Lunchbox Ideas

The Midlands MagazineFebruary 24, 2023

Find out what the best, nutritious foods for your children are, which will support them in their growth and development as they embark on their new school year.


It can be tricky to come up with interesting, healthy lunchbox ideas to keep your school-going children happy. Ideally, there needs to be a variety of snacky foods available, with at least two options to choose from. Always make sure that there is a substantial protein portion, some healthy fats, and carbohydrates, and that your child is well-hydrated throughout the day too.


Protein has a crucial role to play in brain development, muscle repair, and blood sugar balance. Your child needs a portion of protein with every meal. Examples of good quality protein are eggs, meat, nuts and seeds, or hummus. Leftovers work really well here. Proteins should always be as ‘clean’ as possible, so avoid highly processed protein sources like Vienna sausages, polony, and other processed meats.


Healthy fats are vital as the brain is a fatty organ, which works best when there are adequate healthy oils in the diet. This could include olive oil on a salad, avocado, eggs, or nuts and seeds. Due to the fact that Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, which is in short supply in our diet, yet so necessary for concentration, it is almost always appropriate to supplement this nutrient. Try to avoid including foods that contain transfats, as these are bad for their brain. Transfats are the bad fats found in mayonnaise, fried foods, chips, and margarine.


Carbohydrates are necessary for energy production, but not necessarily in the traditional form of bread, cereal, pasta, and rice. Avoid all processed, refined carbohydrates as far as possible, because foods such as bread and biscuits contain plenty of ‘empty’ calories. They are relatively nutrient-devoid and just serve to make the brain ‘sleepy’. Foods with higher protein and healthy fat content are nourishing for the brain and are full of desirable nutrients.


Remember that your children are still growing and are expected to function optimally for five to eight hours at a time at school, so their meals need to be nutrient-dense and should deliver plenty of vitamins and minerals. The best way to achieve high nutrient density is to include a broad variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, as well as clean proteins and healthy fats. The pigments in our fruit and vegetables contain nutrients needed for brain function, energy production, growth, and repair.


Hydration is just as important as good nutrition, so be sure to send water with your child. Do not send sugary beverages like fizzy drinks, energy drinks, or even juices, as they are far better off drinking water and eating fresh fruit than drinking sugar-laden juice. If they play a lot of sports and you are worried about them dehydrating or running out of electrolytes, send coconut water, which has 13 times more electrolytes than energy drinks and contains no added sugar.


On the other hand, do not be fooled by the “sugar-free” drinks which are advertised. These are laden with toxic artificial sweeteners and are even worse than sugary beverages. Recent studies show that those who regularly consume these beverages are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease as the sweet taste ‘lies’ to the body, which prepares itself to receive sugar. This can have a devastating effect on the pancreas.


Here is a weekly guide you can follow to create the perfect, healthy lunchboxes for your kids.


Chicken and salad stuffed pita bread


Seed crackers with cottage cheese, nut butter or hummus


Raw veggie sticks:

celery, carrot, cucumber, tomato, snap peas

with hummus or cottage cheese for dipping

Baby potatoes or sweet potatoes with boiled eggs or leftover meat from the night before. Add avocado if desired. Tuna salad: tuna, Greek yoghurt, olive oil, wholewheat pasta, cucumber, tomato, and baby spinach
Trail mix and fresh fruit Trail mix and dried fruit


Biltong sticks and popcorn Smoothie Trail mix and date balls



Chicken and Salad Stuffed Pita Bread:

Mix cooked chicken pieces with finely chopped cucumber, baby corn, cocktail tomatoes, snap peas and basil pesto. Place in a wholewheat pita bread.






Mixed Raw Nuts and Seeds:

The healthiest of all nuts are walnuts, pecans, macadamias, almonds and Brazil nuts. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and cranberries are a great addition.






  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup of blueberries
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 spinach leaf
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3 ice cubes


Blend all of the ingredients and pour into a bottle.




Date Balls:

Soak 250g of dates in a little boiling hot water for a few hours. Place them in your blender and add 100g of sunflower seeds, one tablespoon of coconut oil, and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Blend well. Divide the mixture into round balls and roll them in desiccated coconut. Place them in fridge overnight.



Words by: Renée Mitchell