It is important to include a variety of food in your child’s lunch box each day. These should include fruit and veg, dairy, meat (or meat alternative) and grains.
Use fresh fruit if possible, using canned fruit in natural juice as a good alternative. Dried fruit can be included only occasionally, as it may cause dental problems due to high sugar content and can stick to teeth. Vegies in the lunch box are colourful and crunchy. They are great with dips or may be used grilled in rolls or sandwiches.
Children need dairy foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese for optimal growth and development. If your child cannot tolerate dairy foods, use alternatives like calcium-fortified soy or rice drink, or soy yoghurt. One serve of dairy is 250ml of milk, 200g of yoghurt (one small tub) or 40g of cheese (two slices).
Dairy ideas for the lunch box include:
cheese slices, cubes or sticks
yoghurt – natural or fruit. Try freezing a tub of yoghurt and putting it in the lunch box. By lunchtime, it will have partially thawed and be ready to eat. Remember to include a spoon.
milk – either cow’s milk or calcium-enriched legume/bean/cereal milk products. In the summer, try freezing milk overnight and wrap in a cloth for the lunch box to minimise the sweating. By lunchtime, it will be ready to drink.
Include a food that is high in protein, such as some lean meat or poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes/beans, or nuts and seeds. If your school has a nut-free policy, peanut butter and other nuts should not be included in your child’s lunch box.
Some foods to choose from for your sandwich or snack include:
tuna or salmon in spring water – for variety, try small cans of flavoured fish such as sun-dried tomato, and basil and lemon pepper
sliced nut loaf, or tuna and olive loaf
hard boiled eggs, curried eggs or mashed egg dip in a sandwich. For a fun treat, try ‘googy faces’ – shell hard boiled eggs, wrap in cling wrap and draw smiley faces on the cling wrap with a marker
falafel balls and lentil patties are an easy, handy snack and can be used in pita bread and flatbread rolls
hummus or other bean dip
smoked salmon or trout, or sliced cold lean meats such as ham, turkey, chicken, silverside, roast beef or lamb, cold sliced meatloaf or meatballs. These can be added to sandwiches or used as a snack
baked beans, bean mixes (choose low salt where available) and bean salad
fish cakes, tuna patties or salmon patties make a delicious and filling snack for afternoon tea
peanut butter with no added salt or sugar, and plain unsalted nuts (30g). Do not include if your school has a nut=free policy.
muffins with lean meat such as ham and zucchini
If you’ve made a dish with meat or meat alternatives for dinner the night before (like beef casserole, lentil dhal or vegetable frittata), keep the leftovers in the fridge and use some for lunch boxes the next day.
Disclaimer: This website is not supervised by general practitioners and should not be substituted for professional medical advice. Please contact our surgery if you are in need of medical attention or 000 if the matter is urgent