The 101 guide to your child’s lunch box


A healthy and nutritious lunch box packed with optimum goodness will help keep your children being alert and focused throughout the day. However, no matter how healthy and nutritious the foods you supply, it will not provide any nutritional value if the lunchbox comes back full at the end of the day!

This is your 101 guide to prepare a healthy, nutritious and delicious lunchbox for your children.

1. Aim to provide foods from the 5 ESSENTIAL food group:
1. Fruits
2. Carbohydrate
3. Meat and meat alternatives
4. Dairy
5. Vegetables

For example your child’s daily meal should look similar to this:

Meal Type Food Group Suggestion
Breakfast Carbohydrate + dairy
Morning Tea Fruit + dairy
Lunch Carbohydrate + meat or alternative + vegetables
Afternoon Tea Carbohydrate + dairy
Dinner Carbohydrate + meat or alternative + vegetables
Supper Dairy + fruit

**Click here for practical lunch box ideas for kids** 

2. A WIDE variety of fruit and vegetables

  • Fresh fruit cut and ready to eat. For younger children, avoid choosing whole fruits which are large and they cannot fit in their hand. Fruit salad is ideal, it is colourful, easy to eat and bursting with nutrients and fibre (IF CUTTING FRUIT MAKE SURE YOU SQUEEZE LEMON TO AVOID BROWNING)
  • Avoid fruits with lots of seeds
  • Freeze fruits in the summer
  • Avoid fruit juices/poppers these are filling and packed with sugar! Stick to the H2O…
  • Vegetables are always harder to sneak into kids diet,  offer cutting raw carrots, cucumbers or capsicum in zip lock bags
  • Add left over sweet potato, pumpkin to sandwiches, rolls or wraps
  • Grate cucumber, snow peas, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, avocados for fillings

3. Go for wholesome starchy foods

  • Choose wholemeal, grainy breads, seedy bread rolls, pita bread, lavash bread or wraps
  • To add variety instead of sandwiches e.g. choose a selection of vegetables and cold meat/cheese and allow your child to build their own sandwich
  • If sandwiches are getting boring, try cold pasta or rice salads with grated vegetables

4.Choose a good source of protein

  • Add lean meats to sandwiches or simply rolls of cold meats as a snack e.g. ham or chicken
  • Tinned tuna or salmon (fresh water or canola oil)
  • Boiled eggs

5. Reduced fat dairy food

  • Choose low fat yoghurts, in the summer freeze the tubes of yoghurt so they are cold by lunch time
  • Add cheese and rice crackers

***General Tips***

  • Get your kids involved with the preparation of creating their lunch box, give them options for different fruits or sandwich fillings
  • Avoid treats in their lunch box
  • Try baking healthy muffins or slices (freeze the baked goods!) avoid processed muesli bars or biscuits if possible
  • Use a bright coloured lunch box
  • Be creative and NOT repetitive!