Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

Advice and tips for choosing healthy and nutritious options for your child’s lunch box.

Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

Children attending preschool often bring their own lunch along. It can be a very helpful experience that children enjoy.  It can give them a sense of being ‘big’ and competent, particularly if they see their older brother or sister taking lunch to school.  They learn to manage the lunch routine – opening bags and boxes, eating lunch and drinking a drink.  You can help your child and the preschool educators by choosing what you offer for lunch wisely.  Here are some healthy lunch box tips:

  • Be creative, ask your children what they would enjoy eating for their snack or lunch. No matter how healthy your child’s lunch is, it is no good if it doesn’t get eaten. Involve them in preparation and packing.  Give your child options and get them involved in choosing what they want to eat.  If they don’t like certain foods at home, they won’t like them in their lunch box.  Don’t pack too much food – small portions are easy to eat and allows your child to move on to other activities.
  • Pick the healthiest options for your children. Limit sweet treats in their lunch box. If you want to include something sweet, a plain biscuit, oat meal bar or mini muffin is best.  A healthy lunch boosts children’s energy and helps them concentrate and learn throughout their day.
  • With your child develop a 5 day plan of lunches. This helps busy parent’s pre plan.  It will also help when you are doing your grocery shop.
  • Vary the food so children don’t become bored. Choose foods that will keep your child from feeling hungry throughout the session.
  • Rather than constantly spending money purchasing plastic bags, use reusable bags and containers that are easy to manage for your children. Sometimes the preschool will recommend a certain size lunch boxes/bag so they can easily store 

 

Ideas for the lunch box

Your child will have breakfast before preschool and lunch afterwards.  They need very little in between – so lunch is largely about the routine of managing and eating together.  Keep portions small and make sure containers are easy to manage.  You could include:

bread

  • Sandwiches –     Wholemeal, granary bread, pitta bread, wraps, bagels, crackers, rolls, etc. Just provide small portions.
  • Rice/Pasta
  • Fillings – Chicken, ham, turkey, chicken, bacon, hard boiled eggs, tuna, smoked salmon, cheese, jam.
  • Added to above – Onions, sweet corn, cucumber, grated carrot, chopped peppers, avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, light mayonnaise, cream cheese, cottage cheese and homemade salsa etc.

  

fruit

Snacks

  • Portion of cubed cheddar cheese, cheese stick or triangles 
  • A small container of raisins, dried fruit, mixed berries, fruit puree, fruit salad
  • A small container of sliced cucumber, or thin carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes
  • Drinkable or spoon-able yogurt
  • All varieties of fresh fruit (cut apples, mango, pineapple, oranges, seedless grapes, watermelon, and mandarins).  If including whole fruit in the lunchbox, select fruit that is a suitable size for a child to easily hold in their hand and eat.

 

drinks

Drinks

  • Water and milk are the best choices.
  • Fizzy drinks are usually not allowed in your child’s lunch box.

 

For a more information on how to get the right balance for your child’s lunch box, please click here

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