A Parent’s Guide In Packing A Healthy Lunchbox For Their Kids

Aside from checking the label of every food ingredient you buy in the supermarket and selecting fresh fruits and vegetables for your family, you also need to prepare healthy lunchboxes for your kids. School-age children need a balanced diet. Children need the right amount of carbohydrates they'll use for energy required in performing different school activities, vitamins and minerals to excel in academics, and fats and protein to end the day with an active mindset to still do their homework.

It's challenging to keep the lunchboxes of your children healthy because you need to ensure that they are happy every time they eat meals.  With the right knowledge in nutrition, cooking skills, and a positive attitude, you can prepare exciting and healthy lunchboxes for your kids easier than you can ever imagine.

Enjoy this parent's guide to help you pack a healthy lunchbox for your kids!

What's Included In A Healthy Lunchbox

The foods you send to school with your kids contribute up to 1/3 of their daily nutrient intake. That's why you need to pack a balanced lunch to ensure that they are getting the right amount of nutrients they need. Here are the contents of a balanced lunchbox:

  • Main lunch (e.g., mixed veggies and rice salad, roast chicken salad, tuna or chicken veggie sandwich on wholemeal bread)
  • Core Snack (e.g., fruit salad, mashed potato)
  • A piece of fruit (e.g., apple, banana)
  • Water, 100% fruit juice, or small reduced fat milk drink (<200ml serving) for variety
  • One extra snack if you have active kids who participate in sports activities, dance practices, or martial arts (e.g., oatmeal or cereal energy bar). You can also order healthy snacks through a fantastic snack delivery service.

What's Not Included In a Healthy Lunchbox

Avoid regularly including cookies, snack food bars, chips, and coated or flavored popcorn in your children’s lunchboxes. These foods are convenient solutions but shouldn't regularly replace core, healthy foods. These types of food should only be given for special occasions (e.g., school parties). When it comes to sandwiches, avoid white bread and choose whole grain instead. Here are some food preparation tips to reduce or replace unhealthy food ingredients:

  • Cut down the sugar content and replace candy or fruit snacks with dried fruits. If including homemade goods, bake with maple syrup or honey instead of refined sugar.
  • Replace mayonnaise, cream cheese, and full-fat spreads and dressings with healthier options. Avocado is full of healthy fats and is a creamy sandwich topping.
  • Use fresh lean meat when you're adding meats as fillings. Avoid processed meats which contain a lot of salt and fat.
  • Avoid sweet drinks (e.g., fruit juices, cordials, juice drinks, sports drinks, soft drinks, flavored mineral waters, and fizzy drinks) because they're high in sugar.

You have plenty of food choices for your children’s lunchboxes. Giving the same meals over and over again can be boring. Your kids will surely love and look forward to eating lunch if you surprise them with a great variety of meals every time. Yes, it’s possible to apply great productivity hacks not only in the workplace but also in the kitchen. Here are some suggestions:

  • Fruits. Include seasonal, fresh fruit. Give dried fruits occasionally because they are sticky and very high in sugar which can cause tooth decay.
  • Vegetables. Vegetable sticks with dip or hummus is a good idea. You create a colorful array of fresh vegetables in a small container (e.g., carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and peppers).
  • Milk, custard, and yogurt. Include milk (freeze it overnight) and wrap it in a cloth in your child's lunchbox.
  • Cheese, dips, and biscuits. Homemade versions of crackers and cheese are fine. Avoid chocolate spreads and other sweet dips. Avoid ‘oven-baked’ biscuits because they're generally high in fat and salt.
  • Different pieces of bread. You can add interest by including a variety of bread (e.g., bread rolls, flatbread, pita bread, bagels, buns or fruit loaf, muffins, scones, pikelets, crumpets, rice cakes, crispbreads, or corn thins). This will make sandwiches exciting and will allow your kids to eat a variety of food.
  • Vary the fillings. Bring out the fun and excitement in fillings (e.g., different types of cheese, tuna, egg, baked beans, sliced cold meats, grated veggies, chopped beef, or nut butters). Avoid jams, chocolate spreads, and fatty meats (e.g., salami, Strasbourg).
  • Cakes and muffins. Incorporate fruits and vegetables in your homemade baked goods (e.g., beet, zucchini, banana, carrot, or pumpkin).
  • Breakfast bars. Most bars are high in sugar so limit them for special occasions. Cereal bars are better for the teeth than chewy and sticky muesli bars.

Creative Lunchbox Ideas

From pregnancy, you’ve nurtured your child to become healthy, and this is still important as they grow up. Children love cartoon characters, colorful objects, fantasy, and variety. Use these things to your advantage so you can encourage your children to eat all the food you put in their lunchboxes. Here are some tips:

  • Use Bento lunchboxes. Organize food with Japanese-inspired serving.
  • Make it colorful. Include oranges, avocado, carrots, and other colorful food inside your children’s lunchboxes (you can even try to form happy faces and shapes using food!).
  • Invest in cute cartoon-character, insulated, and BPA-free lunchboxes and drink bottles. Aside from hygienic food preparation, you want to ensure that your children eat from safe utensils, free from harmful toxins and chemicals (e.g., cheap plastic lunchbox).


When packing a healthy lunchbox for your kids,  make sure that the foods are easy to eat. Some children do not like sticky hands and messy packaging. Fruits and vegetables are easier to eat. Remove the peel of an orange or cut a kiwifruit or melon in half and include a spoon inside the lunch box. Next time, you may want to let your children join you in packing their healthy lunchboxes. It's a great way to bond, learn about healthy food, and have some fun!

Kristi Cathey

Hi everyone! My name is Kristi Cathey and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I am a mother of 3 beautiful angels. This blog was created in order to share my personal experiences in baby care and general health care for pregnant women. If you'd like to get in touch with me, please contact me by sending me an email via kristicathey.intelligentmother@gmail.com. Welcome to Intelligentmother.com

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