lunchbox with healthy snacks

Quick, Easy and Balanced Lunchbox Ideas

With the start of another school year just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about your kids’ lunchboxes. Before you start to panic, have no fear, because we’re here to share a bunch of simple ideas that are easy to pull together as well as nutritionally backed, thanks to the team at Nutrition Australia.
Published 09 January

A lunchbox that includes fruit, vegetables, lean protein, wholegrains, dairy or alternatives and water can support children’s physical health, mental wellbeing and give them the energy to keep going throughout the day. Packing a lunchbox with foods from these core foods groups is also a great opportunity to set up healthy habits from a young age. To keep it simple, Nutrition Australia recommends that a healthy lunchbox is made up of four key components; the main item, a fruit or vegetable snack, a second snack based on a core food, and a drink. In line with this formula, we’ve picked out some of our favourite stress-free and delicious recipes that your little ones are sure to love.


1. The star of the show 

Arguably the most important part of any delicious and nutritious lunchbox is the main meal. We recommend keeping it simple and opting for a hearty sandwich or wrap (because who has time to whip up a 5-star meal the night before school?). When crafting your sandwich, choose a wholegrain or high-fibre bread option that will assist in providing long-lasting energy for your little one.

Once you’ve sorted your base, it is time to add some flavour with a tasty spread, such as a swipe of avocado or hummus. Then fill it out with salad, raw or cooked veggies and a protein power like cheese, tuna, egg, or poached chicken (delicious!).

Nutrition Australia has a bunch of tasty recipes available on their website that you can browse, like this easy and hearty egg and lettuce sandwicha zesty chicken wrap or their fun-to-eat sandwich sushi. Leftovers also make great, easy lunch options. Try a zucchini slice or vegetable fritters that the whole family can enjoy.

When hunting for fresh bread and fillings, you’re going to want to pay a visit to our Fresh Food precinct they are sure to have all the fresh goodies you’ll need to bring this main to life.


2. Add two delectable snacks

Did you know that on average, kids consume 30% of their daily food intake at school? So, it is important to make sure their lunchbox is filled with a variety of tasty options for your child to choose from.

Let’s talk about snacks. Nutrition Australia recommends that you include at least two snacks in your child’s lunchbox; one fruit or vegetable-based snack and one core food-based snack.

Veggie sticks and hummus, cut up seasonal fruit, ants on a log, or a small tuna and four bean salad are simple and quick  snack options. For the freshest, most organic fruit and vegetable options, you’re going to want to pay a visit to Saccas Fine Foods or Fresh Fruit World. 

More snack ideas using foods from the core food groups include grainy crackers with cheese, plain popcorn, a wholemeal fruit or savoury muffin a boiled egg or a tub of yoghurt. If you prefer plant-based yoghurt alternatives, check the label and choose a calcium-fortified option.


4. Hold up the hydration

Keeping your mini-me hydrated during the school term is super important year-round, particularly in these hot summer months.

Say goodbye to sugar-filled, pre-packaged juices and cordials and swap them out for a simple refillable water bottle. Plain UHT milk boxes are a great option too, as a good source of calcium for strong bones and teeth (tick!).


5. Keep them interested

It’s a tale as old as time; the lunchbox full of nutritious foods boomerangs its way back home, without being eaten. Getting your kids to help plan and pack their lunchboxes can help instil healthy eating behaviours from an early age. It also means they’re more likely to eat what’s been packed if they’ve been involved in the planning and preparing of their lunchboxes.

This can be anything from getting the kids to help cut up fruits and vegetables for their lunchboxes or selecting easy recipes that you can make together on the weekend (baking day anyone?). You could also start a veggie patch (getting your child involved in growing and picking their own vegetables for snacks) or playing a game at Woolworths where you get them involved by helping to pick the fruits and vegetables for their snacks and lunches.

When it comes to introducing children to new foods, it’s all about repeated exposure. Did you know that a child may need to be exposed to a new food 15 or more times before they feel familiar enough to try it? Even then, they still may not like it! Try to avoid including too many new foods in the lunchbox that they haven't tried before. Give children the space to get familiar with new foods over time. Just like adults, children’s appetites will vary, so some days or weeks they will eat more than others. If you have any concerns about your child’s intake, please speak with your doctor or a dietitian.   


6. Enter our exciting giveaway


So, now that you’ve got the lunchbox fillings sorted, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to safely store all this delicious food and drinks.

Luckily, when you spend you spend $50 in-centre you will go in the running to win Back to School essentials from Citron like these super-cute cooler bags or pretty and pastel drink bottles!

So, what are you waiting for? Head to Pacific Epping to stock up on your back to school supplied and possibly win one of these awesome products.