Skip links and keyboard navigation

Back to school with these handy lunchbox ideas

As the school year resumes, you might be looking for inspiration to create school lunches that are healthy, easy to prepare and will silence hungry tummies.

As a parent or carer of children, coming up with tasty and healthy lunchbox ideas every week for your kids can be overwhelming. But healthy, delicious food doesn’t have to be difficult to prepare and don’t worry if your child likes to eat the same school lunch every day!

Queensland Health is here to help with a new handy recipe book filled with healthy lunchbox tips to help with the back to school routine.

The Healthy Lunchboxes Recipe Book is now available online on the Healthier.Happier website.

This school year, you can choose from tropical pizza or the Aussie kids favourite of vegemite sandwiches for your kids’ lunchboxes.

If your kids have a healthy appetite, pesto chicken wraps or chicken rice paper rolls are a winner and quantities can easily be increased.

Queensland Health’s Executive Director Preventive Health Branch, Mark West, said healthy food gives young minds and bodies the fuel they need to grow and learn.

“I know we all lead busy lives and often it’s easier to go for pre-packaged and highly-processed snacks in school lunchboxes to save time," Mr West said.

“But highly-processed foods can have a significantly higher level of saturated fat, salt and sugar as well as being low in vital nutrients, and are not a healthy option for your children on a daily basis.

“To provide healthy ideas for school lunchboxes, we’ve put together some simple ideas.  

“It’s important to remember to include items across the core food groups. Start with the main item of your kid’s lunch, whether it be a wholegrain sandwich, roll or a wrap. Try adding a vegetable such as lettuce, spinach leaves or avocado.

“Then think about fruit and vegetables such as an apple, carrots or capsicum sticks or you could include a fruit kebab or cut up vegetables to pair with a hummus dip.

“Don’t forget about your kid’s teeth and bones and include a reduced fat dairy item such as yoghurt or cheese.

“Snacks are important for children who can often be too busy (playing) to eat a larger lunch. Great healthy snacks include fruit, vegetables, yoghurt, cheese and crackers, pikelets or scones.

“It’s a good idea to go food shopping with your kids and let them choose the fruits and vegetables they want to eat – to avoid the lunchbox sitting at the bottom of their school bag at the end of the day,” Mr West said.

Queensland Children’s Hospital dietitian Michelle Fuery added healthy food options in addition to exercise was important with 25 per cent of Queensland children overweight or obese.

“We’re seeing increased incidences of type 2 diabetes, largely due to the obesity epidemic, in children and adolescents,” Ms Fuery said.

“That’s why it really is important to focus on healthy food options as well as encouraging kids to get active.

“Starting those behaviours early will help protect our kids through childhood but also through adulthood as well,” she said.

To help plan your kid’s lunches, the online recipe book sets out recipes in a five-day planner, with three bonus combo ideas if you want to mix it up.

You can download the guide or print out a copy and keep it handy in the kitchen – stick it to your fridge or whiteboard.

The new recipe book is available here on the Healthier.Happier website.

The Healthier.Happier website is filled with healthy recipes, fun exercise videos and handy guides to help you and your family eat better and get active.


Media contact: 3708 5376

Last updated: 2 February 2021