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Sugar swaps for kids

Help your child cut back with great sugar swap ideas and discover easy ways to make a swap when you next shop

Make a sugar swap!

When it comes to cutting down on sugar, even just 1 or 2 everyday swaps can really make a difference to how much sugar your child is eating.

Making a cereal swap at breakfast, popping a lower-sugar yoghurt in their lunchbox, or switching to a slice of malt loaf or a scotch pancake as an after-school snack are just a few of the easy ways to help make a day healthier.

Get help with swaps and tips

Change4Life is here to help your family cut back on sugar, with lots of great tips and ideas, so you can make some simple swaps:

Make a school-day swap!

Illustration of ringing alarm clock, cereal box with the words 'low sugar' and a bowl of cereal

Swap their cereal

Choose from:

  • porridge
  • wheat biscuits
  • 'no added sugar' muesli
  • shredded wholegrain

Fab and fruity

Top lower-sugar cereal or plain natural yoghurt with a handful of their favourite fruit. Try sliced bananas, chopped strawberries or a handful of berries – it's super tasty and counts towards to their 5 A Day!

Swap tip!

Choose cereal that has all greens on the 'traffic light' label.

Low-sugar cereal box with green traffic light labelling


Close breakfast swaps

Illustration of a sandwich, fruit in a lunchbox and a no-added-sugar juice drink pouch

Cut sugar with a swap!

Instead of chocolate, cake bars or pudding pots, pick:

  • a slice of malt loaf
  • a fruited teacake
  • sugar-free jelly
  • fresh or tinned fruit (in juice, not syrup)

Pop in a lower-sugar fromage frais

Make fromage frais pots a new lunchbox fave – they're a healthier choice than split pot yoghurts.

Swap tip!

Look out for the Change4Life 'Good Choice' badge when you're in the supermarket or shopping online.

A round yellow badge with a green Change4Life character giving the thumbs up and 'Good Choice' written across the top


Close lunchbox swaps

Illustration of a selection of fruit and a lower-sugar yoghurt pot. A clock on the wall shows 4 PM

After-school ideas

Fight the 4pm tummy rumbles with:

  • crackers topped with lower-fat cheese 
  • a scotch pancake
  • a crumpet
  • plain rice cakes
  • chopped veg with lower-fat hummus
  • bread or toast with lower-fat spread
  • plain popcorn
  • fresh or tinned fruit

Swap tip!

Switching to a 'no added sugar' juice drink is a brilliant way to cut sugar from your child's diet.


Close snack swaps

Sugar swap ideas

All of these swaps are a great way to cut down on sugar, but always check the label or use the Change4Life Food Scanner to help pick the product with the lowest amount. And remember, the more swaps you make, the more sugar you save!


Cereal swaps Swap from chocolate cereal to shredded wheat cereal with sliced banana
Swap from: Swap to:
frosted flakes wheat biscuit cereal
honey crunch cereal shredded wholegrain cereal
chocolate cereal porridge
  no added sugar muesli
Drink swaps Swap from chocolate milkshake to water with sliced lemon and berries
Swap from: Swap to:
cola water
juice drinks lower-fat milks
milkshakes sugar-free drinks
fizzy drinks no added sugar drinks
Yoghurt swaps Swap from split pot yoghurts to lower-sugar, low-fat yoghurts
Swap from: Swap to:
split pot yoghurts lower-sugar fromage frais pots
higher-sugar yoghurts lower-sugar yoghurts
  plain natural yoghurt
Pudding swaps Swap from chocolate pudding pots to sugar-free rice pudding and sliced fruit
Swap from: Swap to:
cake bars sugar-free jelly
chocolate pudding pots lower-sugar yoghurt
doughnuts fresh or tinned fruit (in juice)
muffins lower-sugar rice pudding
  lower-sugar custard
Snack swaps Swap from cake bars to a slice of malt loaf with slices of banana
Swap from: Swap to:
chocolate bars a slice of malt loaf
biscuits a scotch pancake
doughnuts a crumpet
muffins crackers and lower-fat cheese
other sugary snacks plain rice cakes
  fresh or tinned fruit salad
  chopped veg and lower-fat hummus
  a lower-fat, lower-sugar yoghurt
  sugar-free jelly
  bread or toast

Swap when you shop

Scan the barcode

Use the free Change4Life Food Scanner app to find out what's really in the food you're buying.

Change4Life Good Choice badge

Spot the badge

Look for the Change4Life "Good Choice" badge on products in store and when shopping online to help you find healthier options.

Example of a traffic light label, with values for energy, fat, saturates, sugars and salt on amber, red and green backgrounds

Check the label

Most products have traffic light labels, usually on the front of the pack. Go for more greens and ambers, and cut down on reds.

Change4Life characters holding a "Join us!" banner

Join Change4Life

We're here to help you and your family cut back on sugar. Sign up to Change4Life today for great prizes, easy tips and meal ideas.

Join Change4Life