Finding new healthy lunch box ideas that keep kids happy and satisfied is a challenge, but it is possible!
Ditch those unhealthy packaged foods and follow our wholesome and yummy alternatives for your children’s school lunches. You’ll not only save money at the grocery store, but you’ll be providing them with the energy and nutrition they need for their growth and development.
We suggest you prep lunches the night before to free up those busy school mornings.
Yummy must-haves for packed school lunches
Kids need a quality supply of carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals in their daily diet. Choose foods from the following food groups for a balanced lunch:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Bread and cereals
- Lean meats, chicken, seafood, eggs, legumes, seeds, and nuts
- Healthy fats such as avocado and hummus
Kiwigarden’s fruit and veggie packs are a great lunchbox filler. Simply drop our crunchy Hawke’s Bay apple slices, juicy peas & sweet corn, or cheesy carrot bites into your kid’s lunchbox for a daily serving of fruit and veg.
Or add in our yummy greek-style natural yoghurt drops, paired with a wide variety of fruit options, such as berries, banana, passionfruit, and gold kiwi. These healthy lunchtime treats are sugar-free and contain probiotics for healthy tummies.
Check if your school has restrictions on lunch food
Many schools have policies to reduce the risk of accidental exposure to food-based allergies. These foods include peanuts, dairy, gluten, and egg.
As some schools have a zero-waste policy, you may want to look at purchasing bento boxes that feature multiple compartments to reduce plastic usage.
Involve your kids in preparation
Getting your kids involved in lunch prep can help introduce picky eaters to new foods and teach them the importance of nutrition.
Browse popular recipes online for great ideas and make a weekly meal plan together. Then place some ingredients on the kitchen table and let the kids brainstorm their own healthy lunches.
So how do you get kids interested in a healthy lunch? Start with using the same ingredients you ate for dinner or a big weekend breakfast. For example, you could transform leftover rice, veggies, cream cheese, and fish into a delicious sushi-style lunch.
Asking your children to try one new food a week will also expand your lunchbox recipe options.
Tried-and-tested lunchbox ideas
Use a variety of breads to keep it interesting, such as rolls, bagels, focaccia, pita bread, or tortillas. Use butter sparingly; almond butter, ricotta, or mashed avocado are great substitutes.
You can pull these delicious sandwich alternatives together in five minutes using leftover meat from dinner. Add extra protein and veggies on the side, such as peeled baby carrots with hummus.
Some sandwich ideas:
- Curried egg and ham wrap
- Ham and cheese pinwheel
- Pizza pockets or pizza kabobs
- Spicy lamb or chicken wrap
Vegetarian sandwich variations:
- Cheese quesadilla
- Almond butter and jam sandwich
- Baked falafel with edamame beans
Pasta and Salads
You’ll have a yummy addition to the kids’ lunchbox in under 10 minutes using leftovers.
Try these pasta and salad recipe ideas:
- Cold pasta salad
- Potato salad with bacon
- Rice salad
- Tuna and hard-boiled eggs
- Nacho salad with tortilla chips and mango
- Noodle salad with olive oil, sugar snap peas, and baby corn
- Pumpkin, feta, and chickpea salad
Spread with marinara sauce or hummus, shredded mozzarella cheese, veggies your kids love, then one or more of the following toppings:
- Chopped deli meat
- Black olives
- Halved grape tomatoes
- Sliced red bell peppers/capsicums
- Shredded carrots
- Cherry tomatoes
- Feta cheese
Serve your children fruit skewers from all colours of the rainbow. They’re visually attractive and provide a wide range of nutrients.
Select seasonal varieties such as grapes, strawberries, melon, and pineapple, and chop them into ready-to-eat bite-sized pieces. They’re great paired with a sandwich and yoghurt, cheese sticks, or cottage cheese. Add french toast bites with maple syrup for an extra sweet treat.
An easy frittata recipe begins with six large eggs, ¼ cup of dairy, and two cups of veggies. Add meat and cheese to ensure you have an item from each food group.
Switch up the flavours with:
- Sun-dried tomatoes, baby spinach, green pesto, grated cheese
- Sliced ham and roast potato
- Chorizo, grape tomatoes, and olives
Shop delicious snacks with Kiwigarden
Shop online with Kiwigarden for nourishing nibbles made from the freshest New Zealand ingredients. When you create these tasty recipes for your kids’ lunchboxes, you’ll provide their growing bodies with the nutrients and energy they need. Get free shipping on all NZ orders over $35, and pay just $9.50 for orders to Australia over $50.