Pack a healthy future inside your kid’s lunchbox


Bupa Dental dentists are encouraging parents to pack less sugar into their children’s lunchboxes this school year amidst research that suggests around 60 per cent of Australian children are consuming four or more daily servings of food or drinks high in added sugars[1].

This is significantly higher than the Australian Dietary Guidelines[1] which recommend limiting the intake of foods that have added sugars to no more than ½ a serve per day or 0-2.5 serves for adolescents.

Bupa Dental Head Dentist, Dr Cathryn Madden says making healthy lunchbox choices is important at a time when many people’s diet and oral health routines were affected by the challenges of COVID-19.

“Home-schooling, spending time in isolation or dealing with the stresses from COVID can easily lead to more snacking on sugary foods which can quickly become normalised and affect kids teeth in the long-term if not addressed.

“Having a conversation with your child at home or at your friendly local dentists about healthy lunch choices and the importance of good oral health is a great place to start,” said Dr Madden.

Nutritionists suggest balanced lunchboxes include a mix of fruit, vegetables, wholegrain bread and importantly water instead of juices and energy drinks. This will give children plenty of energy and nutrition for their growing bodies and brains.

“At the start of term 1, it’s also a good time to ensure your kids have their 2022 dental check-ups booked in. Don’t wait for a toothache or another issue to make the call… prevention is the best medicine when it comes to your children’s oral health,” said Dr Madden

If the household budget is a concern, the federal government is making kids’ dental check-ups accessible by giving eligible children[2] funding for dental services such as examinations, x-rays, cleaning and fillings through dental providers such as Bupa.

Top lunchbox tips[4]

1.     Buy foods that have been processed as little as possible.

2.     Shop at markets if you can as the food tends to be fresher with fewer additives.

3.     Cut food into interesting shapes or prepare it in a way that is appealing and fun to young eyes.

4.     Where possible, make your own items and reduce the salt and sugar content. Healthy fats, such as those found in avocadoes, are encouraged.

5.     The more natural colours the better: aim for a rainbow of colours over the course of a week.

To find a Bupa Dental practice near you visit here.


[1] https://healthy-kids.com.au/food-nutrition/position-statements/added-sugar-in-food/

[2] https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2021/07/gaping-hole-australian-dental-health-preventable

[3] Your child may be eligible for the CDBS if they are eligible for Medicare or are under 18 years old or if you or your child receive an eligible payment from Services Australia at least once that year.

[4] https://www.bupa.com.au/healthlink/family-and-pregnancy/kids/children-412/nutrition-for-kids/keep-the-kids-happy-with-these-lunchbox-winners