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Simple Food Swaps for Healthier Eating

 Swapping foods in lunchboxes

One of the simplest ways to eat healthier is by swapping foods. The following four videos demonstrate how to reduce:

  • added sugar in your child's lunchbox
  • saturated fat at breakfast
  • sodium in your child's lunchbox, and
  • saturated fat in your child's lunchbox.

Supporting Information


All nutrition composition data used in these comparisons is from the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (2014) Australian Food, Supplement and Nutrient Database (AUSNUT) 2011–13 – Australian Food Composition Database. Canberra: FSANZ. Available at (opens new window).

AUSNUT 2011-13 incorporates nutrient data from a range of sources. The data reflects the food supply and food preparation practices during 2011 and 2013. For more information see the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Australian Food Composition Database at (opens new window).

Foodworks® 8 Professional 2016 was used to calculate the nutritional profile of each meal combination.


Food Standards Australian New Zealand 2014. Australian Food, Supplement and Nutrient Database (AUSNUT) 2011–13 – Australian Food Composition Database. Canberra: FSANZ. Available at (opens new window).

Foodworks® 8 Professional 2016, Xyris Software, High Gate Hill, QLD, Australia.


Added Sugars

The term ‘added sugars’ used in these examples was based on the definition of ‘sugars’ in the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) and ‘free sugars’, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2015) i.e.

  • ‘Sugars’ as defined in clause 1 of Standard 1.1.2 of the Code means:

    - hexose monosaccharides and disaccharides, including dextrose, fructose, sucrose and  lactose; or
    - starch hydrolysate; or
    - glucose syrups, maltodextrin and similar products; or
    - products derived at a sugar refinery, including brown sugar and molasses; or
    - icing sugar; or invert sugar; or fruit sugar syrup; derived from any source,
    but does not include:
    - malt or malt extracts; or
    - sorbitol, mannitol, glycerol, xylitol, polydextrose, isomalt, maltitol, maltitol syrup or lactitol.
  • ‘Free sugars’ as defined by the WHO includes monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

The only forms of sugars not included in the term ‘added sugars’ are intrinsic sugars (incorporated in the structure of intact fruit and vegetables) and milk sugars (natural sugars present in milk).

The data used for ‘added sugars’ in these comparisons, was developed after the initial publication of AUSNUT 2011-13. Quantities of added sugars were estimated based on analytical data for total sugars and known ingredients in food products, using recipes where required.

The WHO recommends a maximum 5% of our daily energy from added sugars (any sugars added to food or drinks or present naturally in unsweetened fruit juices, honey or syrups, this does not include natural sugar found in fruits, vegetables and milk) (‘Sugars intake for adults and children guideline’, WHO, 2015)

For more information see:


National Health and Medical Research Council ( set the following Recommended Upper Daily levels (grams of salt) for infants and children:

  • 1-3yrs: 2.5g (1000mg sodium)

  • 4-8yrs: 3.5g (1400mg sodium)

  • 9-13yrs: 5g (2000mg sodium)

  • 14-18yrs: 5.75g (2300mg sodium)

Note: These recommendations are just a practical guide. For optimal health most children actually need much less (from AWASH website )


Saturated Fat

Heart Foundation recommends saturated fat is only 7% of your total energy intake. For more information see (opens new window)