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Lunch Box Ideas For Picky Pie Holes

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Back to school is here! Sending the pint-sized people to school with a healthy lunch is important for their health, eating habits, brain function... yada yada yada. We all know why it's important, so let's discuss some ways to get kids not only eating their lunch, but also excited about doing so!

When kids are young, often they are happy with the same, or similar foods on a daily basis. But as kids get older, their palates develop and their food repertoire increases.

A starting point is finding out what your kids want for lunch. Of course, there are boundaries: 3 hot dogs, an ice cream sundae and a spit roast don't really fall into the 'healthy' category. But seriously, getting kids involved in their lunch choices and lunch preparation is a sure-fire way to increase the likelihood of them eating it - as a side note, it's also a 'teachable moment', where parents can explain and show how to pack a balanced lunch (a life skill).

Lunch Ideas

PB&J – But not the one you're thinking of

Use wholemeal or wholegrain bread

Use peanut butter where the only ingredient is 'peanuts'

Substitute jam with sliced seasonal fruit (strawberries, apple, pear, etc).


Other sandwiches:

Lettuce, tomato, left over chicken/turkey slices. Sub the mayo with avocado or hummus

Tuna salad: Made with minimal mayo, spice it up with some dried dill and garlic, get crazy and add tomato slices and/or a piece of cheese

Roasted veggies (from last night): A mix of capsicum, zucchini, eggplant (or whatever veggies they like) sliced, thrown on a baking sheet, brushed lightly with olive oil and spices – voila!


Wraps - The sandwich alternative:

Wholegrain or wholemeal tortilla/flat bread

Add a base: Hummus, avocado, salsa or mustard are good choices

Add fillings that include either fresh veggies like lettuce, tomato, shredded carrot, sliced pickles or olives, or cooked/roasted veggies

Add a meat or 'meat alternative' like beans (legumes) if you're going to burrito style, a sliced hard boiled egg, or the traditional chicken/turkey leftovers.




Make it colourful

- Good thing veggies are multicoloured 

Be a bit fancy

- Cut the sandwich diagonally 

- Slice the wrap into two-inch thick 'pinwheel' slices 

Add a frozen pack (or even a small frozen water bottle) to the lunchbox to keep items chilled.





Low fat/non fat yoghurt

Sliced cheese


Hard boiled egg

Popcorn (plain is best, or for extra flavour add some dried herbs)

Granola (homemade is best because it'll be lower in sugar, salt and fat)

Celery with cottage cheese or peanut butter spread in the crevice.


'Sometimes foods' like the individually wrapped bags of chips, a homemade cookie or muffin are definitely acceptable a couple of times a week. In many ways, this is also a 'teachable moment' because you're demonstrating healthy moderation and portion control, rather than imposing impossible restrictions.

Lunch Box Ideas For Picky Pie Holes
Thalia E Prum
Accredited Nutritionist (AN), Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)