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Healthy Lunchboxes Fact Sheet

A healthy school lunch gives children energy to learn and play. Packing a nutritious lunch helps your child to eat well and influences their future eating habits. Involving your child in planning, shopping for and preparing their lunchbox develops their ability to make healthy choices and enjoy good food.

A healthy lunchbox

The food eaten at school should be about a third of the food consumed over the course of a day. Typically this would consist of lunch and a snack. Ideally this would include:

What to do when it's not working

Even when you're doing all the right things the lunchbox food may come home uneaten.

Get creative

Encourage your children to help prepare and pack their own school lunchbox. They can make their own snack packs from fresh ingredients which you can buy in bulk such as a small box or bag of dried fruit, rice cakes or unsalted and unsweetened popcorn. The internet offers a multitude of creative ideas if you search for healthy school lunchboxes.

Lunchbox menu ideas

There are a number of web sites referenced below that offer mix and match sample menus to help you keep the lunchboxes varied and so keep your kids interested in the food you provide. The following examples come from the NSW Healthy Kids website.

Lunchbox 1

Lunchbox 2

Lunchbox 3

Lunchbox 4

* Where children do not have allergies or intolerance to nuts. Take note of the school's Anaphylaxis policy.

Food safety

When packing a school lunch, it is important to consider how the lunch will be kept cool to prevent foods and drinks from spoiling. If food is not stored properly, bacteria in the food can grow and make your children sick. For this reason it is essential to keep school lunches cool. Lunches kept in children's school bags all day are likely to get warm, and foods such as meat or cheese sandwiches, milk, cheese and yoghurt must be kept cool.

Try the following:


Fresh Tastes –

The Heart Foundation – healthy-eating for mums has a variety of tools and recipes.

The ACT Government and Canberra Hospital and Health services TuckaTalk Pack a Lunch With Some Punch Fact sheet.

Nutrition Australia What's For Lunch? Fact sheets and recipes

ACT@Nutrition Australia, Packing The School Lunchbox.

Lunchbox ideas and other resources at the NSW Government website

Additional resources

Good Habits for life for ACT Parents

Go to and search for nutrition

Nude Food Days promoting unpackaged food in lunchboxes

Resources for families about suitable nutrition for children

Healthy Lunchboxes fact sheet pdf print version PDF File (242kb)