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Packing a healthy school lunch

08 October 2015

Children need to eat a variety of foods every day to be healthy.

Parents can give children a healthy school lunch that tastes great and is good for them too. Many parents say one of the major problems with school lunches is when the children bring them home!

Try to give kids some choice about what they take for lunch, and if possible, get them involved with preparing the ‘healthier’ foods.

Packing nutritious foods in their school lunch box will help kids stay active and help with concentration and learning throughout the day. Foods such as red meat, wholegrain foods, vegetables, fruit and dairy foods provide key nutrients, such as protein, iron and zinc, calcium, omega-3 and B vitamins, required for a healthy diet in busy kids.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead for the busy times helps you get through them a little easier. Think about the lunches you will be preparing for the next week and make sure you buy the necessary ingredients when you do your regular shopping.


A healthy lunch box has 4 parts:

A main item, such as a sandwich/wrap/roll, pasta with vegetables, soup, frittata or sushi.

A fruit or vegetable snack, such as whole fruit, cut up veggie sticks, canned fruit in natural juice, and a small salad.

A second snack based on a core food, such as a natural yoghurt, grainy crackers with cheese, plain popcorn, a slice of raisin bread, a wholemeal fruit muffin, a boiled egg or a can of tuna.

And a drink – a bottle of tap water is best.


Use foods from the five core food groups:

Vegetables and legumes/beans


Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high fibre

Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans

Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives

This will ensure that your child is receiving adequate nutrition from various food groups during the day.


  • Sandwiches, wraps and rolls are common main lunch items for kids. Choose wholemeal or multigrain varieties and include lots of vegetables.
  • Use a variety of fillings to keep children interested.
  • Encourage children to drink water throughout the day.
  • Limit foods with added sugar and added salt.