What makes a school lunch great

It’s just as important that your child eat healthy lunches and snacks at school as it is when she’s at home. Nutritious school lunches are important as they will provide the fuel for her learning. Try encouraging your child to be involved in the preparation of her lunch each day – if she has a say into what’s going into her lunchbox each day, she’ll be more likely to eat it.

Because school lunch time is short, and your child may be more interested in playing with her friends than eating, it’s best to stick to a lunch that:

  • can be eaten cold
  • doesn’t need refrigeration other than a cold pack
  • isn’t hard to handle
  • isn’t going to make the rest of her lunch smell

For all these reasons, it’s no wonder that the humble sandwich is still the mainstay of most schoolyard lunches.

Six of the best for the lunch box

When you’re packing the lunch box, try to include:

  • Fruit
  • Dairy – a carton of yoghurt is the easy choice, or cheese cubes or sticks, or a frozen smoothie
  • Protein – try a slice of ham or chicken on the sandwich, or wrap up a cooked chicken leg, a hard-boiled egg, or pop in some hummus with vege stick dippers
  • Carbohydrate – sandwich bread, crackers, muffins or cold pasta salad
  • Vegetables – carrot sticks or strips of red pepper are popular, also cherry tomatoes, lettuce, sugar snap peas, or cucumber slices
  • Water

Bread choices

Bread, in the form of a sandwich, is the most common lunch box food for kids. If your child is bored of having the same old sandwiches each day, try changing the type of bread. There’s a range of breads that include:

  • sliced bread (white, white high fibre, wholemeal, multigrain, rye)
  • pita bread
  • Lebanese or Turkish bread
  • bread rolls
  • English muffins
  • bagels
  • tortillas
  • soft tacos


This article was written by Ella Walsh and adapted for Kidspot NZ.

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