What our kids eat every day matters, children who don’t get proper nutrition can struggle to concentration in class, as well as potentially leading to various health risks later in life. Children really need all those essential vitamins and minerals to keep up at school, perform better academically and generally for their overall wellbeing and health. It's believed that students who eat three complete meals a day, including breakfast, have higher grades, fewer instances of absenteeism and fewer emotional and behavioural problems.*


{*Source: A Children’s Food Trust study has shown that children are three times more likely to concentrate in class after eating a healthy lunch}

This is where the average packed lunch box comes in. Soggy sandwiches, processed foods and snacks full of empty calories aren't going to inspire anyone. This can be a challenge for parents to come up with healthy lunches that are palatable to kids, quick to make, all without adding to the daily routine stress. What better way to encourage your child’s success than by giving them the daily fuel they need to excel?

Healthy lunches set kids up for Success

Early eating habits tend to stick with us into adult life. Developing healthier habits early on not only sets kids up for better health in the long-term, it also supports mental and physical development at every stage. Author and nutritionist Zita Steyn from Food Fights has shared some of her colourful and easy ideas for healthy lunches that even the fussiest child will enjoy— and most can be prepared in under fifteen minutes!

Packing a healthy lunch needn’t be difficult, expensive, unappetising or an effort—follow her guidelines below on what a child’s lunchbox would ideally include to pack a nutritional punch:

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  • One portion of fresh fruit (berries, grapes, apples, etc).
  • Three portions of vegetables (carrots, cucumber, broccoli, bell pepper, peas, asparagus, cherry tomatoes).
  • A healthy protein (beans, edamame, seeds, cheese, natural yoghurt, hummus, veggie burger, falafel, hardboiled egg).
  • A portion of complex carbohydrates (baked sweet potato, dried fruit, potato salad, whole grain pasta, bread, or crackers, brown rice, quinoa etc).
Healthy Kids Packed Lunch Box Ideas

Lunch Box Idea 1: Rainbow Wraps

Wraps are a fun alternative to the classic sandwich (no cutting off crusts!) and a chance to pack in a few more vitamins with sliced peppers and grated carrots.

Ingredients for the rainbow wrap:

wholemeal wrap or flatbread
1 – 2 tablespoons hummus or red pepper hummus
small handful baby leaf spinach
1 small carrot, coarsely grated
1/4 red pepper, cut into long strips (the long Romano variety works well here)

1. Spread the hummus evenly onto the wrap, leaving a border along the top end.
2. Place the spinach leaves down in a single layer, pile grated carrot into the centre and lay pepper sticks across.
3. Fold the bottom half over the fillings, ensuring you have a tight roll, then roll upward towards the top end. Cut in half or slice into thirds.

Fill lunch box with:

  • Fruit water (cucumber and mint)
  • Tangerine - A natural fruit sweet fix
  • Lightly salted popcorn - a great alternative snack to crisps
  • Boiled egg - A good source of protein
Healthy Kids Packed Lunch Box Ideas

Healthy Kids Packed Lunch Box Ideas

Lunch Box Idea 2: Wholemeal Pesto Pasta & Salmon

Kids can be funny with sauces and too many vegetables, so a fresh pesto with peas is a safe bet, easy to prepare and still delicious when eaten cold. Fussy eaters often go for plain chicken or nuggets, and replacing this with salmon adds variety to their protein source. The pineapple and yogurt honey dippers are a guaranteed winner!

Ingredients for the pasta:

medium bunch basil
small bunch dill, thickest part of stems discarded
medium bunch parsley, thickest part of stems discarded
1 small garlic clove, peeled
salt and pepper
about 80ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
cooked salmon (left-overs work well here)
cooked wholemeal pasta (save some of the cooking liquid)
handful of frozen peas


  1. Put the herbs, garlic, pinch of salt and black pepper in a food processor and blitz until roughly chopped.
  2. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil until you reach your desired consistency (the green “pesto” sauce should be loose enough to fold into cooked pasta).
    Combine the pesto with cooked pasta, cooked salmon or deboned trout, and defrosted frozen peas.
  3. Add a little more olive oil and pasta cooking liquid if it needs it.

Fill lunch box with:

  • Fruit water (lemon and lime)
  • Pineapple wedges, raspberries
  • Natural Greek yoghurt with pumpkin seeds and raw honey

Healthy Kids Packed Lunch Box Ideas

Lunch Box Idea 3: Mini Broccoli and Feta Frittata

Broccoli needn’t be kryptonite for kids. Scourge of children, broccoli is packed with goodness. It’s high in fibre, a good source of protein and filled with vitamins A, C, E, K and an array of B vitamins. Baking into a frittata can help kids get used to the vegetable and is less daunting for them than eating it plain. It’s also a great tray-bake, meaning there’s plenty left for Mum and Dad’s lunchboxes too.

Ingredients for the frittata:

2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
small pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
small knob of butter
handful of steamed broccoli florets (left-overs are great for this) 25g crumbled feta


  1. Whisk the eggs with the water, salt and pepper. Stir in the sliced spring onions.
  2. Heat the butter in a small ovenproof skillet or pan over a medium heat until sizzling, then pour the egg mix into the pan, and scatter over the broccoli and feta cheese.
  3. Cover the pan, turn the heat down and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the egg has just set.
  4. Pop the pan under a hot grill for half a minute if you’d like, to add some colour. Cool, turn out and slice to serve.

Fill Lunch bow with;

  • Fruit water (raspberries and blueberries)
  • Cucumber and carrot sticks with guacamole
  • Trail mix (sunflower seeds, coconut chips, chopped dates)

{Thank you to Compass Fostering for sharing these recipes with us. Recipes and images from Zita Steyn from Food Fights. Additional pictures from Getty Images }