Monday 1 May

Welcome back to Minus 5 Monday! We are excited to have you and your children on board. What we aim to achieve with our sugar reduction programme is to make a nations children, parents and teachers aware of the amount of sugar in the food that we are consuming and the associated health risks.

You will soon start to see our -5 label appearing on food and beverage items with 5% or less sugar making it easy to identify better options when grocery shopping. Our children are a great place to start, they absorb so much information, but they need your support to start making the right choices regarding their diets.

So let's make a difference, send your children to school on Monday with the best lunch possible and start making a difference! We have got some great information on the subject from our Nutritionist Stacey ( and 3 amazing lunch box options from Geraldine ( all depending on how adventurous your feeling. Don't forget! There will be certificates in every class for the best lunches.

Stacey 's Nutrition Blog

Identifying Added Sugar In Packaged Foods by Label Reading

Today we will tackle label reading. Because when it comes to choosing low sugar packaged products it pays to be a label detective.

There are three main elements when it comes to the labels on packaged goods. The first is front of pack, this is where most of the marketing claims are made. These claims can look impressive but are often not all that helpful. Claims such as “no cane sugar” does not mean that the product does not contain added sugar. The two useful elements are the ingredients list and the nutritional panel.

Nutritional Panel

Sugars are listed under carbohydrate on the nutritional panel. In New Zealand there is no differentiation between inherent sugars, ie sugars that are naturally occurring in the food and added sugars. For example standard milk will have around 4g of sugars listed per 100 ml, this sugar however is not added, it is the naturally occurring lactose found in milk. To determine whether a product contains a significant amount of added sugar it pays to have a scan of the ingredients list 

Ingredients list 

In New Zealand the ingredients must be listed in order by volume/weight. i.e. the first ingredient listed will be present in the product in the largest amount, and the last ingredient will be present in the smallest amount. Typically high sugar products will have sugar in the first three ingredients. But here is the thing. This doesn't necessarily mean that the word ‘sugar’ will actually be listed. There are many ingredients that aren’t called sugar, but are in fact sugar.

Words that mean sugar in an ingredient list

  • Sugar and any of its variants: brown, white, cane, treacle, organic, raw, molasses, coconut sugar, palm sugar
  • Any syrups:  rice, corn, maple, golden, high fructose corn
  • Fruit juices, Fruit Concentrates, Fruit Pastes
  • Words ending in ‘ose’: dextrose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, glucose
  • Words ending in ‘trin:  dextrin, maltodextrin

From my earlier article sugar is sugar is sugar I covered off that there isn’t really a “healthier’ sugar. Therefore if the product you are looking at has any of these words listed in the ingredients list, then it does contain added sugars. Even if the marketing claims on the front of pack would like you to think otherwise.

Currently if you want to identify low sugar products you need to be a label reader and you need to look further than just the claims on the front of the pack. 

The minus 5 program is about simplifying label reading. The goal is to have all products that contain less than 5g of sugar per 100g marked with the minus 5 logo and label.

Minus 5 aims to make identifying the lower sugar packaged products easier without needing to look into the nutritional panel and ingredients list in detail. 

Easy Peasy - Suggestion #1

Low sugar uncle tobys cheerios, Bobby banana , honey dew melon , cucumber, celery  

lettuce wrap - iceberg lettuce, grated carrot, grated cheese, Get real food smugglers - panko crumb smugglers 


Ingredients used in this recipe


Bake the real food smugglers according to directions. You can keep them cooked in the fridge for up to 3 days to make them move convenient. 

Peal your lettuce leaves and layer two together, inside the leaves add grated carrot and grated cheese (and other fillings of your choice). Add your nuggets on top of your fillings and top with a little dressing if you desire. These will need to be kept chilled, use either a insulated lunch bag or ice pack. 

Additional Notes

To make lunch box packing quicker you can always pre-grate and or cut your fillings and have them in the fridge ready to go.

I'm feeling adventurous - Suggestion #2

Apple, Pineapple, carrot, cucumber, Dairy Works cheese and crackers 

Rice paper rolls - Avocado, cream cheese, snow pea sprouts, vermicelli noodles, salmon 


Ingredients used in this recipe


soak rice paper for 30 seconds, lay flat on a damp tea towel. Place fillings in the middle. Roll the sides over, then roll the bottom over top. Roll the entire roll till it is closed. These will need to be kept chilled, use either a insulated lunch bag or ice pack. 

Additional Notes

The filling possibility for rice paper rolls are endless and its also great to add a little dipping sauce with them such as soy or a Thai dressing. Try finding ones that are below 5gms sugar per 100gms. 

I'm am expert - Suggestion #3

Gold kiwi fruit,Blueberries, Green capsicum, Nice and natural salted caramel bar 

Lentil burgers - Lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cheese, lentil pattie


Ingredients used in this recipe


1 cup cooked lentils 
1/2 cup wholemeal bread crumbs or gluten free crumbs 
1/4 finely chopped onion 
1/2 tsp crushed garlic 
1/2 tsp paprika 
1 tbsp chia seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small cup or bowl mix chia seeds with 2.5 tbsp water. Allow to thicken (takes about 3mins). 
Finely dice onion and crush garlic. Add ALL ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend for about 30-60 seconds. Separate mixture into 1/4 or 1/2 cup size and roll into balls. Flatten. Oil a non stick oven dish. Add flattened patties. Bake in a pre heated oven at 200'C for 15 - 20mins, flipping patties half way through. Allow to cool.

Keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge or freeze for up to 6 weeks.

Additional Notes

You can also make these patties tablespoon sized and eat them on their own or put them into wraps or salads. 

Please check with your school before bringing any bar or product containing nuts.