Healthy Lunchboxes

Are you looking for information on how to pack a healthy school lunchbox that your kids’ will love? Well, look no further!

Packing a healthy lunchbox for school doesn’t have to be a nightmare. To help with this, Nutrition Australia and HEAS, offer some simple tips that will be sure to keep your kids asking for more.

Tip 1 – The pick ‘n’ mix 1-6

The first step to packing a balanced and varied lunchbox is making sure that you include something from each of the six food groups, and that you mix it up from day to day:

  • Fruit: E.g. fresh, frozen, pureed and canned in natural juice
  • Vegetables (and legumes): Fresh, salad, in vegetable muffins, or soup
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese (and alternatives): E.g. Cheese cubes, yoghurt, or plain milk (make sure any dairy alternatives provide at least 100mg of calcium per 100ml).
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans: E.g. Tinned tuna in spring water, lean meats, baked beans, or falafel balls
  • Grain (cereal) foods: E.g. Wraps, sandwiches, wholegrain crackers, pasta dishes, wholemeal muffins, or pikelets
  • And water: Sugary drinks like juice, cordial or soft drink contain too much sugar and can damage teeth. For a refreshing summer drink, freeze a small amount of water over night and top up with cold water in the morning.

Tip 2 – Be prepared and get the kids involved

Buy fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, yoghurt, bread and crackers in advance, and get the kids involved at choosing what goes into their lunchboxes each day. (You can use the Pick’n’Mix resource as a guide to follow!)

Allowing your kids to have input means they’re more likely to eat what’s in their lunchbox, which helps to reduce waste – and tantrums!

Tip 3 – Shop wisely and save money

Buying fruit and vegetables when they’re in season will ensure you are getting good quality products and value for your money. You can also buy in bulk, and prepare some items in batches, such as vegetable muffins or pizza scrolls, which will help next time you’re in a time crunch.

Tip 4 – Make your own snacks

Making snacks yourself is a great way to reduce amount of processed and packaged foods in the lunchbox. For example, buying natural yoghurt and flavouring it with fresh or frozen fruit, or making your own banana muffins with ripe bananas and using less sugar.

Tip 5 – Look after the environment

Many schools encourage parents and children to pack ‘nude’ or ‘packaging free’ lunchboxes to create less rubbish. This is a fairly simple idea and encourages you to think outside of the ‘lunchbox’ when packing your kids’ meals. For instance, you may decide to put sandwiches in reusable fabric sandwich bags or pack yoghurt in reusable containers instead of using disposal plastic packaging.

Tip 6 – Keep food cool 

keep food cool in warm weather by freezing a water bottle or by putting a small ice pack in the lunchbox. This will ensure that all the healthy food you have packed stays fresh and delicious all day long.

If you are looking for more tips and tricks for packing a healthy school lunchbox, check out this colourful Pick’n’Mix poster and visit the Nutrition Australia and HEAS websites.

Feature Photo Credit: Nutrition Australia

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