What makes a healthy school lunch?

Include a variety of fresh and tasty foods in your child’s lunchbox. These provide the energy and nutrients they need to play, concentrate and learn all day.

  • Avoid giving your child chips, lollies, high sugar muesli bars or soft drinks to take to school. These foods all have too much fat, sugar and energy (calories) and not enough useful nutrients. They fill children up and take the place of more nutritious food. 
  • Use your imagination to make lunches appealing and interesting.
  • Pack snacks into separate containers for each break. For example, you can put a small box of cut fruit pieces for morning fruit break, a small box of wheat crackers and low fat cheese slices for morning tea, and a larger box for lunch – with some of the items listed below.
  • Water is the best drink. 

When your children help choose and prepare their lunches, they are more likely to try different types of foods and eat the lunch. Don't forget to offer praise when they choose healthy options.

Your child's lunchbox could include:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Crunchy vegetables
  • A dairy food - cheese, milk or yoghurt
  • A protein food - slice of lean meat or hard boiled egg. 
  • Starchy food - bread, roll, flat bread, fruit bread or crackers
  • Water

Fruit breaks in the classroom

Your school may allow children to snack on fruit and vegetables during class times. This keeps their energy levels up and increases their healthy food intake. Some schools call this ‘bite and write' or ‘read and feed’.

What you can do:

  • Write an article about healthy lunchboxes for the school newsletter.
  • Ask the school to prepare a healthy lunchbox information sheet to give to all new families.
  • Suggest some class time is spent talking to the children about what should go into a healthy lunchbox and why.
  • Suggest the school has special brain food / fruit breaks.

More lunchbox ideas:

Consumer has tips for a healthy lunchbox
Consumer also has an interactive lunchbox
Healthy Food Guide website has lots of lunch box ideas.