In Australia, every school term has about 50 days. Every school year has about 200 days. That’s a lot of days to pack lunchboxes! You can either look at these days with dread, or you can look at these as days as ones where you have the chance to pack food that helps your kids be the best they can be. I’ve had my days where I dreaded packing lunchboxes. Fortunately, I developed a system to pack healthy lunchboxes in about 5 minutes a day and now I look at every school day as a chance to pack a lunchbox which helps my kids. This is why I am sharing this simple template with 5 Steps To Pack A Healthy Lunchbox. I’ve also added in some lunchbox ideas for inspiration. Remember to print off this template – it can be a great tool for you but also makes it easy to get your kids involved in packing their lunchboxes too.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Nutritionist Jo Atkinson from Whole Family Wellness who collaborated with me on this template to help ensure the template remained simple but still ticked the boxes of a nutritionally balanced lunchbox.
Why Are School Lunchboxes So Important?
For many children, Monday to Friday, the food in their school lunchbox makes up about 30-40% of their food intake. Our kids are all growing. They need food which nourishes them, that supports their growth and development. They need food which actually helps their concentration and their ability to learn.
Much of a child’s growth, development and learning happens at school – that’s why we send them, right? So it makes sense that their lunchbox food is important.
Unfortunately, many lunchboxes are loaded with packaged processed foods which do little to nourish our children’s bodies and brains. We’re told these foods are convenient but at what cost to our kids health and learning? Packing a healthy lunchbox your child eats, doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these 5 steps and you’ll be on the right track.
5 Steps To Pack A Healthy Lunchbox
1. Pack A Fruit
This is simple. Ask your kids to choose 1 or 2 fruits for the week, buy them on the weekend. Then rotate them during the week.
2. Pack At Least 1 Vegetable
Simple again. Ask your kids to choose at least one vegetable, buy them on the weekend. Then include it in the lunchbox. You may have more success with including vegetables if you include a dip too.
3. A Great Main Lunch
Sandwiches are still pretty much standard fare for main lunches, but it doesn’t have to be – think leftovers from dinner, they can make great main lunches.
The secret to a great main lunch is to include the following:
- a good quality protein source such as roast chicken or turkey (not the deli meat variety), beef, tofu, beans etc
- a healthy fat such as real butter, avocado, or salmon
- a whole grain source – to if you’re having sandwiches, make them count by having a wholegrain bread or include other whole grain sources such as brown rice or quinoa
- if you’re eating dairy, then include a dairy source in the main lunch or as an extra to it.
4. Add A Healthy Snack
Include a homemade snack, one where you have controlled the amount of sugar and is obviously additive and preservative free. Or if you haven’t had time to bake, then consciously choose a snack from the supermarket. I say consciously because I mean don’t believe the front of the packet, turn that baby over and read the ingredients. Make sure you are happy these ingredients are helping your kids bodies and brains.
5. Include a Water Bottle
Water is the only drink our children require at school. They do not need juice, or even milk. They can have these at home if you wish them to have them. At school, they need water to keep them hydrated and replace the water they use whilst running around and playing. Water – nothing else – your children and their teachers will thank you!
Print this template
Be sure to print off this template and laminate it. Then stick it up near where you pack the lunchboxes as a constant reminder. This will help for those mornings or nights when everything turns to poop as they sometimes do in a household.
Main Lunchbox Inspiration
Here’s some inspiration to get your started.
Chicken Salad Wrap – a key to making any wrap or sandwich so it doesn’t go soggy is to use a paper towel to dry moisture from the wetter ingredients (eg. tomatoes), and then put these in the centre. Place the less moist ingredients next to the wrap or bread.
Marinated Chicken Drummers – grab the recipe here.
Pizza – here’s a simple flat bread recipe which I use to make Pizza’s
Tuna mixed with cream cheese, and lettuce on rye sour dough. Egg, salmon, chicken, home made baked beans – these all make great sandwich fillings too.
Rice Paper Rolls – these are stuffed with left over roast chicken, vermicelli noodles, and salad. I’ve also stuffed them with tuna, or marinated tofu, or even falafel balls.
Home Made Baked Beans with plain corn chips.
Needing More Help?
If sometime throughout the term, packing lunchboxes makes you feel like you’re taking crazy pills or you’re just looking for some extra inspiration, then be sure to check out The 5 Minute Healthy Lunchbox System eCourse. It’s a 5 week self paced eCourse delivered direct to your inbox. Included is my fool proof system that helps you pack lunches in about 5 minutes a day, that your kids will eat. Plus education modules, 140 recipes, 12 weeks of menu plans and shopping lists, a wonderful group of like minded parents in the special Facebook community and loads of expert contributors who share their wisdom too. Oh, and because I am a mum too, and I know that sometimes things we start get derailed by our busy life, you get access to all this information for 12 months. This way, when things do go to poop, you can always pick up where you left off. It’s all accessible from your phone or ipad too. Learn more and enrol here.
You may also like to read:
Is A Sandwich Healthy? – a sandwich can be a great main lunch option but this really depends on the quality of the sandwich. This post explores this in much more detail.
5 Simple Steps To Read A Packet Label – learn how to consciously read a packet label so you can make better choices.
How To Get Your Kids To Eat Cold Leftovers – once you’ve got your family eating cold leftovers, lunchboxes become a breeze. Here’s how I trained my family to eat most meals the next day – COLD!