Pack a kids lunchbox for under $3.50 (AND save them 22 teaspoons of sugar!)

By Rachel O'Regan |

I Quit Sugar – Pack a kids lunchbox for under $3.50 (AND save them 22 teaspoons of sugar!)

School’s back! Time to fill our kids with nourishing goodness to inspire their minds and energise their bodies.

But wait… the “back-to-school” promotions emblazoning every supermarket are advertising something very different. Sugar snack bars, potato chip multipacks, sweetened juice poppers… um?

While we can see how the colourful packaging and two-fer deals could be enticing, packing a healthy lunch isn’t as tricky or expensive as it seems. Let us prove it to you!


You could buy…

One Tip Top Hamburger Roll ($0.92), Praise Traditional 99% Fat-Free Mayonnaise ($0.18 per serve), a Kraft Singles 97% Fat Free Cheese Slices ($0.38 per slice), Primo Honey Leg Ham ($1.82 per serve) and iceberg lettuce ($0.10 per serve).

That comes to a total of $3.40 per sandwich. And, 2.7 teaspoons of sugar!


Make a healthy pita pocket ($0.30) with no-brand hummus ($0.10), half a grated carrot ($0.21), a quarter of a grated beetroot ($0.37) and half a sliced cucumber ($0.38).

Your homemade sarnie is just $1.36 and has no added nasties.


You could buy…

Golden Days Apricot Bites. One lunchbox-sized 40g pack costs $0.90.

This “snack” also contains sugar, corn glucose syrup, vegetable oil and preservatives. With just 50 per cent apricot content, one pack totals 5.9 teaspoons of sugar.


An actual apricot costs $0.90. You won’t save money on this one but it’s much healthier!


You could buy…

Gippsland Twist Boysenberry Yoghurt for $2.85 per 160g single-serve tub.

It also contains 6.7 teaspoons of sugar! (Note: Yoghurt naturally contains 4.7g of lactose per 100g, but it’s hard to separate from added sugar with the current labelling system!)


Grab a 1kg tub of no-brand Greek full-fat yoghurt, which will give you around 10 servings ($0.42 each). Add a tablespoon of frozen raspberries ($0.16) and seal in a jar. This will also help keep it cold till lunch! Delicious and it only cost $0.58.


You could buy…

Red Rock Deli Honey Soy Chicken Deli Style Potato Chips. In their 90g bag, one serve would cost you $0.91.

Plus, these chippies have a lot of ingredients we prefer to stay away from, like sunflower oil, sugar, glucose powder and honey powder. All coming to 0.4 teaspoons of sugar.


Make your own Sweet Potato Crisps! If you get a 500g sweet potato and split the chips into four kid-sized serves, it’ll work out to $0.25 a lunch.


You could buy…

Goulburn Valley Orange Juice 350ml for $2.89.

It’s no surprise that this concentrated hit of fruit racks up 6.5 teaspoons of sugar!


Pack a reusable bottle of tap water. It costs nothing and they can refill it at school! If they’re really fussy, infuse the water with more frozen berries – again, it will keep it cool.

And the results are in!

By our calculations, a mostly store-bought packed lunch full of processed foods could cost you $11.05 a day. That’s $55.25 a week. Or roughly $221 a month!

A healthy, homemade lunch on the other hand, can cost as little as $3.09 a day. That’s $15.45 a week, or $61.80 a month. Total savings per month: around $159.20!

Most importantly, our healthy lunchbox has no sugar (not counting the natural stuff from whole fruit and dairy).

The junky lunch has 22.2 teaspoons of sugar! That’s around 444 teaspoons of sugar going into little kids’ lunches each month.

Blimey! You know which one we’ll be choosing.

Note: We went to the local supermarket to check out the prices and sugar content of these products – to the best of our knowledge, they are correct at the time of publishing. Prices may vary.

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