Packing a healthy lunchbox is a great way to ensure your kids get the nutrition they need throughout the day. Keeping little bodies fueled for a day of learning and play, is easy with these 5 easy steps below, to ensure they’re getting the most nutritious food to keep them going all day long. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Choose a variety of foods
Make sure to include a combination of proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy. Try and include foods from each of the core 5 food groups below.
An easy way to make sure you’re adding from each food group is with a simple sandwich! Here are some of our favourites
2. Pack the right size
When packing your lunch, try to stick to appropriate portion sizes for kids. Remember their little bodies need less fuel than an adult! The Australian Dietary Guidelines have a great resource linked below, that goes into detail about how much your kids should eat for their age. We know that it’s difficult to make sure they eat all the serves of food groups each day, so a better approach can be to look at it from a weekly perspective or even a portion of the plate!
As a general guide, recommended serves per day for primary school kids should include:
- 4.5 – 5 serves of veggies – this includes legumes and beans
- 1.5 – 2 serves of fruit
- 4 – 5 serves of whole grain
- 1.5 – 2.5 serves of protein
- 1.5 – 3 serves of dairy – try to keep it low fat where possible
Keep in mind that serving sizes will change depending on your kids age and activity levels.
3. Leftovers make great lunches!
Leftovers are an easy way to pack their lunchbox with food you know they’ll love. When you’re cooking dinner, make a little extra to include in their lunchbox the next day. From whole grain pastas, to yummy stir-frys and frittatas. Just remember to pack an ice-block in their box or bag to keep their food cool if it contains meat or dairy.
Here are some of our favourite family friendly dinner meals:
4. Get the kids involved
Now that you’re ready to get creative, why not get the kids to help? A great way to get younger kids involved and make lunchboxes fun is by cutting sandwiches into shapes using cookie cutters. Or get them to roll wraps in foil to make it easier for them to eat.
Encourage your kids to get involved in lunchbox choices too – asking them to choose their fruit and veggies will help to reduce uneaten food at the end of the day.
You can even get them helping with making healthy snacks like baked oat bars, museli bars or savory scrolls. Here are some of our favourite healthy snacks you can cook with your little one
5. Choose healthy snacks
Choosing yummy snacks for the lunchbox is easy when there are so many nutritious options on the supermarket shelves. We know that life can get really busy, so if you dont have time to make some of the delicious options below, these are some of our favourite healthier options you can pop into their bag. Try limit their intake of discressionary foods like sweet biscuits, crisps and cakes – opt for these great options instead:
- Messy Monkeys Wholegrain Bites
- Roasted Fave Beans
- Mini Rice Crackers
- Lentil Bites
- Sultana Packs
- Grain Waves
- Hummus to-go pack with crackers
- Tuna and Beans
- Mini Baked Beans
- Sweet and salty popcorn
Want to have some fun in the kitchen? These make ahead snacks are perfect to pop in the freezer then just put them straight in their lunchbox and they’ll be defrosted by recess or lunch