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BIG LIST OF 94 HEALTHY SCHOOL LUNCH BOX IDEAS

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Here is a list of 94 healthy school lunch box ideas, including sandwich filling ideas, that will make sure kids happily eat all their lunch at school every day.

It can be really hard coming up with ideas of what to pack into school lunch boxes. Kids can be incredibly picky and when you do find something they like there will come a point when they’re bored of it and want a change. Often with little warning!!

So, if you’re looking for inspiration for what to put into your kids’ lunch boxes that they will definitely want to eat, whilst also ensuring they are getting a mix of healthy and nutritious food each day, this is the list for you.

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Great ideas for school lunch boxes

BIG LIST OF 94 SCHOOL LUNCH BOX IDEAS

1. SANDWICH FILLINGS

Sandwichs don’t just have to involve two slices of bread. Make them with bagels, pitta bread or wraps to keep things interesting. Here are some ideas for sandwich fillings that kids will love.

  1. Brie and bacon
  2. Brie and grape 
  3. Cheese and ham
  4. Cheese and marmite/vegemite 
  5. Cheese and pickle 
  6. Cheese and tomato
  7. Chicken slices and salad
  8. Cream cheese and cucumber
  9. Cream cheese and red pesto
  10. Cucumber
  11. Egg mayonnaise
  12. Egg mayonnaise and cucumber
  13. Egg mayonnaise and tomato
  14. Feta cheese and cucumber
  15. Feta cheese and tomato
  16. Fresh spinach and hummus
  17. Goats cheese and bacon 
  18. Goats cheese and pear 
  19. Goat’s cheese and grilled vegetables 
  20. Grilled vegetables and hummus
  21. Ham and pickle
  22. Ham, tomato and lettuce
  23. Ham and avocado
  24. Ham and Cheddar Cheese
  25. Ham and cheese
  26. Ham and tomato
  27. Hummus and grilled vegetables
  28. PB&J – peanut butter and jam/jelly (go for low sugar jam/jelly)
  29. Salami and cream cheese
  30. Salami and tomato
  31. Sliced sausage and tomato 
  32. Smashed avocado and chopped tomato
  33. Smashed avocado and cream cheese
  34. Smashed avocado and smashed boiled egg
  35. Smashed banana sandwiches
  36. Tinned salmon and cucumber 
  37. Tuna and cream cheese
  38. Tuna mayonnaise
  39. Turkey slices and salad

2. NON-SANDWICH SAVOURY LUNCH BOX IDEAS

  1. Hardboiled eggs
  2. Egg mayonnaise in a pot
  3. Pot of hummus with vegetable sticks for dipping
  4. Smoked tofu cubes
  5. Cheese cubes
  6. Spanish omelette (egg and potato omelette)
  7. Slice of quiche/mini quiche
  8. Pizza slices
  9. Savoury muffins
  10. Arancini balls
  11. Fritatta
  12. Grilled halloumi slices
  13. Pot of pasta salad
  14. Cheese scone (Biscuit)
  15. Slice of lasagna
  16. Flask of soup
  17. Couscous – with tomato, cucumber, mint

3.HEALTHY SAVOURY SNACKS

  1. Healthy savoury crackers
  2. Edemame beans
  3. Plantain crisps/chips
  4. Chick pea puffs
  5. Pretzels
  6. Rice cakes
  7. Seaweed
  8. Nuts (if school is not nut-free)
  9. Baked sunflower seeds
  10. Olives – without stones
  11. Lightly salted popcorn

4. FRUIT AND YOGHURT

  1. Sliced grapes (sliced lengthways for safety)
  2. Watermelon slices
  3. Melon slices
  4. Apple cut into chunks
  5. Pear cut into chunks
  6. Tangerines or satsumas
  7. Blueberries
  8. Raspberries
  9. Strawberries
  10. Blackberries
  11. Cherries
  12. Banana
  13. Mango slices
  14. Raisins
  15. Dried strawberries
  16. Dried mango
  17. Yoghurt coated raisins
  18. Fruit yoghurt – check sugar content
  19. Greek yoghurt with honey

5. VEGETABLES

  1. Cucumbers (sticks or slices)
  2. Carrots
  3. Celery
  4. Avocado – mashed in a pot of halved with a drizzle of olive oil
  5. Cherry tomatoes
  6. Potato salad
  7. Coleslaw
  8. Pot of salad – leaves, tomatoes, cucumber
  9. Olives

TIPS FOR PACKING A HEALTHY SCHOOL LUNCH BOX

It is really important to make sure that you kids have something healthy to eat at school at lunchtime. It’s not just about making sure they don’t go hungry, it’s about they have the energy and attention span to focus during class.

1. INCLUDE SOMETHING FILLING

Always include a main savour lunch box item that will really fill your child up. Go for wholegrain foods where possible, because wholegrains have a lower GI (glycaemic index) which means they do not affect blood glucose levels as quickly as refined carbohydrate foods.

So opt for brown bread over white, wholewheat pasta and brown rice.

2. YOUR FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND

Keep things varied without wasting money by buying a selection of savoury variations on sandwhiches and freezing them. I always have bagels, sliced bread and wraps in our freezer.

When I have time I also batch prepare food and freeze it to be used later for a packed lunch. I also sometimes make an extra batch of a family dinner and freeze it for school lunches.

3. ENGAGE PICKY EATERS WITH INTERACTIVE LUNCHES

It can be a real challenge to get picky eaters to arrive home with an empty lunch box. So make their lunch as interesting as possible for them, by giving them things to dip, unwrap or put together at lunchtime.

Use a bento box to keep food at its best in separate compartments that kids can then dip into at lunchtime.

4. INCLUDE VEGETABLES

Just like the rest of us, kids need to eat plenty of vegetables every day. This can be hard to do if the only time they are given vegetables is with their evening meal. So make sure to include vegetables in their lunch box.

Vegetables that work well for lunch boxes include:

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cucumber sticks or chunks
  • Celery
  • Chunks of pepper

5. GO FOR REAL CHEESE

Avoid processed cheese, even though it is heavily marketed for kids. Mild cheddar is always popular with little kids because the flavour isn’t overwhelming. Brie is another good option.

6. CAREFUL WITH THE CRISPS

Ideally skip crisps as snacks for kids lunches, they are just not that healthy. Also be aware that baked crisps aren’t any healthier than other crisps, even though they are marketed as being a healthier option. As with a lot of other low-fat food, sugar is added instead, so they’re not healthier at all.

7. MAKE FRUIT EASY TO EAT

One of the biggest issues with fruit is that it can involve a little more work than other foods to eat – which can lead to it being left in a lunch box, day after day. So taking a little time to prepare the fruit can help, chop apples, peel satsumas, half grapes (also good for safety), cut larger fruit into easy to handle slices. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over it to stop it going brown.

8. INVOLVE KIDS TO ENGAGE THEM

Get reluctant eaters involved in choosing and preparing their lunch box, they are far more likely to eat what’s in their lunch box if they’ve helped get it ready.

9. AVOID SUGARY DRINKS

All kids really need is water to keep hydrated.

10. LIMIT HIGH SUGAR FOODS

We all know too much sugar is bad for all of us, but it’s also important not to give kids a sugar spike with their school lunch to ensure they don’t suffer a big sugar drop in the afternoon that affects their concentration in class.

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Lunch box ideas for kids