1. School Age
  2. Nutrition & fitness
  3. Healthy eating

Healthy lunch box ideas for children

4-8 years

Healthy lunch ideas for preschool and school

When you’re food shopping, buy enough healthy foods to make school lunches for the week. This makes it easier to come up with healthy lunch ideas each day.

Let your child choose his own healthy lunch box food. He’s more likely to eat food he’s chosen himself. Packing the night before gives him time to choose carefully.

Include foods from each of the five food groups in your child’s lunch box. This way, your child gets all the energy and nutrients he needs to grow, learn, play and stay healthy.

Fun, healthy and environmentally friendly lunch box ideas

Different-coloured foods have different types of nutrients. A lunch box full of fresh ‘rainbow’ food gives your child more chances to get all the nutrients she needs.

‘Nude’ food has no packaging. It cuts rubbish and costs and can be easier for kids to handle. Try easy-to-open reusable containers, pockets and wraps.

Tap water is the best drink for your child. Send a water bottle with your child in her backpack. Fruit juice and soft drinks are high in sugar and aren’t recommended.

More lunch box ideas

Keep food in the fridge until you pack it. Add a frozen water bottle or use an insulated lunch bag to keep food cool. Check whether foods that cause allergic reactions should stay at home.

Encourage your child to choose healthy foods at the canteen – crunchy vegies, fruits, dairy products, and more. Check out more healthy lunch ideas.

Try to leave ‘sometimes’ foods – such as chips, muesli bars, biscuits and chocolate –out of the lunch box. These foods don’t give your child energy or nutrients for play and learning.

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Last updated or reviewed
26-06-2014

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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