Healthy lunch boxes for children

Healthy lunches and snacks are important for children and help with concentration and learning. Encourage children to be involved in their own lunch preparation, and their choices about foods to include. Praise your child when they choose healthy foods for the lunch box. At Tiny Town lunch boxes are stored in the fridge, so please choose a simple box with NO padding to minimise space, and put food containers that your child can learn to open themselves.

We encourage food containers that minimise plastic and non-recyclable wrapping materials and promote sustainability.

Suggested food groups to put in your child’s lunch box:

  • Vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dairy food – cheese or yoghurt
  • Protein food – slice of lean meat, hard-boiled egg or beans
  • Starchy food – bread, roll, pita or flat bread, fruit bread or crackers
  • Water

To make it easy for you, visit Nutrition Australia What’s for Lunch and download the What’s for Lunch fact sheet.

Food suggestions

There are endless food choices available for lunch boxes. It can sometimes be difficult to decide which foods are healthy choices.

  • Drinks

    Water is provided at Tiny Town so there is no need to pack drinks, just a water bottle.

    Sweet drinks are not necessary. These drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay, are “filling”, and may suppress children’s appetite for healthier foods.

  • Vegetables

    Try vegetable sticks with dips, or a small container with mixed vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, celery, corn, beetroot, sprouts, capsicum, snow peas or cucumbers.

    Foods best left out – Packets of chips are best left for parties.

  • Fruit

    Fresh, or tinned fruit in natural juice, are everyday foods. Dried fruit is concentrated and therefore should be eaten in small quantities.

    Foods best left out – “Dried fruit bars” and “straps” are very high in sugar, low in fibre and stick to children’s teeth causing tooth decay.

  • Dairy food

    Cheese slices or cubes.

    Natural or fruit yoghurt.

    Foods best left out – “Dairy desserts‟ and flavoured milks are high in sugar.

  • Sandwiches – Best choices

    Include a variety of bread and fillings, especially if children begin to lose interest in sandwiches. Choose one or more of the following:

    • Salmon or tuna in spring water. Try mini cans of tuna with added flavours.
    • Cheese or cheese spread
    • Egg
    • Falafel or lentil patties
    • Sliced lean cold meats such as ham, turkey, chicken, lamb or beef with vegetables
    • Baked beans or bean salad
    • Grated carrot, lettuce or tomato
    • Include grainy bread or rolls, flat bread, fruit loaf or buns, bagels, corn or rice cakes, Turkish bread, crisp bread or pikelets.

    As an alternative try:

    • Pasta or rice – make a salad with lots of raw vegetables.
  • Biscuits and dips

    Wholemeal or multigrain dry biscuits, crisp breads, or rice cakes with dips.

  • Muffins and cakes

    Try making your own healthy muffins and cakes. Include fruit and vegetables such as sultanas, carrot, zucchini, banana and pumpkin.

  • Muesli and ‘breakfast’ bars

    Almost all “bars” are too high in sugar and are best given occasionally.

Health and Wellbeing Resources

  • Early Years Count – Healthy lunchbox Ideas

    Queensland Health resources to encourage healthy choices in children’s lunchboxes.

  • Nutrition Australia

    Nutrition Australia is a non-government, non-profit, community based-organisation promoting the health and wellbeing of all Australians.

  • Fresh for Kids

    Great recipes to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables.

  • Better Health

    The Better Health Channel website provides health and medical information to help individuals and communities improve their health and wellbeing.