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Back to School Lunchbox Ideas

Make going back to school fun AND healthy with these lunchbox ideas!


Packing your child’s lunch box has to be fairly high up on the list of things that parents dread the most when school returns, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some ideas to help this potentially mundane task easier, faster, and less likely to end up in the school bin.


Firstly, it’s important to cover all the bases, nutritionally speaking, to ensure that your child has enough energy to last all the way to that final bell (and preferably beyond, for your sake!). Try to include a good source of protein, some carbs, and some healthy fats, plus limit the amount of discretionary foods (e.g. cakes, chips, biscuits) to avoid energy spikes and troughs. 


This balance can be achieved by selecting your foods from these five food groups.

  • Vegetables, legumes and beans. 
  • Fruits
  • Grains (mostly whole grains)
  • Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and tofu
  • Dairy


Getting this balance right will help to ensure that your child will be buzzing with energy and ready to focus without distraction, all day long.


Ideas to Cover these Five Food Groups

1. Vegetables, Legumes and Beans

  • Carrot, capsicum or celery sticks with hummus or tzatziki.
  • Edamame -You can buy frozen (pre-cooked) from the supermarket, and let them thaw in the lunchbox.
  • Chickpeas baked with olive oil and harissa, or lightly salted.
  • Homemade baked beans – use cannellini or navy beans and stir in a can of tomatoes, minced garlic, diced onion, paprika, and pepper/salt to taste.
  • Sugar peas or snow peas.
  • Minestrone, pumpkin, chicken and vegetable, or Miso soup, preheated and stored in a small thermos.
  • Zucchini fritters.
  • Seaweed snacks.

2. Fruits

Don’t overlook the humble apple/banana/pear…just make sure that you pack it well so that it doesn’t get bruised!

Dried fruits, such as Bellamy’s organic Pear and Apple Snacks, dates, figs, or apricots.

Homemade fruit muesli bar with oats and seeds, e.g. this Nut-free, vegan muesli slice, or this Super Seeds Muesli Bar.

Any seasonal fruits can be pre-sliced the night before, divided into containers and thrown into the lunch box on the way out the door!

Homemade fruit straps.

3. Grains

  • Wholegrain sourdough, either as a sandwich, or to dip in soup.
  • Corn tortillas – with hummus or guacamole to dip.
  • Brown rice salad or leftover fried rice, loaded with veg.
  • Wholegrain pasta with passata and veg.
  • Wholegrain wrap with lean meat or tofu, baby spinach and grated carrot.
  • Quinoa salad.
  • Popcorn 
  • Homemade oat and zucchini pancakes. Simply blend 1 cup of oats, ½ cup of spelt or whole meal flour, ½ cup milk of your choice, 3 eggs, 1 zucchini, 1 banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Light pan-fry in olive oil or small amount of better, just like pancakes.

4. Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and tofu.

  • Marinated cold chicken legs.
  • Boiled eggs.
  • Tinned salmon or tuna.
  • Smoked salmon.
  • Lamb cutlets or pork chops.
  • Marinated tofu, either alone, on a wrap, or in rice salad.
  • Omelet – an easy one to make into fun shapes with a cookie cutter for the littlies. Try adding mushrooms, zucchini, and cheese for extra nutrients.
  • Meatballs – Good quality organic minced beef, pork or chicken, mixed with an egg, some finely chopped veg, onion, and garlic and pan-fried in olive oil. 
  • Vegetable Frittata 

5. Dairy

  • Tub of Greek yoghurt.
  • Homemade smoothie – try adding fresh berries, banana, Greek yoghurt, chia seeds, spinach, and your milk of choice.
  • Cubes of tasty cheese.
  • Scoop cottage cheese or soft feta into a small container to spread onto wholegrain crackers.