Fantastic Lunch Box Ideas for Kids!

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) have produced a wonderful leaflet, Healthier Packed Lunches, which will be made available to schools, teachers and parents in the UK. The leaflet is designed to give them a better idea of what makes a nutritious packed lunch, for 5-11 year olds.

Many kids lunch boxes contain salt, sugar and saturated fat in quantities well above the recommended limits. When surveyed, researchers found that 23% of parents were confused about what foods should be in their child’s lunch box.

Main lunch box components

Lunches should be made up of a variety of foods from the four main food groups:

  • One portion of vegetables, or salad, and one portion of fruit.
  • One portion of a milk, cheese, or yoghurt.
  • One portion of meat, chicken, fish, eggs, or peanut butter.
  • One portion of a starchy food, such as bread, pasta, rice, noodles or potato.

To accompany the healthier packed lunches leaflet, the BNF have come up with a host of menu ideas for healthy packed lunches. All of their suggestions have been nutritionally analysed, and are consistent with the nutrient requirements of children aged 5-11 years.

You can check out their website for the complete list, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Tortilla wrap with grilled chicken, lettuce and red pepper slices (with reduced calorie mayonnaise).
  • Cherry tomatoes.
  • Banana.
  • Fruit fromage frais.
  • Carton of apple juice.
  • Rice, bean and ham salad (boiled rice, kidney beans, green beans and chopped ham) with a little olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Peach or nectarine.
  • Low fat fruit yogurt.
  • Slice of banana bread.
  • Bottle of water.
  • Wholemeal pitta with ham, reduced fat Edam cheese and green pepper slices (with reduced fat spread).
  • Handful of raisins.
  • Carton of rice pudding.
  • Rice crispie cake.
  • Carton of apple juice.
  • Soft white roll with grilled sausage, lettuce and tomato (with reduced fat spread and a little ketchup).
  • Celery and cucumber sticks.
  • Small tub of fruit cocktail in juice.
  • Low fat rice pudding.
  • Bottle of water.

I also come across some other wonderful resources, which you may want to check out as well:

  • Food Standards Agency – If you’re stuck for ideas, you’ll find a whole month of lunch box ideas here.
  • The School Food Trust – For guidance on packed lunches, innovative mid-morning snack ideas, and much more.

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophie September 18, 2007 at 11:22 pm

I like the idea of encouraging parents to pack a lunchbox by food group. It’s a very tangible way of ‘measuring’ what a healthy balance of food looks like but without being too constraining (especially for those parents trying to feed fussy eaters!)


Melanie September 19, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Sophie – Yes you are completely right! The BNF have definitely produced a wonderful resource for parents trying to provide nutritius packed lunches for their kids.

Many thanks for stopping by!


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