Dentist Shares Quick And Easy Sugar Free School Lunch Ideas

  • All Ages

It's back-to-school time, and we know parents have a lot on their plates. So much on their plates that thinking about what to put into the kid's lunchboxes can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. 

I know I'm always tempted to grab something for my son's lunch that's quick and easy (and honestly, usually pre-packaged) to ensure he's fed, and we're out the door, but the hole in my plan could also end up being the holes in my son's teeth. We're talking about hidden sugars.

Did you know tooth decay is the most common chronic illness in children? 

"1 in 4 children aged 6-14 have dental caries in their permanent teeth."

And if you're surprised by that, you may also be shocked to learn that a lunch including dried apricots, a flavoured yogurt, and a fruit juice box delivers more than double the recommended daily amount of sugar. 

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, around 1 in 4 children aged 6-14 have dental caries in their permanent teeth, and approximately 1 in 10 have at least one tooth with untreated decay.

As parents, we want what's best for our children, and we know time is of the essence- and we want to help lighten the mental load of returning to school (and every school morning after that).

With the new school year starting, the Australian Dental Association NSW (ADA NSW) is sharing tips to ensure kids' lunchboxes are healthy and nutritious with these quick and easy lunch ideas.


Yummy, Yummy. 


• Include something from each of the five food groups, including fruit/vegetables/legumes/beans, dairy, grain
(cereal) foods and lean meats, poultry/fish/eggs. E.g., cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs 

• Replace chips, chocolates, muesli bars, and sweet biscuits with items such as fresh fruit, celery and carrot
sticks, and cucumbers.

                    All of these above can be prepped a few nights in advance, meaning they are ready to pack and grab each morning. 

• Pick whole fruit over fruit juice – the vitamins, minerals, and fibre make it more filling and nutritious and reduce the sugar content per serving.

• Pack water as your school drink rather than sports drinks, juice, soft drinks, cordials or flavoured milk, which are high in sugar. If your tap water is fluoridated, even better!

• Look for grain-based snacks with whole grains and high fibre, such as wholegrain bread and crackers.

• Processed snack products such as muesli and breakfast bars, chips, and cookies should be limited to one item and ideally a low-sugar choice, such as rice crackers, popcorn and cheese.

Do you have any other ideas for teeth and time friendly lunchboxes? Let us know in the comments below.

(Main image credit: ADA NSW Vice President Dr Dominic Aouad and his dentist wife Dr Melanie Patney and their two children Leon aged 4 and Rohan aged 6.)

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