A dental hygienist has shared the five school lunchbox snacks she would swap out to avoid your child getting tooth decay from too much sugar. The World Health Organisation recommends that children eat no more than 25 grams or six teaspoons of sugar per day, but muesli bars, flavored yogurts, and muffins can contain more than double the amount suggested.
AIRFLOW Dental Spa’s Tabitha Acret said it’s easiest to prep healthy lunchbox meals and snacks on the weekend so you’re not overcome with stress come Monday morning.
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SWAP FLAVOURED YOGHURT FOR GREEK YOGHURT WITH FRUIT
Calcium is great for our children and yogurt is a healthy snack in itself, but unfortunately, not all yogurts are created equal in the sugar department. ‘This “healthy” snack we get our kids can sometimes contain more sugar than a soft drink,’ Ms. Acret said.
‘Stick to the Greek variety or natural yogurts and add fresh fruit for flavor rather than buying the artificially flavored yogurts.’
SWAP CUSTARD AND FRUIT CUPS FOR HOMEMADE CHIA PUDDINGS
Flavored custards and fruit cups both contain added sugar with approximately 15 grams per serving. ‘A great swap would be homemade chia puddings with vanilla for flavoring,’ Tabitha said. ‘This reduces the sugar considerably and provides a nutritious and energetic snack on the healthier side.’
SWAP SANDWICHES FOR SUSHI
Swapping white bread and sugary spreads for homemade sushi rolls is a great way to decrease overall sugar content. ‘The process of making sushi rolls is fun for the kids to get involved and provides a tasty lunch alternative,’ she said. Seaweed is also the best dietary source of iodine, which helps support your thyroid gland.
SWAP POTATO CHIPS FOR POPCORN
Snack chips and biscuit packets can have up to 25 grams of sugar per serving. ‘You may or may not be surprised to learn, this is more than a can of Coke! I can’t imagine many parents putting a can of Coke in their five-year-old’s lunchbox,’ Tabitha said.
‘However many parents pack snack-sized packets of chips and biscuits, simply because they are not aware of the added sugar content. ‘A great swap is homemade air-popped popcorn – fun and tasty.’
SWAP MUFFINS FOR BOILED EGGS
The average store-bought blueberry muffin contains 36 grams of sugar, which is 11 grams more than the total recommended daily intake for children. ‘Muffins are often advertised as a healthy snack but to be honest, they are simply a cake in an oversized cupcake tin,’ she said. ‘Hard-boiled eggs, for example, are a great healthy snack for kids – added protein and omega 3, minus the sugar.’