Healthy lunch box ideas for school


Healthy lunch box ideas for school

Published January 2023 | 2 min read
Words by Tiffiny Hall

Need easy lunch box ideas for your kids? Tiffiny Hall, fitness expert, cookbook author and mum of two shares her tips on what to pack and how to feed fussy eaters.

Packing a great school lunch box for your kids doesn’t have to be complicated or involve hours of prep. It’s helpful to have a rotation of lunch box ideas and recipes on hand to take the thinking out of a busy morning, so you send your child off to school with a nutritious lunch minus the stress.

How to make a healthy lunch box for kids

Our little ones should be eating a diet full of nutrition and variety – this will keep them full of energy and help them concentrate. When packing their lunch boxes, stick to these four simple rules:

  1. Variety. Include colourful, varied fruits and vegetables which are packed with fibre and essential vitamins.
  2. Protein. A balanced diet includes a source of lean protein like chicken, eggs or turkey. This is super important for our kids to sustain energy throughout the school day.
  3. Whole grains. Oats, wholegrain pasta, wholegrain bread and wholegrain crackers are packed with fibre, protein and vitamins and are sure to keep their tummies fuller for longer.
  4. Dairy. Occasionally add a dairy source, like Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese or milk.

Healthy sandwich fillings for kids

On days when you only have time to put two pieces of bread together, go for variety. Mixing up what we put in our sandwiches is key to a balanced diet. Plus, it keeps our children interested come lunchtime. Here are some simple and fun sandwich fillers to try:

  • egg and lettuce
  • cheese and Vegemite with avocado
  • cucumber and hummus
  • tuna, cheese and lettuce
  • turkey and cheese.

Lunch box ideas that aren’t sandwiches

We know kids can lose interest quickly, especially when it comes to food. Sandwiches can get boring! So, it’s a good idea to mix up their lunch box with other meals that provide them with the protein and carbohydrates they need.

Try a few of my favourite sandwich alternatives:

Easy, tasty lunch box recipes

I love to batch-cook slices and fritters and make healthy treats ahead of time as they can easily be frozen or kept in the fridge. They make packing lunches in the mornings much easier.

Pre-cutting vegetables and fruits is also a great way to get organised. Place everything into containers and get kids involved by having them pick what they want to pack for their lunch box.

Lunch box recipes to try

Here are two of Tiffiny's lunchtime favourites.

Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1

  • 75g chicken breast skinless
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (45g) wholegrain (or gluten-free) pita wrap
  • 2 iceberg lettuce leaves, shredded
  • ½ tbs parmesan
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Place chicken, ¼ tsp salt and egg in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 3cm. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for five minutes. Remove egg, chilling in cold water, and continue to cook chicken for another three-to-four minutes, skimming any white scum from the surface. Stand chicken for five minutes, before removing and slicing. Peel and roughly chop egg.
  2. Arrange chicken and egg on wrap, top with lettuce and scatter over parmesan.
  3. Season, roll wrap and cut into two to serve.

Oatmeal, Banana & Dark Choc Cookies

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes: 12

  • 3 bananas (very ripe), mashed
  • 85g apple puree
  • 2 cups rolled oats (or brown rice flakes or quinoa flakes if gluten free)
  • ¼ cup milk (or dairy-free alternative)
  • ¼ cup 70% dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine bananas, apple puree, oats and milk in a medium bowl. Stir through chocolate chips until well combined.
  3. Spoon onto prepared tray and flatten with the back of the spoon.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden.

A helping hand with kids’ nutrition

Nutrition is important at every stage of kids' development, but we know setting up healthy habits and getting kids to eat a healthy balanced diet can be challenging. That’s why we’ve partnered with Ethos Health to bring our members, Healthy Families for Life* designed to encourage kids to develop positive eating habits for growth and development.

More Recipes


This muesli bar recipe is packed full of healthy oats and nuts. It’s a great healthy lunch box idea for kids and adults alike.


When kids get hungry they want food fast. Avert a junk food feeding frenzy by being prepared.


A san choy bao recipe for kids: as they can build it themselves and eat with their hands, this is a messy but fun recipe with pork or chicken on lettuce leaves.


A feel-good family recipe with wholesome and nutritious ingredients.


* All HCF members with any HCF health insurance product (excluding Overseas Visitors Health Cover) are eligible to access the Healthy Families for Life online resources. Other conditions apply for additional support.

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