Here’s what to pack for the perfect back-to-school lunch

Children may know what foods are healthy, but they do not always like them. Picture: Pexels/Vanessa Loring

Children may know what foods are healthy, but they do not always like them. Picture: Pexels/Vanessa Loring

Published Jan 22, 2024


The hardest part of going back to school is the grind of packing lunches day after day and ensuring that something resembling a nutritious meal is consumed.

So what can you pack that is healthy, not time-consuming, and that your kids will eat?

The first thing I would suggest is to keep nutritious foods in mind. If possible, consider packing a variety of foods with immune-supporting nutrients, such as vitamins C and D, zinc, and protein, and try to keep added sugars to a minimum.

Children may know what is healthy, but they do not always like it. You will not win every battle, but the tips below could help you to get your child to follow a healthier diet.

Fruits and vegetables have health-promoting properties and are top of the list of ‘good’ foods. Picture: Pexels/Manuel Joseph

Always include fruit and vegetables

You can start by asking your child what fruits and vegetables they would enjoy eating for lunch, but you may have to rethink how to make healthy food more kid-friendly.

For example, a sliced-up pear or apple may be much more appealing than a whole one. Fruits or vegetables are a necessity.

Even if it is just dried apricots, cucumber slices, salad, or carrot sticks, make them fun.

The meal

Try wholegrain foods such as wholewheat crackers, tortillas, pita bread, or granola bars. For protein, you can give them plain yoghurt (you can always jazz it up by mixing it with fruits or veggies), boiled eggs, chicken breasts (sliced), or cheese (cubed).

Crackers and cheese. Picture: Pexels/Gül Işık


Health experts advise that you make snacks a part of your daily diet. For example, peanut butter balls.

You can make these using dried fruit and rolled oats dipped into peanut butter (there are some great recipes online).

Crackers and cheese are another option. For example, rice cakes or wholewheat crackers with cottage cheese and cucumber (remember three crackers are the equivalent of one slice of bread).


And what about the drink? Try fruit-infused water. Infusing water with fresh fruits or herbs is nutritious and can help increase the intake of vitamins and minerals.

Making it can be a fun activity for children. You can also give them coconut water. Unsweetened coconut water is a good choice for children as it provides electrolytes and nutrients, including vitamin C.