Swap sandwiches for sushi and potato chips for popcorn: Dental hygienist reveals the perfect lunchbox combination to prevent tooth decay
- Dental hygienist Tabitha Acret has addressed the role lunchboxes play in decay
- Including too many sugary snacks can cause significant tooth decay over time
- Instead of purchasing flavoured yoghurt she recommends the Greek variety
- And sandwiches should be swapped for sushi and muffins for boiled eggs
Australian dental hygienist Tabitha Acret
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 (WHO) recommends that children eat no more than 25 grams or six teaspoons of sugar per day, but muesli bars, flavoured yoghurts 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.
So where should you start?
SWAP FLAVOURED YOGHURT FOR GREEK YOGHURT WITH FRUIT
Calcium is great for our children and yoghurt is a healthy snack in itself, but unfortunately not all yoghurts are created equal in the sugar department.
‘This “healthy” snack we get our kids can sometimes contain more sugar than soft drink,’ Ms Acret said.
‘Stick to the Greek variety or natural yoghurts and add fresh fruit for flavour rather than buying the artificially flavoured yoghurts.’
Make the swap! Calcium is great for our children and yoghurt is a healthy snack in itself but unfortunately not all yoghurts are created equal in the sugar department
SWAP CUSTARD AND FRUIT CUPS FOR HOMEMADE CHIA PUDDINGS
Flavoured 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 flavouring,’ Tabitha said.
‘This reduces the sugar considerably and provides a nutritious and energetic snack on the healthier side.’
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 (stock image)
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.
Swapping white bread and sugary spreads for homemade sushi rolls is a great way to decrease overall sugar content
Top tips for reducing sugar in your child’s lunchbox:
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that children eat no more than 25 grams or six teaspoons of sugar per day.
Many parents think they’ve packed their child a healthy lunch but a lot of options on the supermarket shelves are high in sugar.
Always look at the nutritional panel on the back of your food. Something labelled ‘healthy’ isn’t always as it seems.
1. Choose natural ingredients and products
Calcium is great for our children and yoghurt is a healthy snack in itself. Unfortunately, not all yoghurts are created equal in the sugar department. This ‘healthy’ snack we get our kids can sometimes contain more sugar than soft drink. Stick to the Greek variety or natural yoghurts, and add fresh fruit for flavour rather than buying the artificially flavoured yoghurts.
2. Ban the muesli bars
Muesli bars are somewhat of a staple in our kids’ school lunchboxes. They are convenient and the advertising and packaging tends to imply they are a healthy alternative.
However, muesli bars can be filled with sugar – sometimes even more than a doughnut! They contain little amounts of fibre and therefore are not filling your little one up for long either.
When picking an appropriate muesli bar, try and keep it under 8 grams.
3. Water always wins
When filling our kids’ drink bottles for school there is plenty of pressure to add a little something extra to the water.
Our supermarkets aisles are filled with flavoured options, giving kids the impression that they are a healthy and acceptable alternative to water.
More often than not these waters are filled with sugar, so I can’t recommend enough that it’s best to stick to fresh water for school.
4. Dread the spread
The fillings on our children’s sandwiches can have a huge impact on their daily sugar consumption. Nutella is on average 58 per cent sugar, jam 60 per cent, and honey a staggering 80 per cent.
Not only are we thinking of the sugar, but the sugar crash, and sustaining their energy levels for longer periods of learning. Stick to your lean meat, cheeses and salads for a far more satisfying feed.
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.’
Snack chips and biscuit packets can have up to 25 grams of sugar per serving
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.’