Healthy school lunchboxes – made simple

Jahli with apple slinkies - a fun way to eat apples - and keeps well in the lunchbox if you use a little lemon juice

Jahli with apple slinkies – a fun way to eat apples – and keeps well in the lunchbox if you use a little lemon juice

There is a lot of confusing advice out there for parents. It is hard to know what is important for kids at school.

If you struggle to find options for them to place in their lunchbox, here’s an easy guide of what to include:

1 Leftovers or a sandwich

Choose leftovers like quiches, pasta, boiled egg or homemade pizza.

Or take a different look at the trusty sandwich. Vary the fillings – fillings can include vegemite or other yeast extract, peanut butter, different varieties of cheese, lean meat – sliced cold meats or roasts, hard-boiled egg, tuna, sliced cold meats, baked beans.

Sandwiches and wraps with simple fillings on different types of grainy or wholemeal breads (pita, rolls, jaffles, bagels, french, wraps like mountain bread, muffins, crumpets, mixed grain, wholemeal, high-fibre white, rice or corn cakes, etc) cut in small sizes for little people.

Make salads or salad sandwich fillings interesting by using a range of vegetables like grated carrot, snow pea sprouts, lettuce or rocket or baby spinach, sliced celery, tomatoes, avocado and cucumber. Dips like hommus, cucumber, yoghurt (tzatziki) or spinach also make good spreads.

2 Fruit and one vege or more

Fresh fruit is the way to go. Mandarins, bananas, apples, pre-peeled oranges, or cherry tomatoes are easy to eat. Fruit salad, fruit kebabs, frozen oranges are fun too.

Celery, carrot or zucchini sticks topped with soft cheese (e.g. celery boats) or corn (canned or microwaved\steamed) also works well in a lunchbox.

3 Protein snack

Try cheese fingers, slices, triangles, yoghurt tubes and tubs and plain or flavoured milk poppers (or substitute). Freeze them the night before to cool down the lunchbox!

4 Snacks

Limit it to one other snack per day in the lunchbox – a packaged snack food is ok but try to have one packed with nutrition like a wholegrain snack bar (the small variety).

Or try making or buying these – popcorn, homemade cakes like banana bread or small muffins, pikelets, wholemeal scone or pita chips (bake from wraps and oregano)!

5 A drink

Water is the best choice as a drink to keep your kids hydrated throughout the day, or milk. They can be frozen to help keep foods in the lunch box cool.

Kids are unpredictable – prepare for the unexpected. Tell us about your favourite lunchbox fillers on Facebook and enjoy the first month back!

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