Nicole Bando | Dietitian & Lactation Consultant

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A balanced, nutritious lunchbox is important to support the growth and development of children. Food is fuel, that children need to learn, concentrate, thrive, play, and grow. A balanced lunchbox can help promote performance (academic, physical, emotional), as well as body image, mood and environmental sustainability. It also helps your child to learn to manage their hunger & fullness cues, a wonderful habit to take through life.

When providing food to children, it is up to the parent to provide:

  1. The right types of food
  2. Regular meals and snacks.

However, it is up to the child to decide:

  1. What to eat
  2. How much to eat

It can take up to 1-15 times for a child to accept new food, which may seem like a lot, however the lunchbox provides the perfect opportunity to introduce new foods. Role modelling and positive food environments play a key role in children trying and accepting new foods, so the school environment can have a positive effect on your child’s eating. To save time, pack lunches the night before, you can even use dinner leftovers packed into a thermos.

Choose an option from boxes 1-4 to create a balanced lunch box.

See below for 3 days of lunchboxes:
Also see our great resources on simple snack swaps and soy/dairy-free alternatives.

By Emma McShane, Dietitian & Nicole Bando, Dietitian, May 2022