Sacher lunchbox

10 Simple Swaps for a Healthier Lunchbox

In The Wholesome Child, leading pediatric nutritionist Mandy Sacher provides creative and effective strategies and recipes designed to get even the fussiest of eaters to try new, whole foods. Mandy knows that the road to healthy eating doesn’t happen overnight with young children, but that small changes can make a massive difference to the health and well-being of a family.

As filmmaker Damon Gameau demonstrated in That Sugar Film, some kids’ lunch boxes can contain up to 40 teaspoons of sugar in the form of ’healthy’ foods, such as organic apple and blackcurrant juice, sesame snaps, fruit bars, organic sultanas, a muffin bar, fruity bites, a fruit jelly pack and a jam sandwich.

Here are 10 simple and easy swaps that will help you slash your child’s daily sugar intake. The benefits are HUGE: your child will have better concentration at school, more stable moods after school (less whining, tantrums and tears!) and will go to sleep more easily at night as a result.


A small pack of sultanas contains five teaspoons of added sugar. Five to six (cut) grapes contain only 1 teaspoon of intrinsic sugars by comparison.

Sweet popcorn

Plain or lightly salted popcorn.

Squeezie yoghurt

Reusable pouches or other small, reusable containers filled with natural yoghurt sweetened with a teaspoon of maple syrup or honey. Most squeezie
yoghurts contain around three teaspoons of sugar.

Chocolate milk

Half chocolate milk, half plain milk.

Fruit Juice

Diluted fruit juice: One quarter fruit juice and three quarters water.

Sports drinks

Flavoured coconut water. Gatorade has nine teaspoons of sugar while flavoured coconut water contains just 1-2 teaspoons (you ultimately want
your child to drink water instead of milk, fruit juice or sports drinks).

Jam or honey sandwich

Raw honey mixed with school-friendly sunflower butter or tahini which has a higher protein content than most nut butters.

Granola bars, muesli bars

Homemade versions are easy to make and contain much less sugar than commercially-made bars.

The Wholesome Child

This is an edited extract from The Wholesome Child by Mandy Sacher, available from for $39.99 and in stores nationally.







Guest Contributor