Around a third of children's daily food intake occurs at school.  Providing a lunch box with food from each of the five food groups is an easy way to ensure kids get all the energy and nutrients they need. 

Providing healthy food for school will support the growth and development occurring over this phase of life, and can help to develop life-long healthy eating habits to reduce the risk of unhealthy weight later in life.

Did you know? An ideal lunch box should have:


1. Fruit

as snacks


2. Vegetables

as snacks or as a filling

Breads and Cereals

3. Breads & Cereals

wholegrain or multigrain


4. Dairy rich in calcium

reduced fat milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives


5. Meat and meat alternatives

rich in protein

Bottle of Water

6. A drink

water is the best

Following this guide will keep your child on track to reaching the recommended daily intakes.

Healthy Child Guidelines

Packed with goodness cover

 The Crunch&Sip resource ‘Packed with Goodness’ has even more lunchbox and snack ideas for healthy kids and busy parents.


Sandwich alternatives

Sandwiches are a great, simple option for school lunchboxes. However, if you find it difficult to find the time to make sandwiches, or you find children are tired of them, try our sandwich alternatives. LiveLighter has a selection of tasty healthy recipes, suitable to make and freeze for lunchboxes:

Healthy vs. unhealthy lunchbox

When you look at the cost and nutritional value of typical lunchbox snacks, it is generally cheaper and healthier to pack home-made snacks or fruit. Use our LiveLighter search function for tasty snack ideas the whole family can enjoy. See just a few below.

healthy lunchbox

unhealthy lunchbox

Tips and tricks to get kids eating lunch

Seeing a lunchbox come back full can be disheartening. Involving children in preparation and choice of food to take to school can increase the likelihood of it being eaten.

  • Ask them to bring home uneaten food
    You’ll get to know what they do and don’t like and any other reasons it may not be being eaten.
  • Ensure food is stored in a container that will not spoil or damage the food
    Check where lunchboxes are stored at school – often it is outside. Insulated lunchboxes, thermos and ice blocks or frozen drinks will help keep food at the right temperature.
  • Can it be opened?
    For younger children, check they are able to open the containers, and unwrap contents prior to taking to school.
  • Offer a choice
    Offer your child a choice of healthy snacks and meals when packing the lunchbox, for example an apple or a banana, or differing sandwich fillers.

Allergies and anaphylaxis

Schools may have rules around certain foods that can cause allergies in some children, particularly nuts. Check the school’s allergy rules before sending food to school. This can apply to lunch box meals and snacks as well as food for special occasions such as birthday cakes.

To find tasty healthy recipes for special diets, use LiveLighter’s recipe search function and select 'special diets'.

More information on feeding your family