Opinion: I'm tired of seeing parents shamed for not being able to afford 'good food' 4 weeks ago

Opinion: I'm tired of seeing parents shamed for not being able to afford 'good food'

Even in modern day Ireland, poverty is still very real.

Many families are finding themselves homeless and living in emergency accommodation, while those who can afford a roof over their heads can afford little else and are eating out of food banks.

Financial struggles affect the lives of thousands of families across the country, which is why I can't understand why some feel it's ok to 'food-shame' other parents.

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It's easy to put the eating of meals of low nutritional value down to lazy parenting, but the reality could not be further from laziness.

Many parents work long hours to make ends meet and after the rent and bills are paid there is very little money left for groceries. This means buying cheap, buying in bulk and buying food that will last for a long time. Unfortunately, this sometimes means buying food that isn't very good for us or our children.

At one point a few years ago I found myself with only €10 a week to spend on groceries, after I had paid for everything else. Another family I know were so overstretched when their children were young that after paying rent and bills, the only food they could buy were milk, bread, cheese and cornflakes meaning they either ate sandwiches or cereal for dinner.

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These are not solitary cases, as many families across Ireland have to deal with the same struggles every day.

While there certainly are cases of parents giving in to their children and allowing them to eat heavily processed food out of laziness, for many more it's simply a case of processed food being cheaper.

Ireland is not alone with this problem with parents in the UK and US saying that they can not afford to buy fresh fruit, veg and meat as it is too expensive.

All children should be able to access nutritional meals and more needs to be done to make healthy food easily accessible to all families.