Busy kids need a healthy school lunch to boost their energy and help them concentrate and learn in the afternoon. With our top lunch box tips and a 5-day lunch box meal plan, you’ll find packing a healthy lunch to nourish your kids a breeze!
Ensure you include a range of fresh fruit and vegetables and vary the food daily so kids don’t become bored.
Top tips for a healthy lunch box
• Always include fresh fruit and vegetables. Vary the selection to keep it interesting.
• Offer a variety of whole grain breads, rolls, pita bread and flat breads.
• Use avocado as a spread instead of butter or margarine.
• Use reduced fat dairy foods. Cheese and yoghurt are ideal.
• Kids need a serve of protein at lunchtime. Ensure you include lean meat, egg, peanut butter, chickpeas or tuna.
• Add a chilled bottle of water and limit juice.
Keep it fresh – packing the lunchbox
It’s important to keep food in the lunch box cold to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
Pack the school lunch in an insulated lunch box and include a small freezer brick or freeze a bottle of water and pop it into the lunchbox to keep food cool.
Helpful tips for adding fresh fruit and vegetables to lunch boxes
• Kids like fresh fruit cut and ready to eat. Fruit salad is the ideal lunch box solution; it’s colourful, easy to eat and bursting with vitamins.
• Offer different seasonal fruits each day for a change in flavour, colour and texture.
• Freeze fruits in the summer or for sport days. Simply pop the frozen fruit into a small sealable plastic bag or airtight container.
• If including whole fruit in the lunchbox, select fruit that is a suitable size for a child to easily hold in their hand and eat (this is particulary important for younger children).
• Peel and slice or cut fruit if possible and choose seedless varieties of grapes, watermelon and Imperial mandarins.
• If you’re added tomato to sandwiches, place the tomato between fillings and not directly onto the bread. This prevents the bread becoming soggy.
• When using avocado, mash or drizzle with a little lemon or lime juice to prevent the avocado from discolouring.
• Mild tasting and crunchy lettuce varieties like Iceberg and Oak leaf and Lebanese cucumbers are ideal for kids.
• Add leftover (or cook extra) roast pumpkin or sweet potato to sandwiches, wraps and roll fillings. Naturally sweet and loaded with beneficial antioxidants, roast vegetables team well with a range of fillings.
• Make salads or salad sandwich fillings interesting by using a range of vegetables like grated carrot, snow pea sprouts, lettuce or rocket or baby spinach, sliced celery, tomatoes, avocado and cucumber.
• Use a vegetable peeler to slice cucumber into thin ribbons for sandwich fillings.
Fresh for Kids have created a 5 Day Healthy Lunch Box Meal Plan and a Quick, Recess, Lunch and Snack Recipe Booklet which are free to download to give parents some fun and healthy ideas for their children’s school lunch boxes.