Back to school means back to shopping for school lunches.
Not everyone has the time or the skills to whip up homemade muffins week after week, but you don’t have to be a whizz in the kitchen to ensure your kids are eating healthily at lunch time.
These quick and easy #sugarswap ideas are easy to work into your shopping routine. If you can make only these changes, do it. It’s simple, easy, and protects your kids health for the long term.
As an added bonus, you’ll save money because all the healthier options are also cheaper. And if that’s not enough, you’ll be cutting down on environment-destroying packaging too. Not bad for a 5 second effort.
Sugarswap #1: Water not juice
Some juice brands contain up to 30.6 grams of sugar in a single 250ml serve – that’s over 7 teaspoons of sugar and more sugar than some soft drinks!
Investing in a decent refillable waterbottle will save you money and really lower sugar consumption for your kids. Over a year, both will really add up.
Sugarswap #2: Real fruit not ‘fruit leather’
Most dried fruit products are packed with sugar. Sticky parts stick in kids’ teeth, increasing the likelihood of the dreaded dental caries (you might know them as ‘holes’ – ouch!). It’s also possible to eat much more of the dried products because the water provided some bulk, signalling to tiny tummies that it’s time to stop.
Swapping fruit leather products like Roll Ups for an apple or a mandarin also means kids get valuable fibre, minerals and vitamins.
Sugarswap #3: Popcorn not chips
Packets of chips or crisps are high in sugar, salt, and artificial ingredients. Worse still, they don’t fill kids up, leaving them craving more as soon as the packet is empty.
For a much healthier snack, make some homemade popcorn and send it along in a reusable container (OK, there is a bit of preparation time involved with this one, but it’s super simple). If you want the easier option (but with more waste, expense and possible additives), you can buy pre-made snack size packs of popcorn in the supermarket.
Sugarswap #4: Real fruit not fruit cups
The packets look so cute and portable, and get around the messiness of fruit like oranges – but these ‘fruit in syrup’ products are terrible for sugar consumption.
Once again, a real apple, mandarin or banana is far preferable. Or some carrot sticks add some sweetness to a lunch box while also adding to your child's 5 a day for vegetables. If you’re feeling inspired, you could even re-create the ‘fruit cup’ idea in a healthier way, by chopping some yummy fruit up into in a reusable container. Strawberries, pineapple, mango, watermelon or grapes all work well.