By Raising Children Network
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Healthy lunch ideas for child care, preschool and school

Buy healthy food; let your child choose his healthy lunch box food; include food from the main food groups.
  • When you’re food shopping, buy enough healthy foods to make your child’s 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

A 'rainbow' lunch box offers different nutrients; cut down on plastic packaging; tap water in a water bottle is the best drink.
  • 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 the lunch box clean and safe; choose everyday foods; avoid 'sometimes' foods at lunch.
  • 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 school children 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 – like 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.
  • Last updated or reviewed 26-06-2014