Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge

Sweet Food for Thought

I’ve recently watched the documentary Fed Up. I rented the movie knowing that it deals with increasing child obesity, sugar addiction and how bad processed foods are for us in general. As these topics concern Yumbox mission of promoting healthy eating habits a lot, I was already well informed about the subject matter. Still, I walked away from the movie thinking… is my family eating too much sugar as well?

I am a working mom, who also likes to cook. I’m alert to what and how much we consume on a daily basis. Yet, I realized that sugar intake is sometimes hard to visualize today. Fruit juice has it, so does pasta and white rice and the ketchup that your kids like to use. And it all adds up!

US studies found that an average person’s daily sugar intake was around 19 teaspoons, whereas the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that the maximum amount should be 9 teaspoons for men and 6 for women (2008 study). Children under 10 should consume less than 4 teaspoons per day. But AHA studies show that children as young as 1-3 already surpass the daily recommendations. In fact a typical 8 year old consumes up to 21 teaspoons a day. That is “only” quintuple the recommended amount.

Healthy Packed Lunch for young children

Why is High Sugar Diet bad for you?

High sugar diet will not only increase your family’s weight, it has been also associated with obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, tooth decay, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and many other medical conditions. For those reasons alone, I think we should make an effort to reduce sugar in our daily diet.

Ways to Reduce sugar in your family’s diet

Sugar is not something that can be plausibly removed entirely from the diet, but should be consumed in moderation because it is a source of empty calories. There are many ways to reduce your family’s sugar intake - small changes that might take a bit of taste adjustment, but will probably become a norm once your family adjusts to the sugar smart way of eating. Here is a list of common sugar culprits and suggestions on how to replace them with the healthier alternatives:

Alicia with Yumbox Lunch Box
  1. Soda: A can of Coke alone is equal to over nine teaspoons of sugar. So you definitely do not want to make this into a daily habit. Ideal substitution is water, water with a slice of lemon or even herbal iced tea without any added sugar.
  2. Juice: This was a surprise for me. You think you’re being healthy by drinking juice, but actually juice itself is almost as bad as soft drinks. Juice lacks the fiber of whole fruit and is therefore quickly transformed into sugar. Follow the same substitution as with soft drinks, or dilute 100% pure juice with water.
  3. White Rice or Pasta: Here we have a real hidden culprit. When you see rice or pasta you don’t really think SUGAR. Yet, as per Alissa Rumsey, R.D., a nutritionist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, in New York City: "White rice is digested much faster and converted into sugar in your blood much quicker, so your body puts out a lot more insulin in response to white rice. Whole grains like brown rice are broken down into glucose a lot slower." Ideal and very tasty substitution here is brown rice or whole grains like quinoa or bulgur. For pasta opt for the whole grain version. And please do not buy sugar and preservative loaded pre-made spaghetti sauces. It’s just as easy to make your own, like in this Annabel Karmel Quick Tomato Sauce recipe.
  4. Canned Fruit: It might sound like a healthy option, but canned fruit often has added syrup packed with sugar. Ideal substitution is fresh fruit. Or purchase canned fruit in natural juice.
  5. Flavored Yogurt: Kids like them because they are sweet. And their sweetness is often produced by scary sounding ingredients. It’s fine to offer your children a sweetened yogurt, but make it sweet yourself by adding a teaspoon of honey, fresh fruit or even a sprinkle of sugar, that way you know exactly how much sugar has been added.
  6. Cereal bars and granola: Recent research shows that most cereal bars are rich in fat and sugar and have more calories per 100g than a bar of chocolate, averaging between 2 to 4 teaspoons of sugar per bar. We’re so careful about not giving our children candies and chocolates, yet granola bars somehow get the healthy pass. Instead, how about preparing a little bag of flavored popcorn like in this recipe shared with us by the Lunchbox Doctor?
  7. Condiments, like ketchup and BBQ sauce: My kids love ketchup. There seems to be nothing wrong with it. In fact, some countries even classified it as a vegetable by the school lunch standards! Yet, ketchup is loaded with sugar. Imagine a quarter of your ketchup bottle being just sugar. BBQ sauce is even worse. Like everything in life, don’t deny your children the ketchup pleasures, but teach them moderation. And even better, follow this Home Made Sugar Free Ketchup recipe and make your own!
  8. Low fat products: There is so much written about the subject, so we won’t even discuss it further beyond - don’t buy low fat products for your kids. They are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Children need good fat. Focus on serving the right portion sizes and creating a balanced diet and there is no need for special low fat products in your family’s diet. Good substitution is full fat products, but in smaller portion sizes.

