How to Pack a Healthy Lunchbox

How to Pack a Healthy Lunchbox

Are you ready for a year of packing lunchboxes… every… single… weekday? Did you know that’s equal to about 200 lunchboxes?!! This fact will send many into a spin but packing the lunchbox doesn’t need to be stressful or time consuming. In fact it can actually be an enjoyable task!

You just need a simple method to follow, one that will make your life easy and most importantly provide your child with the nutrients and energy they need for a full day of activity and learning.

Let’s firstly start with the lunchbox itself. When choosing a lunchbox for your child it is important to consider:

  • How many lunchboxes your child will need each day – Some schools have a fruit and vegetable break early morning and ask that the food for this snack to be packed separate from the food for the rest of the day.
  • The type of food you will be packing – Does your child like small portions of different food or whole sandwiches and whole pieces of fruit? Make sure the lunchbox compartments are suitable for the type of food your child likes to eat and the lunchbox holds the right amount of food for your child’s appetite.
  • Where the lunchbox will be stored for the school day – Is there a fridge available? If not, do you have a good quality ice pack and insulated lunch bag?
  • Can your child open the lunchbox on their own – Are the latches tight or tricky for little fingers?

Once you have your suitable lunchbox, you then need to fill it with food from the 5 food groups. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is made up of 5 food groups. Each food group is made up of a variety of food, each group differing in the essential nutrients they provide.

  • Fruit – A good source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and phytonutrients. Aim for a rainbow of different colours to increase the variety of nutrients consumed. Frozen fruit and fruit canned in natural juice are also good fruit options. Limit dried fruit and 100% fruit juice due to their risk of dental decay and ease of over consumption.

Our Lunchbox favourites –

apple, berries, rockmelon, kiwifruit, grapes, prunes

  • Vegetables – Also a good source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and phytonutrients. Just like fruit, colourful vegetables are recommended. Included in this group are fresh and frozen vegetables and legumes and beans. Aim to include raw salad vegetables and add extra vegetables where possible to baked goods or prepared dishes to bump up the quantity.

Our Lunchbox favourites –

carrot, corn, capsicum, cucumber, tomato, avocado

  • Grains – A good source of slow release energy and fibre and contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Grain foods are made from wheat, oats, rice, rye, barley, millet, quinoa and corn. Aim for wholegrain varieties over highly processed refined white options. Wholegrain varieties are higher in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Our Lunchbox favourites –

wholegrain: bread, wraps, rice, pasta, crackers

  • Dairy/Calcium – Dairy food like milk, cheese and yoghurt provide calcium in a readily absorbable and convenient form. They are also a good source of many nutrients, including protein and a range of vitamins and minerals. If need to avoid dairy foods make suitable alternative choices to ensure they are still providing the important nutrients this food groups contains.

Our Lunchbox favourites –

sugar free yoghurt, cheese, cream cheese

  • Protein – A good source of protein, plus a wide variety of other nutrients such as iodine, iron, zinc, vitamins, especially B12, and essential fatty acids. Protein foods include all kinds of lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans. If not eating a vegetarian diet, aim to include a variety of animal and plant based protein.

Our Lunchbox favourites –

roast meat, eggs, tuna, seed crackers, chickpeas

As a busy mum, I’m all about doing things simply and fast! I put my experience as a mum and nutritionist to the test and over the last 12 months I trialed, tested, redeveloped and tweaked a super simple method to make packing the lunchbox an effortless task. All is outlined in my ebook – 4 simple steps to packing a nutritionally balanced lunchbox… fast.

My all inclusive ebook covers everything you need to be able to pack a simple, healthy and safe lunchbox in no time at all!

What’s included:

  • “Nut Free” – What you can and can’t pack
  • The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
  • The 5 food groups
  • 4 steps to packing a nutritionally balanced lunchbox
  • Food Safety – High risk lunchbox foods and how to keep them safe
  • Food group recommendations and how much is required at school
  • Serve sizes
  • Water
  • Lunchbox inspiration
  • Lunchbox cheat sheet to personalise for each child
  • Meal Planner​

Imagine feeling confident and relaxed each day packing the lunchbox. Relaxed – knowing you have a simple method to follow that makes packing the lunchbox easy; and confident – knowing that the food you are providing is in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and meeting your child’s nutritional requirements for a day at school.

Abbey – The Lunchbox Nutritionist