You want to make sure that your kids are fuelled with foods that will provide sustained energy and adequate nutrients for growth and development. Despite your best intentions, inspiration for nutritious lunch box items is beginning to dwindle or the food that you have prepared is returning home.  

So what makes a healthy lunchbox? Here are some of the basics it should include:

  • Fruit and vegetables for fibre, vitamins and minerals

  • Low GI (glycaemic index) carbohydrates for sustained energy 

  • Protein to provide nutrients, support muscle growth and help to keep tummies full 

  • Plus a water bottle to keep hydrated (add ice so it stays cool) and something frozen for food safety 

How can you achieve it?

  • If you are introducing a new food, pair it with a familiar food. For example, if you are switching from white to multigrain bread, make sure the filling is one they love. Always include a safe food in the lunchbox, something that you know they will eat. 

  • If food is returning home try to find out why and don’t assume that your child dislikes it. Maybe they are anxious and need some help with self-confidence or are busy playing and would benefit from encouragement to make time for eating.  

  • It is best not to pack treats everyday, but don’t exclude them completely. Restriction can lead to children swapping food or going to the canteen. If you are selecting the treat you can keep the portion size in check and choose something that also provides nutrition. 

  • Get your kids involved with preparing meals at home and make it fun to increase their interest in food. 

To finish with, here are some quick, nutritious and delicious lunchbox options:

  • A wholegrain sandwich or wrap with a filling such as chicken and lettuce, ham and tomato or vegemite and cheese. Children will often prefer something with only a few fillings. 

  • Pasta or rice with tuna and cheese or a pizza made on flatbread topped with meat and roast vegetables. 

  • Snacks: yoghurt, fresh fruit, carrot sticks, celery sticks or wholegrain crackers with dip or homemade muffins and cakes with added fruit or vegetables (think blueberry muffins or carrot and zucchini cake).  

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