Is packing the school lunchbox a struggle for your family?

With more than 200 school days in a year it can be a daunting prospect to pack lunch every day. It requires planning, creativity and effort to stay on top of ensuring your child is getting their recommended daily intake of nutrients.

Our team at Life Education Queensland has five top tips to navigate the school lunchbox and help you meal prep for the school year. With help from our resident nutritionist and community development officer, Jaclyn Coffey, she shares her tips with us to make it a bit easier for your family below.

The five top tips to school lunchbox success

1. Try include foods from the five food groups.

  • Vegetables. Add salad on sandwiches, cut up veg sticks with hummus or tomato salsa, potato salad.
  • Fruit. Save yourself the prep time and try easy to eat fruit like blueberries, strawberries or chopped up watermelon.
  • Grain foods. This can include wholegrain bread, pasta, corn thins or pita pocket.
  • Dairy and alternatives. Add in a tub of yoghurt, cheese and crackers.
  • Lean meat and alternatives. Pack in some protein with either chicken, tinned tuna, boiled egg, baked beans.

Life Education Queensland Five Tips School Lunchbox

2. Get children involved in packing their lunchbox.

  • Children who are involved in choosing or preparing foods for their lunchbox are more likely to eat what’s inside. Encourage your child the night before to assist with packing some of their lunch.
  • Choose a fun lunchbox recipe to make together on the weekend. Check out some Life Education Queensland recipes here or scroll down further to see some of our recommended recipes below.
  • Give children some choice of what to pack. Ask your child, “What vegetable would you like for Brain Break today?” or “Would you like a pasta salad or sandwich?”.

Life Education Qld Healthy Harold Five Tips School Lunchbox

3. Introduce new foods with familiar foods.

Children are more likely to try new foods if they are included alongside foods they already know and like. Providing too many new foods can be overwhelming for children.

4. Ensure foods can be opened and eaten easily.

Make sure your child can open any packages or containers or peel fruit. Chop up vegetables, fruit or sandwiches to make them easier for little ones to eat.

5. Don’t forget to include a drink.

Pack a bottle of water that can be refilled. Freezing water overnight can also help to keep their lunchbox cool and it’s especially refreshing on a hot Queensland summer day.

Other recipes from trusted nutrition sources

After more lunchbox inspiration to add to your recipes? Here are some of our suggested recipes from trusted Australian nutrition resources.

  • One of our favourites at Life Education Queensland, ants on a log is another easy snack recipe from Nutrition Australia. Visit their website to get the recipe here.
  • A recipe that can be a fun family cooking event on the weekend, the sweet potato and cheese muffins from Healthier. Happier. are a delicious savoury snack. Get the ingredients for the recipe here.
  • This rainbow pasta salad recipe from Healthier. Happier. is a great vegetarian lunch or snack option. You can check out the recipe here.
  • Ticking boxes for three out of the five food groups, this fruit salad parfait recipe from the Cancer Council is a tasty snack or breakfast option. Get the recipe here.

Life Education Qld Healthy Harold Five Tips School Lunchbox Recipe

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