I get it, life is busy. There are only so many hours in the day and finding or making time to head to the supermarket, cook dinner and then prepare your kids lunch for school can prove to be quite a challenge. Add to this family fussiness and supermarkets full of unhealthy school snacks and before you know it you’re the proud owner of the entire contents of aisle 4. Or if it’s not this, it’s your child insisting that every other kid orders their lunch which we know simply isn’t true.

I know it can seem easier to let the usual culprits fill your trolley- yoghurts, roll-ups, muesli bars and fruit cups and yes most kids do burn through energy like there’s no tomorrow. This does not mean they should be given a lunch-box jam-packed with sugar and salt simply because it’s the easy option.

Kids need to be fuelled with nutritious snacks and meals throughout the day to ensure they have the energy and brainpower for all that learning and of course, playing.

My motto is all about progress, not perfection. So an occasional tasty treat from aisle four or a lunch order on the odd occasion is totally fine.

Ensuring your kids are eating mostly healthy foods throughout the day will help to keep them alert, focused and retaining information to assist with their learning. If you’re unsure of how to pack your kids a healthy lunch, I’m here to help.

Here are my top tips to ensure your kids enjoy their healthy lunches

1. Educate your kids on the benefits of healthy choices

Teaching your kids about the benefits of food and how certain foods give them fuel for their after school sport or to help them grow will help to establish healthy habits early on and serve as an incentive for them to make healthier choices. Keep it quick, keep it simple and make it a game, not a lecture. If you feel like advice is falling on deaf ears because it’s coming from mum and dad, see if their favourite teacher or sports coach can relay the same information. You’ll be amazed at how well it’s received.

2. Prepare lunch together

Make lunch-box prep a family affair. Not only is this an opportunity to spend some time together in the kitchen, but you’ll also be teaching them how to make lunch on their own. Before you know it they’ll be doing it all by themselves. Well, maybe not, but understanding and recognizing foods is the first step to a healthier relationship with them.

3. Your freezer is your friend

No-one wants to spend what precious time they do have, whipping up a new lunch from scratch every morning. Dedicate what I like to call ‘an hour of power‘ over your weekend to prepare snacks and meals in batches to store in the freezer. Zucchini slices, bacon & egg muffins, veggie patties, nut-free bliss balls/muesli bars, the options are endless!

4. Doesn’t forget the fruit & veg

Sliced fruit & veg is an easy and healthy lunch box filler that goes perfectly with a side of dip. Carrot, celery and capsicum with hummus is a go-to snack popular with kids and adults alike.

5. Make healthy food fun

Some kids are more visual eaters than others so making their food look appealing may just be the simple trick to ensure their lunchbox comes home empty. An assortment of colourful fruit and veggies are naturally appealing to kids or take it one step further and slice their snacks/sandwiches into interesting shapes using cookie cutters. Who wouldn’t want to eat a sandwich shaped like a dinosaur?!

Here are some of our favourite healthy lunch recipes for your kid’s lunchboxes, let us know what your favourites are too!

  • Nut-Free Cracker Lunch Pack
  • Lunchbox Mac N Cheese Muffins
  • Zucchini Coconut Lunchbox Bread
  • 2 Ingredient Banana Bread

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.