How to pack a healthy school lunchbox

Healthy School Lunchboxes: By a Nutritionist.

It’s almost back to school! Are you ready for another year of packing the school lunchbox?

A quick and easy method to ensure the lunchbox you pack provides your child with the nutrients and energy they need for a full day of learning and play at school; is to aim to fill it with food from each of 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 overconsumption.

Our Lunchbox favourites -
apple, berries, rockmelon, kiwifruit, grapes, prunes

How to create a healthy lunchbox for your children

  • 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 you need to avoid dairy foods make suitable alternative choices to ensure they are still providing the important nutrients from this food group.

Our Lunchbox favourites -
sugar free yoghurt, cheese, cream cheese


Pack a healthy nutritious lunch for school children


  • 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

If you’re after some lunchbox inspiration, head over to my Instagram page @the.lunchbox.nutritionist

I also have an all-inclusive ebook called “4 Simple Steps to Packing a Nutritionally Balanced Lunchbox… Fast” on my website The Lunchbox Nutritionist, which covers everything you need to be able to pack a simple, healthy and safe lunchbox in no time at all!

Abby Nutritionist
Abbey Warren - B. Sci (Nutrition), M. Hlth Sci (Health Promotion)

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