School is back which means the daily routine of preparing the school lunchbox begins. It’s important that children eat a variety of foods from all food groups daily and allowing them to eat to their own appetite. It is normal for children’s appetites to vary from day to day. We have put together some practical ideas on how to put together a healthy lunchbox that will ensure it comes home empty!
- Keep serves small. Plan for a nourishing breakfast and after-school snack if your child does not get through much lunch.
- Ensure foods can be opened and eaten easily
- Don’t worry if your child wants the same thing day after day as long as they are choosing from nourishing ‘everyday’ foods
- Encourage your child to be involved in their own lunch preparation. Give them some great choices within food groups e.g. ‘Do you want grapes or blueberries?’
- ‘Sometimes’ foods (cakes, biscuits, lollies, chocolate, chips, pastries) should only be offered to children as an occasional family treat, not in the lunch box
- Limit foods and drinks high in sugar (particularly added sugar) to help prevent damage to teeth
- Crackers, rice cakes or corn cakes
- Fruit or plain scones
- Zucchini muffins
- Fresh fruit- whole e.g. apples, bananas, strawberries, mandarins, or in container e.g. oranges, melon, kiwi, fruit, mango
- Crunchy vegetables e.g. carrots, celery, capsicum, cucumber, green beans, corn, cherry tomatoes
- Cold roasted vegetables e.g. potato, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, zucchini
- Plain yoghurt (not flavoured and not pouches)
- Air popped popcorn
- Cubes or slices of cheese on wholegrain dry biscuits
- Homemade muesli slice
- Hummus dip with veggie sticks
- Include a small serve of protein (cold meat, chicken, tuna, salmon, sardines, eggs, tofu, baked beans, chick peas, lentils, 4 bean mix or other canned beans)
- Add some cooked or salad vegies according to your child’s likes and dislikes
- Sandwich/wrap/roll (filled with lean meat/chicken/tuna/egg & salad such as grated carrot & shredded lettuce. Pack cherry tomatoes or baby cucumber on the side
- Pizza with vegies e.g. canned corn, baby spinach, sweet potato & cheese on top
- Fried rice/ couscous with a protein food plus chopped or grated vegies
- Quiche (spinach and cheese pie/zucchini slice)
- Rice or pasta salads with a protein food (meat, chicken, tuna, eggs or legumes) and salad vegies
- Rice dishes, such as rice paper rolls, fried rice (with pork, chicken or seafood), vegetarian fried rice with egg or brown rice and vegetable bake
- Pasta and noodle dishes with a protein food and vegies
- English muffins (try toasted, cut into fingers and served with hummus or as a pizza base with grilled tomato and cheese on top)
Always provide fresh water for children to drink, it’s the best alternative.
For some great healthy recipe ideas visit –
Where to find support
If you have any concerns with your child’s eating, our Dietetics service for children may be able to assist. For more information and to make an appointment please call 9430 9100.