Guidelines: How to make sure you're packing nutritious lunches

Use our simple guidelines to build a complete and healthy school lunch.

Choose one food from each category to pack a healthy lunch:

Carbohydrates
Provide energy, fibre and staying power. Whole-grain products offer more fibre to keep kids feeling full longer.

Options:

• grains (bread, wrap, pasta, crackers, rice)
• sweet or white potato (baked, sweet potato fries, in risotto or soup)
• yogurt
• beans and lentils

Proteins
Supply the building blocks for the body’s growth, repair and day-to-day functioning. Combined with a carbohydrate, they keep your kid fuelled longer.

Options:
• meat
• cheese
• plain Greek yogurt
• beans, fish

Snacks
Help little ones stay energized so they can pay attention and behave in class — and out.

Options:

• hummus, guacamole
• rice cakes with tahini and fruit spread or jam
• trail mix (raisins, dried cranberries, goji berries, cereal, sunflower seeds)
• granola bar

“Good” fats

Essential for memory, concentration, stamina and overall brain and nerve function.

Options:

• oily fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, mackerel), tinned or fresh
• seeds (sesame, flower, flax, pumpkin)
• avocado
• omega-3 eggs

Fruits and vegetables

Provide fibre, antioxidants and powerful plant nutrients not found in proteins and carbohydrates.

Options:

• pineapple
• mango (freeze before packing to avoid browning)
• sugar snap peas • cucumber

Put it all together

Need some inspiration? Try these five interchangeable lunch and snack ideas:

Lunch #1:

• Whole-grain pita pocket stuffed with egg, tuna or salmon salad, plus sliced cucumber
• Kiwi fruit, halved and ready to scoop out with a spoon, and low-sugar yogurt
• Pepper slices and cottage cheese
• Milk

Lunch #2:

• Whole wheat wrap filled with sliced meat (turkey, chicken or ham), grated carrot and avocado
• Apple slices with cinnamon
• Cracker or vegetable sticks and hummus
• Water

Lunch #3:

• Baked potato with mixed-bean chili or baked beans, topped with grated cheese and served in Thermos
• Celery sticks filled with tahini (sesame seed spread)
• Baked tortilla or pita chips and guacamole
• Diluted juice

Lunch #4:

• Chicken noodle soup with extra vegetables
• Frozen or fresh mango
• Apple slices and cheese
• Coconut water

Lunch #5:

• Pasta served with tomato sauce (add extra vegetables: mushroom, peppers, broccoli)
• Cottage cheese and pineapple
• Granola bar and apple slices
• Water

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