Skip to content

Healthy Lunches For School

Healthy Lunchbox Tips (620x930)

Starting school or returning to school after the holidays can cause dread for many parents when it comes to packing school lunches. You’re probably a little out of practice after a month off the roster. If you’re completely new to this, perhaps you’re just not sure where to start. Either way, here are 14 tips to keep you going throughout the year. These tips will ensure your kids have healthy lunches for school, day in, day out.

  1. Offer a variety of foods, including foods from each of the food groups – fruits, vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates.
  2. Include foods that are different colours and shapes as this makes the food look more appealing. 
  3. Change the foods you offer. Your child is likely to get bored if they’re given the same foods each day.  School can also be a good place for your child to try new foods.
  4. Limit foods that are high in sugar and salt such as chips, crackers, cake bars and chocolate.  These foods are ok to include in small amounts, sometimes, as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid giving these every day.
  5. Serve foods in an age-appropriate way.  You may need to cut them into smaller pieces for younger children.  Foods such as grapes can be a choking risk for younger children and are best served cut in half.  Your child might like a spoon or fork in their lunch box to help them eat certain foods. Particularly if they don’t like getting their hands messy.
  6. Check if your school is a nut-free school.  You may need to avoid nuts, nut bars and nut spreads in your child’s lunchbox.
  7. Check if your school has “Fruit Break” or “Crunch and Sip”.  If they do, you’ll need to provide your child with either some fresh fruit or vegetables for this time. This can be great to get fruit or vegetables into your child if they don’t enjoy them at home.  They might be more likely to eat them for other adults and among their classmates.  They should also have water to sip at this time.
  8. Remember that younger children do not need to eat as much food as adults, so serve small portions.  Too much food can be overwhelming for your child.  A lot of kids also prefer to play than eat. So, pack small amounts of nutritious foods that they can eat quickly before moving on to play.
  9. If you are serving foods that are best kept cold, use an insulated lunch box with an ice brick inside.
  10. If your child prefers warm foods or is having leftovers, use a thermos to keep the food warm. Don’t forget to pack a fork or spoon for them to use.
  11. You could use a bento-style lunch box so you can serve lots of different foods in each of the sections.  Silicone muffin cases can also be good to use for serving foods.
  12. Try to get your children involved in packing their lunch boxes. This way they’ll have some say in the foods offered. They’ll also know what to expect and learn about different types of foods.
  13. Try to find a time in your day that works for your family to pack lunches.  Getting into a routine helps make packing lunches less of a chore.  This might be in the evening or first thing in the morning.
  14. Water is the best drink.  If your child is not a big water drinker, try providing cold water in an insulated bottle.  You can try flavouring the water with slices of lemon, lime, orange or strawberries or fresh mint.  Avoid sending juices, sugary drinks or flavoured milk to school.

If you need help with improving your child’s diet, Naomi can help with this. She’s an extremely knowledgeable dietitian whose specialty is paediatric dietetics. Click to book or send an enquiry.