A study finds the typical American eats 147 pounds of sugar every year. Iowa parents who are packing their kids’ lunches may not realize how much sugar they’re including in the brown bag. Dr. Ed Schooley, dental director for Delta Dental of Iowa, says a typical kids’ packed lunch contains almost as much sugar as four candy bars. He suggests some alternatives:
Schooley says to use natural peanut butter with no added sugar, jelly with no sugar added, whole wheat bread versus white bread, and skipping the raisins as they’re very high in sugar and stick to the grooves of our back teeth. He suggests swapping the raisins for mini-carrots or some other vegetable or fruit.
Schooley also says good alternatives include yogurt, string cheese, fruit roll-ups or fruit snacks in a pouch, or a bag of almonds. For a treat, he says to replace chocolate or creme-filled cookies with vanilla wafers. As for a cool beverage to wash it all down, he says to forgo chocolate milk in favor of white milk.
Schooley says water is the best drink and to stay away from all sodas as they may contain nine to 12 teaspoons of sugar, in addition to acids which can erode the enamel off teeth. The average candy bar contains 25 grams of sugar. The original lunch outlined above has 98 grams. The revised lunch contains only 31 grams. Schooley says making a few simple changes can lower the sugar count, which is ultimately better for children’s bodies and their oral health.