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Healthy Kids Lunch Boxes


Children’s lunch boxes provide around a third of their daily food so it’s essential that this helps them meet their nutritional requirements so that they can grow, play and learn to their full potential. When children eat well they also behave better, are able to listen well and concentrate for longer.

Aim to have something from each of the following groups in their lunch box every day:

Protein

(eg. meat / chicken / fish / seafood / eggs / dairy / legumes / nuts / seeds / tofu)

  • Choose unprocessed, lean options

  • Helps with ‘fullness’

  • Lowers the GI of a meal - meaning energy is more slowly released over the day

  • Many foods containing protein also provide important nutrients (eg. zinc, iron, calcium)

Carbohydrates

(eg. bread / rice / pasta / couscous / crackers / wraps / corn / potato / sweet potato / noodles / crumpets / muffins / pikelets)

  • Choose unprocessed, wholegrain options low in sugar and high in fibre (these are low GI)

  • High fibre carbohydrates help our microbiome by feeding our healthy gut bugs

  • Low GI carbohydrates provide slow-release energy, which is important to fuel activity and concentration over the day

  • Wholegrain options contain essential vitamins and minerals

Fruit

(eg. fresh / frozen / dried)

  • Provides essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and low GI carbohydrates for energy

  • Kids are more likely to eat fruit if it is chopped up

  • Choose seasonal, local options if possible

  • Provide variety with lots of different colours

Vegetables

(eg. fresh / cooked / mixed in with other foods)

  • Provides essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre

  • Choose seasonal, local options if possible

  • Provide variety with lots of different colours

Calcium

(eg. dairy / fortified dairy-free alternatives / some tofu / amaranth / sesame seeds / tahini / green leafy vegetables / dried figs / almonds / broccoli)

  • Important for growing bones and developing calcium stores for life

  • Whole-food varieties also provide other essential nutrients eg. protein and energy

Here’s some ideas of how to put it together…

Mains

  • Multigrain or wholemeal sandwich with healthy fillings eg. egg, leftover meat / chicken, tinned salmon or tuna, avocado, cheese, hummus, lettuce, tomato, baby spinach, cucumber, beetroot, natural peanut butter (try cutting in to squares or strips)

  • Wholemeal / multigrain wrap or pita pockets with above fillings

  • Boiled eggs or strips of leftover meat / chicken / tinned fish + chopped salad / leftover veg / cold roast veg

  • Cold wholemeal pasta with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, pieces of leftover meat / chicken / tinned fish / boiled eggs

  • Soup in a thermos (eg. pumpkin, minestrone, chicken noodle with vegetable)

  • Stir-fried meat and veggies + rice or noodles

  • Stew in a thermos made with lean meat and vegetables + rice or potato

  • Roast meat + roast potato/sweet potato + steamed vegetables

  • Tinned fish + leftover homemade sweet potato ‘chips’ + chopped salad

  • Spaghetti made with lean mince & grated vegetables with a tomato-based sauce

  • Home-made pizza topped with lean meat + veggies + small amount of grated low-fat cheese (try making it on a wholegrain wrap or English muffins)

  • Leftover taco fillings eg. lean mince + natural yoghurt (instead of sour cream) + tomato, lettuce, fresh avocado

  • Falafels or homemade meat / fish / chicken patties with a small breadroll and chopped salad / veg

  • Homemade sushi or cold rolls

  • Quiche or frittata containing veg (eg. roast pumpkin, baby spinach, grated zucchini)

Snacks

  • Fruit eg. chopped fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit salad, fruit with yoghurt

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Boiled eggs

  • Corn thins, rice thins, vita-wheats or rye vitas with topping eg. cream cheese / ricotta / cottage cheese / hummus / avocado / cheddar cheese / tomato / cucumber / vegemite

  • Veggies eg. cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, chopped cucumber, baby cucumbers, chopped capsicum, celery, mini corn cob, snow peas, roast vegetables

  • Dips made from whole foods eg. hummus, tatziki, guacamole, pesto

  • Air popped popcorn eg. ’Sunbites’, ‘Messy Monkeys’ or homemade

  • Low sugar commercial muesli bars (or homemade)

  • Plain whole milk Greek yoghurt + berries (frozen berries work well)

  • Low sugar, wholemeal fruit muffins, slice, fruit loaf or pikelets

  • Savoury muffins, mini quiches or frittatas containing vegetables

  • Cheddar cheese - cubes, sticks or grated

  • Bliss balls

  • Roast chickpeas


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Phone: 0434368405 | Email: suzannah.smart@gmail.com

Suzannah Smart - B.Hlth.Sc.(Nut&Diet)

 - Accredited Practising Dietitian - Accredited Nutritionist -

- Barossa Valley: Nuriootpa, South Australia -

- Gawler Region: Willaston, South Australia -

- Mount Pleasant, South Australia -

ABN: 74459711926

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