We can inspire each other to eat less sugar on a daily basis! Yumbox has teamed up with the Lunchbox Doctor, Jenny Tschiesche, to host a Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge (#YumboxSugarSmart). We know that cutting out sugar completely is not very appealing or a reasonable thing to expect. But we also believe that we should inspire each other to cut down our consumption. The Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge has been created to support each other in our efforts to pack healthier lunches and snacks.

Yumbox Sugar Smart Contest Guidelines

  1. Pack 5 healthy low-sugar lunches or snacks in a Yumbox;

  2. Post 5 photos of those healthy lunches or snacks on your website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest page and tag #YumboxSugarSmart for each entry;

  3. Optional: tag Yumbox and LunchboxDoctor on all your posts;

  4. Describe the contents of your healthy lunch for each photo and what swaps you’ve made to ensure that you are decreasing your sugar intake.


How to Enter

Leave a comment on this blog letting us know your username and where your photos can be found. Only publicly available photos are eligible.

Example: I'm Sarah Smart and I'm taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram user name Sarahsmartmom


The contest is open to US residents only. Meals must be packed in a Yumbox. Contests runs from September 22nd to October 10th. Only photos tagged #YumboxSugarSmart during this period will be eligible. The Lunchbox Doctor will select a winner from all the entries on October 13th. Winner receives a free Yumbox and a $100 Visa Card. Good Luck!

Yumbox affliates are encouraged to take the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge but are not eligible for prizes.

Sugar Smart Challenge Winner!!!! Chosen by the Lunchbox Doctor Jenny Tschiesche

@healthylucyo Winner

"I have had a look at all the entries. What a great competition! I have struggled to find one outright winner. However, I know I have to. I have decided that the winner is @healthylucyo

This particular winner has been very consistent in keeping the Yumboxes loaded with a variety of nutrients and flavours. I would particularly like to highlight the two boxes from 7 days ago. The winner has packed a home-made pumpkin bread cake and popcorn, providing energy, some lean chicken for protein which helps with concentration, broccoli which is not only a source of immune-boosting nutrients but also calcium which people often think has to be provided by dairy products. The grapes give a little extra sweetness. Great flavour combinations are not lost in the bid to make these lunchboxes sugar free either. Congratulations @healthylucyo!"

32 Responses to Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge

  1. Avatar
    Lavenia Moran September 22, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    Hi my name is Lavenia Moran and I would like to join the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge! Please follow me on Instagram, my username is vee09

  2. Avatar
    Jess Begs September 22, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    Greetings! My name is Jess and our family is taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge! You can follow me on Facebook at



  3. Avatar
    Tai Tipton September 22, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    Hi there! My name is Tai Tipton, my family and I love our yumboxes!! I have a blog, eatliveinspire.tumblr.com dedicated to healthful living, inspiring others as my family dove into plant-based eating because I was Fed UP! Still fed up and still making wonderful changes! I posted around 3 or 4 weeks ago a great yumbox lunch I made for my 2nd grader Son via Instagram! This is a typical lunch for him and I will def start to post much more as I pack his lunches daily! Thank you for your consideration!

    Love, Peace & Good Eats,

    Tai Tipton

  4. Avatar
    Janice Collins September 22, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    I’m Janice Quek-Collins and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Follow me on Facebook, user name janice.quekcollins.

  5. Avatar
    Kellie Hogg September 22, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    I’m Kellie Hogg and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Follow me on Instagram user name skhogg

    (Excited to be more deliberate about sugar intake)

  6. Avatar
    Lisa McClintock September 23, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    Hi, I’m Lisa McClintock and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Follow me on Pinterest (lcmcclintock) and Instagram (mcclintocklisa).

  7. Avatar
    Karina Leal September 23, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    Hi! My name is Karina and I am taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart challenge! Follow me on Instagram (KNKATZ).

  8. Avatar
    Misty Simon September 23, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    Hi, my name is Misty Simon and I am taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart challenge. Follow me on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/misty.s.simon.

  9. Avatar
    amy bidlingmaier September 23, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    Hi, I’m Amy Bidlingmaier and I am currently taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart challenge. You can find me on https://www.facebook.com/groups/462358290494169/

  10. Avatar
    Debbie Mora September 23, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    hi my name is Debbie and I would like to take the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Please follow me ” busyusmcfam ” on Instagram. I love making healthy lunches for my littles.

