Lunchboxes: keeping it real
We’re not about the picture-perfect lunchboxes for your kids—we know many of you don’t have time and it creates unnecessary stress.
Keep it practical, keep it simple and keep it real by fuelling kids with lower GI carbohydrate foods like wholegrain breads and wraps, legumes and fruit, all which release their energy slowly, keeping kids feeling fuller for longer. This helps keep blood sugar levels stable—and that supports good concentration and learning, and a happier child at school pick up.
Here just for the tips? Keep reading to see how you can create an easy lunchbox!
Tips for a healthy and easy lunchbox
- Keep it simples: You don’t need to spend a lot of money for a wholesome and nutritious lunch. Shop by what’s in season and on special to find vegetables, fruit and all the other goodies that are within your budget.
- Fresh is best: Fruit and veggie sticks are as convenient as a muesli bar, yet don’t have the extra hidden sugars. They’re also relatively cheap and easy to eat. Add humous or cream cheese as dips.
- Consider the crunch: When it comes to savoury crackers try to keep it simple and look for those with minimal added seasonings, salt, sugars and flavourings. They’ll still get the crunch, but without the added extras.
- Get the kids involved: If you buy it, they will pack it! Help kids get involved by laying out food options and letting them choose what goes into their lunchbox. They may not choose the healthy options at the start, but over time kids come to learn about and make healthier choices if you provide healthy options. We’re in it for the long-haul!
- Small pieces for smaller hands: Kids may be encouraged to eat smaller versions of foods; think mini cucumbers, mini capsicums, mini wraps, quiches, or cut up fruit and veggies.
- Cover it: No one likes a soggy or banana flavoured sandwich. Cover it with a reusable wrap, use containers or even a lunch box with divided sections to keep flavours where they should be.
- Keep it cool: Schools generally don’t have fridges. Keep all items cool with a frozen water bottle or ice pack and encourage kids to keep the lunch box in their schoolbag and store it out of direct sunlight.
- The freezer is our friend: Think bulk and batch. Where possible, freeze foods so you can whip them out like a ninja during the week. Savoury muffins, quiches, zucchini slice (with extra veg), meatballs, falafel balls or yoghurt pouches (check out the supermarket cold section), and home-made muesli bars are all a great options.
- The top 6: Try to include each of Nutrition Australia’s Pick & Mix 1-6 and your child will be set up for the day:
- Fresh fruit
- Crunchy vegetables
- Wholegrain food such as bread, a roll, pita or flat bread, fruit bread or crackers
- Meat or protein food such as slices of lean meat, tuna or salmon (in a can), hardboiled egg, peanut butter or nut paste (if your school allows nuts)
- Dairy food such as a cheese stick or slice, grated cheese, milk or yoghurt
Get more lunchbox ideas
- Nutrition Australia: handy takeaways and lunch breakdowns like above.
- Dietitian’s Australia: smart eating recipes at your disposal, all dietitian approved.
- Queensland Country Women’s Association Country Kitchens: a long list of recipes on offer for inspiration!
- Food safety when cooking: learn about how to protect your foods.
- Matt Golinski’s recipes: