How to Pack a Healthy Lunchbox

Diana J. Smith

​When packing a healthy lunchbox for your child, we recommend thinking of a lunchbox in terms of the five food groups and making sure each group is represented. This will provide them with a nutritious supply of food to grow healthy and strong and provide them with the energy they need to get through their active days. 

Turning the food groups into a lunchbox – the CORE 4:
Using the 5 food groups, follow the CORE 4 guidelines to help make packing a healthy lunchbox easy.

  1. Main lunch item – a sandwich, roll, wrap
    or salad based on grains such as pasta, rice or quinoa.
  2. Nutritious snack – choose a snack from the five food groups such as crackers with cheese, veggie sticks and hummus, or yoghurt.
  3. Piece of fresh fruit – whatever is in season.
  4. Drink – always include a water bottle. Add an additional small reduced fat milk drink (less than 300ml) or a 99% fruit juice drink (less than 200ml) once or twice a week.

PLUS 1 additional snack for active and fast-growing kids.  This will provide the extra nutrients some kids need.

Lunchbox ideas: 

Snack ideas:

Rainbow chips: cut into chips or wedges — parsnips, potatoes, carrots, sweet potato, beetroot and zucchini. Drizzle with olive oil and a little garlic powder before cooking. Tip: to make homemade chips crunchy, rinse off excess starch and dry with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel.

Dippy sticks: carrot, zucchini, capsicum, cucumber, baby corn or celery sticks (crunchy vegetables can be softened by steaming for very young children).

Ants on a log: fill celery sticks with low fat cream cheese or hummus and place sultanas across the top.

Veggie jaffle: fillings can include spinach and feta; baked beans; mashed potato and cheese; pumpkin and ricotta.

Banana bubbles: skewer a banana piece onto a paddle pop stick. Coat with low fat yoghurt, roll in puffed rice and serve frozen.

Fruit smoothies: simply blend yoghurt, milk and fruit such as bananas and berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries).

Traffic lights: rounds of kiwifruit, watermelon and banana.     
Air popped popcorn: serve in patty cases or paper bags.

Garlic toast fingers: mix olive oil, minced garlic and chopped parsley. Brush onto wholemeal bread, cut into three fingers and lightly bake.

Pita bread nachos: pita bread slices baked in the oven until crisp and then sprinkled with cheese and Italian herbs.

Raisin toast fingers: cut into three fingers and use a thin spread of spread.

Yoghurt: sprinkled with muesli and fresh or tinned fruit.

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