  11. Avatar
    Shannon September 23, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    Hi!!!! I’m Shannon Lloyd and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Follow me on Facebook @ Living Healthy With The Lloyds

  12. Avatar
    Jacqueline Jackson September 23, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Hi there! We too watched Fed Up! when it came out in the theater and then my husband and I took a 30 day no sugar challenge. It is amazing all the secret places you find sugar where you don’t think it should be.
    I’ll gladly take the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Find me on Instagram @ akfritz1 Thanks!

    • Maia
      Maia September 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      Wow – how did the 30 day no sugar challenge go? That sounds really difficult!

      • Avatar
        Jacqueline Jackson September 25, 2014 at 10:16 am #

        It was challenging! The biggest eye opener was discovering just how many places you find added sugar. It’s everywhere!

  13. Avatar
    Yesenia Benavidez September 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    I’m Yesenia Benavidez and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Follow me on Facebook (Yesenia Benavidez) Instagram (yesibee) and on Pintrest (yben07).

  14. Avatar
    Priya Subramanian September 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    Hi my name is Priya Subramanian and I would like to join the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge! Please follow me on Pinterest my username is http://www.pinterest.com/Priya17/.


  15. Avatar
    Priya Subramanian September 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm #


    My name is Priya and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Follow me on Pinterest.



  16. Avatar
    Crystal Rodner September 23, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    Hi, my name is crystal Rodner and I would love to join this challenge! You can find me on Instagram at packedwithloveandveggies

  17. Avatar
    Briana J September 24, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    Hi, I’m Briana and you can follow me on Instagram via @thesowhatmom to see pictures of the Yumboxes I pack for my two boys age 3 & 5, although I generally only photo one box if they’re the same. My husband and I are currently 10 days into Whole30 which omits all sugars (and dairy, soy, grains, legumes, preservatives, etc) other than fruit, so sugars are off the menu for awhile. We’re pretty low sugar generally, but the boys’ school requests that we omit sweets and treats from packed lunches. Raisins and dried fruit are their treat. :-P. And hmmm, maybe I’ll start cross-posting some of their boxes on Pinterest.com/sowhatmom and Facebook.com/sowhatmom…

  18. Avatar
    Jenny Orozco September 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    Hi, my name is Jenny. I would love to join the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge.
    You can follow me on Instagram at jennoro


  19. Avatar
    Nicole Heinen September 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    I am Nicole heinen and me and my son Liam accept the #sugarsmartchallange you can find me on http://instagram.com/andkissmedeadly

  20. Avatar
    Shannon September 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    Hi! I’m Shannon and I would love to join the challenge! You can find me on Instagram at http://instagram.com/bunchesolunches and on my blog at bunchesolunches.com. Thank you again!

  21. Avatar
    Cristy September 25, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    I would love to join the challenge! I posted my 5 pics on Instagram. http://Instagram.com/ckumfer

  22. Avatar
    Amanda Mason September 26, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    I want to join the Yumbox challenge! You can see my photos on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.mason.102361

  23. Avatar
    Silvia Bohorquez September 30, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    I’m Silvia Bohorquez and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. You can find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/scbohorquez . Thank you.

  24. Avatar
    Kathy Curry September 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    Hi, I’m Kathy Curry and I’m going to take the Yumbox Sugar Smart challenge. You will find me on Instagram @ Kcurry71

    Can’t wait to see everyone’s great food photos.

  25. Avatar
    Shinay September 30, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    I’m Shinay and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Follow me on Facebook username ShinayH


  26. Avatar
    Lucia October 2, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    I’m Lucia Ortega and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge.
    Follow me on Instagram user name @healthylucyo

  27. Avatar
    Kelly K October 9, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

    Hi! My name is Kelly K. We love our yumboxes in this family. I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. Follow me on IG @naturallynourishedkid and visit me at http://www.naturallynourishedkid.com. Thanks and great article! We recently just had all the family sit down to watch Fed Up together. What an illuminating documentary.

  28. Avatar
    ashley October 10, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    I’m Ashley and I’m taking the Yumbox Sugar Smart Challenge. It really has made me think of the all the hidden sugars my family eats. These lunches are not perfect, but we’re working on it. 🙂
    Follow me on Pinterest, I believe my user name is Ashley Velez. (I only use my email to login) (direct link to the board where I posted photos below)


    (evidently I posted 6, I hope that’s ok)

    Thank you!

  29. Avatar
    Misty Simon October 26, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    So, who won?

    • Maia
      Maia October 26, 2014 at 8:45 am #

      The winner was announced at the end of the blog entry!

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