5 Practical & Nourishing Kids Lunchbox Ideas They Will Love!

Content by: 180 Nutrition

healthy kids lunchbox ideas

Angela: I’m a mum of two little boys and like Emma I’m very passionate about feeding them wholefood and teaching them about balance and how to fuel their bodies. I love Emma’s practical lunchbox ideas. Over to Emma…

Emma: Just over 1 year ago now school lunches in our house used to look very different from the picture above. How things have changed! It’s so important to me now to feed them truly nourishing meals. The kids weren’t too stoked about it at first and some days they still come home complaining about their lunch, but it is getting easier and I am determined to stick to my guns – this is a battle I WILL win!

Difference in Nutritional Value

I decided to work out the combined nutritional information in “old vs new” lunches in our house and was a little bit shocked. The old had almost 60g of combined sugar which is equivalent to 13tsp or 1/4 of a cup!

sugar kids lunches

Half of this is from the fruit but it is still sugar. I now choose fruit with a lower sugar content and rarely give bananas. The new lunch box has 23g combined sugar = 5 tsp (15g from fruit). It has 66% less carbs, 50% more protein, is higher in saturated fat and lower in sodium. There is less food but because of the nutritional breakdown, it is just as filling if not more so and it will provide sustained energy – not give energy spikes like the old lunch will.

Fuel Their Brains

It is so important to feed kids well in order for them to concentrate in school and have the energy to play at lunchtime and participate in after school activities. Feeding them with sugar and carbs is like putting paper on a fire, it will burn fast then go out. Stoke it up with hard-wood and it will burn long and hot.

Feed your kids GOOD food – additive free, protein, good fats, veggies, fruit and unrefined carbs. This will fill their bellies, fuel their brains and keep their furnaces burning steadily!


Old vs New Lunches

Old Lunch: Fruit yoghurt, potato chips, banana, apple, muesli bar, peanut butter sandwiches, crackers…

New Lunch: Here are some lunches – they are all different so not really a typical week – I will make a batch of something at the beginning of the week and use it for a few days then make something new:

  • MONDAYhealthy kids lunchbox monday
  • Yoghurt blended with 180 Superfood, banana & berries – set in fridge overnight
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Homemade meatballs
  • Sliced orange
  • Sliced avo (tossed in some water and lemon juice to stop going brown)
  • Grain-free Chocolate Muffin
  • TUESDAYhealthy kids lunchbox tuesday
  • Avocado slices (tossed in water and lemon juice to keep fresh)
  • Slices of cheese (just cut off a block)
  • Baby carrot
  • Dates
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Cut kiwifruit
  • 180 Superfood and Spelt Spiced Raisin Bread with Butter
  • WEDNESDAYhealthy kids lunchboxwednesday
  • Cut apple
  • Plum (this was a summer lunch box)
  • Cucumber, cheese, carrot sticks, cherry tomato
  • Spelt flour cheese scone with butter
  • Lemon Coconut Blueberry and Cream Cheese Muffin
  • THURSDAYhealthy kids lunchbox thursday
  • Date and Apple slice with butter
  • Pizza pinwheels
  • Cut orange
  • Cut kiwifruit
  • 2 dates
  • Spelt flour chocolate chip cookie
  • FRIDAYhealthy kids lunchbox friday
  • Yoghurt blended with Chocolate 180 Superfood, banana, avocado and berries – set in fridge overnight then topped with frozen raspberries
  • 180 Superfood Nut Bar
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mandarine
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Biltong
  • Small tomato
  • Cheese

Some things I find help:

  • Cut fruit up – kids struggle with getting through a whole piece of fruit
  • Lots of colour makes it interesting and appealing
  • Make baking small – mini muffins, small pieces of cake etc – bite sized is more likely to be eaten
  • Make sure you remember a spoon or fork if needed!
  • Don’t give them too much, lunches like this are much more filling that traditional sandwiches, chips, bikkie etc. so don’t be afraid to not fill up the lunch box!

What we eat DOES matter and the sooner we can teach our kids to eat good food the sooner change will happen! “All social change comes from the passion of individuals”, be one of those passionate individuals – make a change, this is an investment in your children’s future!

Visit Emma’s Wholefood Family Facebook group here.

180 Nutrition

This article was curated by 180 Nutrition who were founded in March 2010 with the goal to offer the very best in natural health supplements and resources. The passionate team are aligned with leading health and wellness professionals including nutritionists, naturopaths, functional medicine and exercise specialists. They regularly connect with... Read More

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6 Replies to “5 Practical & Nourishing Kids Lunchbox Ideas They Will Love!”
Jo says:

Thanks for this information – always helpful!
What lunch boxes do you use that have the separate compartments?
Many thanks

Emma says:

Hi Jo, I use Sistema ones (NZ made). There are a lot of different compartment lunch boxes around at the moment, including some amazing stainless steel ones (little bit more pricey). Check out your supermarket or local department store.

jacqui says:

I’m not sure about your reasoning for not including bananas in your children’s diet but these fruits are one of the top 10 fruits that everyone should eat. They help build strong muscles. Strengthen the nervous system has vitamin C and B6 and a great energy booster. They are 76% water. Also contain potassium – which is good for behavior as lots of people are deficient in this element especially children. There is a lot more to bananas than people realise, please don’t discount these as they have huge benefits for the body and mind.
I really like your overall health foods for kiddies lunch boxes. I have 5 of them and can be a challenge at times.

Emma says:

Hi Jacqui, I do feed them bananas, I just give them small ones and not every day or sometimes I will put one in a smoothies that is shared between 3 children. What you say is right, I am just trying to get people to think outside the square and not use them as a must in lunch boxes or as an every-day go to snack. They are full of good stuff but they also contain a lot of sugar and will not provide long lasting energy as a snack on their own. They are great as part of a balanced diet that also contains protein, good fats, loads of veggies, fresh whole fruit and some whole grains. You are right, bananas are great and I would much rather someone eat a banana than a muesli bar or packet of chips! I am on a journey as well when it comes to my own and my children’s nutrition :-).

Thanks for your query

Janene says:

Thanks so much.
Love these ideas. I have a 10 yr old sugar addicted son….
My concern is he’ll just not eat and then comes home GRUMPY, EMOTIONAL etc….
He also has after school sports activities every day.
Would you ride out the Hangry episodes? Cos I end up caving just to stop them…

Guy Lawrence says:

I’d try and ensure he has a filling breakfast, a nutritious lunch and maybe a smoothie when he gets back from school. Superfood snacks like muffins and brownies are a great way to sneak in the nutrients disguised as a treat 🙂

Comments are closed.