What is SWAP IT?
SWAP IT is a free evidence-based healthy lunchbox program. The program supports parents and carers to SWAP what is packed in their child’s lunchbox from sometimes foods to everyday foods.
- Free – no cost for schools to take part.
- Easy for Parents – visual inspiration to make lunchboxes faster and healthier with no extra cost.
- Easy for Schools – our resources complement the existing curriculum.
- Proven to work – SWAP IT enhances the nutritional quality of lunchbox foods, parents love it and teachers see tangible benefits in the classroom.
The SWAP IT recommendations have been developed based on the latest evidence-based government nutrition guidelines. For more information, click here.
Why is SWAP IT Important?
DID YOU KNOW?
85% of school children take a packed lunch to school every day with an average of more than three servings of sometimes foods(1).
The food children consume at school impacts their concentration, health and wellbeing – now and into the future. With the school lunchbox containing approximately one third of a child's daily energy intake, there is a great opportunity to reduce the risk factors for chronic ill health, later in life, by improving food consumed at school.
The school lunchbox contains approximately one third of a child’s daily energy intake – a significant opportunity to improve nutrition and health outcomes(2).
By improving lunchboxes, we can make a huge difference to a child’s daily food intake. Everyday foods help kids to grow and learn and by swapping a sometimes food for an everyday food we are setting children up for the best possible physical, mental and behavioural performance at school and at home.
A Big Opportunity to Improve Children’s Nutrition
In Australia, between 22 and 29% of primary school-aged children are classified as overweight or obese(3). Poor nutrition (particularly excessive intake of foods high in energy (kilojoules), saturated fat, sugar and salt [or sometimes foods]) is recognised as a significant contributor to excess weight, and is a risk factor for future chronic ill health.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sometimes foods currently contribute 40% of children’s total kilojoule intake.
Aussie kids aged 9-11 years consume 3 time the recommended amount of sometimes foods (4).
Australian healthy eating guidelines advise limiting discretionary or sometimes foods (foods with little nutritional value, usually high in added fat, salt and sugar). However, research shows that these sometimes foods currently contribute 40% of children’s total kilojoule intake (1, 4). The most recent dietary survey shows that Australian children aged 4-8 years consume around ten times more sometimes foods than recommended, with children aged 9-11 years consuming three times the recommended amount.
By improving children’s lunchboxes, we can make a huge difference to a child’s daily food intake, providing them with the best possible opportunity to grow and learn.
What’s Involved in the SWAP IT Program?
- Brief messages to your parent community to provide handy tips and ideas for packing a healthy lunchbox. The SWAP IT messages are delivered weekly for the first term (11 messages), followed by 2 messages per term on an ongoing basis. Messages are sent directly to your parent community via your schools preferred communication method.
- Free resources for parents to help identify foods that could be “swapped-out” while also providing practical easy ideas for healthier swaps.
- Unlimited online access to other fantastic SWAP IT resources including school lunchbox guidelines, classroom activities, curriculum resources, short staff training videos and more!
Best of all, we do most of the work for you!
“Our goal is to make this as easy for schools as possible – SWAP IT is designed to be ready to pick up and run with, to save schools time” Dr Rachel Sutherland, SWAP IT program director
How can the SWAP IT messages be delivered?
There are a few options to deliver the SWAP IT program in your school.
Via the SkoolBag App
SkoolBag is a school communications messaging system that delivers information to parents via a phone application. This is an easy way to automatically deliver SWAP IT messages to your school community. For more information on SkoolBag click here or for information on how to download the app click here.
Via your School Newsletters or other Parent Communication Channel
Simply copy and paste the SWAP IT messages into your regular school newsletters or preferred parent communication channel. The messages and a checklist will be automatically sent to your school once registered, or you can download the messages here (once registered).
- Brief messages direct to you (coming soon), providing handy tips and ideas for packing a healthy lunchbox. The SWAP IT messages are delivered weekly for the first term (11 messages), followed by 2 messages per term on an ongoing basis. Messages are sent to you via your preferred communication method.
- Free resources to help identify foods that could be “swapped- out” while also providing practical easy ideas for healthier swaps. If you are interested, parents can register here.
How can the SWAP IT messages be delivered?
- Via text message or email
- Receive SWAP IT messages direct to your phone or email. The messages will be automatically sent to you once registered.
- Sutherland R, Nathan N, Brown A, Yoong S, Reynolds R, Walton A, et al. A cross-sectional study to determine the energy density and nutritional quality of primary-school children’s lunchboxes. Public Health Nutrition. 2020;23(6):1108-16.
- Sutherland R, Nathan N, Brown A, Yoong S, Finch M, Lecathelinais C, et al. A randomized controlled trial to assess the potential efficacy, feasibility and acceptability of an m-health intervention targeting parents of school aged children to improve the nutritional quality of foods packed in the lunchbox ‘SWAP IT’. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2019;16(1):54.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Overweight and obesity among Australian children and adolescents. In: AIHW, editor. Canberra2020.
- Johnson BJ, Bell LK, Zarnowiecki D, Rangan AM, Golley RK. Contribution of Discretionary Foods and Drinks to Australian Children's Intake of Energy, Saturated Fat, Added Sugars and Salt. Children (Basel). 2017;4(12):104.