Pack up or pack it in: Sugar swap guide for lunchbox snacks

Now that Summer has come to an end, it's that time of year when kids are back at school to start a new academic year. Whilst many will be happy showing off their shiny new lunchboxes to their friends it’s also important to consider what’s going inside them and how it can affect their teeth and gums.

The NHS recommends that children between four and six should have no more than 19 grams of sugar and for those aged seven to ten their daily sugar intake shouldn’t surpass 24 grams. It’s also recommended to consume sugar as part of a meal in order to minimise the duration of food acid exposure to teeth.

We’ve scanned the supermarket shelves to figure out which lunchbox snacks can pass our test with flying colours and which ones have earned a detention for their unruly sugar content.

If you recognise some high sugar items in your child’s packed lunch, try swapping them out some low sugar alternatives to help reduce the risk of tooth decay which sugar can contribute to:

Savoury snack
Proper corn sweet & salty (7.6g) vs Babybel or Cheese string (0.01g)  
For a savoury snack try a Babybel or Cheese string which is high in calcium and low in sugar instead of Proper Corn Sweet & Salty which has 7.6g of sugar per bag.

Yeo Valley Little Yeos (7.3g) Munch Bunch (9.4 g) vs Wildlife Choob or Frube (4g)      
For yoghurts a Choob or Frube is a good option over Little Yeos which has 7.3g of sugar and Munch Bunch which has a concerning 9.4g of sugar per pot.

Innocent kids orange pineapple and mango smoothie (17g) vs Water (0g) or Fruit shoot (1.6 g)
For drinks avoid sugary smoothies, Innocent Kids has 17g of sugar which is almost the entire daily limit for children up to six. Water is best as it has no sugar, but for something fruitier Fruit Shoot is a good option with only 1.6g of sugar.

Fruity snack
Kiddylicious Strawberry Fruit Wiggles (8.3g) Bear Fruit Yo Yos (8.4g) vs Hartleys No Added Sugar Jelly (0.1g)   
Although fruit snacks may sound healthy Kiddylicious and Bear Fruit have quite a high sugar content. Hartley No Added Sugar pots are a great option with only 0.1g of sugar.

Sweet snack
Whitworths Raisins (9.3g) vs Soreen Banana Lunchbox Loaves (5.8g)
Raisins are often marketed as a great snack for kids, but they have a surprising amount of sugar. Soreen Lunchbox Loaves are an alternative with only 5.8g of sugar.

Iced gems (11.9g) vs Mini Gingerbread Men (5.8g)
For biscuits, McVities are a common pick but their Mini Gingerbread Men are a better choice for minimising sugar content with only 5.8g of sugar in contrast to Iced Gems which have 11.9g of sugar per bag.

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