haribo in Primary school.

Nearly all schools are signed up to the ‘Healthy Schools Policy’ so the giving out of sweets during school is quite frankly a complete joke. How is that a healthy school?

The amount of sugar a child should aim for is no more than 5 teaspoons a day but a bag of Haribo depending on the variety has at least 1.5 teaspoons per mini bag. We already know that children’s breakfasts are not good (and don’t get me started on the breakfast club menus!!!), with cereals and spreads coming with a big sugar load. In fact, it is estimated that most children will leave home with 2 or 3 teaspoons worth of sugar in them just from their breakfast!! For healthier options for breakfast click here.

And then I also have some strong opinions on school dinners, but I’ll leave that topic for now. Except to say the guidelines for school dinners are appalling, devoid of essential fats and wholegrain foods and then topped with a sugar loaded dessert as an option every day!

The problem is that children are far exceeding their intake of sugar EVERYDAY without even adding in the Haribo.
Constantly putting sugar in to a child on a daily basis is just setting them up for health issues in the future. Sugar is so addictive, we crave it because we are set up to seek it out. Our brain relies on glucose to function but years ago when we were subjected to both feast and famine we needed that safety mechanism. Nowadays it is one big feast! Too many nutrient devoid calories making us very ill.

We now eat in two weeks the amount of sugar we used to consume in 2 years! And that is not even that long ago. Our bodies simply cannot keep up with the evolution required to adapt to this HUGE shift in our diets.

We can directly see the impact of this when we look at the statistics on diabetes.

If you think about it, what is Haribo? It’s a combination of chemicals we can’t pronounce made in a processing plant. It had absolutely no nutritional value at all so why would we give that to our children as a treat.

I bloody hate that word ‘treat’, giving Haribo is the furthest food you could possibly give that treats the body.

So instead of giving out sweets when it’s your child’s birthday how about buying a book for the class. I know a school in Maidstone, Kent that encourages this. That way you provide the school with educational materials they so desperately need because they haven’t got enough funding now. The class gets to enjoy a new story and who doesn’t enjoy a story? The child gets to pick a book to share with the class which makes them feel special on their birthday. And then if you feel the need to give something out, why not a sticker or a pencil?? I appreciate there’s a financial implication, but books can be purchased so cheaply these days, or you don’t need to buy ANYTHING!!!

So please can we stop the Haribo at Primary school. Let’s protect our children’s health and support our NHS so they can do their vital emergency work and not have to pick up the pieces of our poor diet and lifestyle decisions.

Rant over!!!

Now if you feel as strongly about this as I do, please share this, especially if your school has a Facebook group. If you feel angry about what I said, then let me know. Go ahead, give me the angry face emoji!!! If you agree with me give me some love. Does your school have a ban on sweets?

And if you want to know better ways to keep your family healthy you can join my FREE group HERE.

Or download my free guide HERE.







  1. Melanie MorganWest on January 2, 2018 at 7:59 am

    ❤❤❤❤iv emailed this to the school my children attend…..many be in touch if they listen.all the least some of us care ?

  2. Susan Howard on April 15, 2018 at 2:19 am

    Fantastic! We need more of your sensible rant putting out there for parents to read. These sweets (and many more) you mention are toxic to young developing bodies, kids formative years are the building blocks of life. A life that will be an adult life of pain and misery and cancer’s, as well as diabetes. What happened to a piece of fruit and a glass of milk as a snack? Parent’s need to wake up and realise they are effectively slowly killing their children.

  3. Nicola Hersey on March 14, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Parents may not be able to control the Haribo “stand off” as you call it. But they can control the rest of their child’s diet to make sure it’s a balanced one. Let’s be honest, it’s more about what the children eat at home and how they’re educated by home and school on food than a pack of haribo. Plus lots of kids do not like to have Haribo as it is not Halal. A pack of Haribo in an otherwise controlled and balanced diet is not going to lead to obesity and diabetes. I am part of a huge family and have been teaching and working with children for over 11 years and I do not know anyone who has diabetes. So much scaremongering when the issue should be more about educating parents and children about food and diet on the whole not a pack of Haribo at the school gate.

  4. Chasey Crawford Usher on March 15, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you, Julie, for your a
    straightforward no-nonsense article. At my school, I banned birthday sweets six years ago and fruit juice three years ago. I’ve taken some stick for it but, actually, the only offence that parents can accuse me of is caring too much. Let’s join a wide movement to protect our children’s teeth and health by setting limits and clear boundaries.

    • Julie on April 3, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      That is fantastic!

    • Julie on July 9, 2019 at 11:23 am

      Wouldn’t that be something!!?? I am so glad to hear there are people like you looking after our young kids. Keep up the good work 🙂

      • Julie on March 2, 2020 at 4:39 pm

        Thank you Chasey.

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