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Healthier lunchboxes

School meals are a great choice, but if you do make a packed lunch for your child then we've got it covered. Get hints and tips on what their lunchbox should contain as well as lots of easy-to-prepare ideas your children will love.

Or make your own...

Take a look at our lunchbox suggestions below. Make a note of the ones you think your child will enjoy and add them to your shopping list. The Eatwell Guide can also be useful when thinking about what goes into their lunchboxes.

Choose a main dish

Hummus and salad wrap

Cheesy coleslaw with pitta

Egg mayonnaise and lettuce bap

Soft cheese and salad sandwich

Creamy hummus dip with pitta

Salmon and salad bagel

Tuna and bean salad

Tuna mayonnaise sandwich

Spicy chicken wrap

Add some fruit or salad

Berries

Banana

Apple

Grapes

Kiwi

Mixed salad

Cherry tomatoes

Carrot and cucumber sticks

Peach and strawberry slices

Satsuma

Add a little something else

Frozen berries with yoghurt

Sugar-free fruit jelly

Malt loaf

Peach snack pot

Popcorn

Raisins

Teacake

Rice cakes

And a drink!

200ml semi-skimmed milk

Fruit juice drink (no added sugar)

200ml water

Lunchbox tips

Keep them fuller for longer

Keep them fuller for longer

Base the lunchbox on foods like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Choose wholegrain where you can.

Mix your slices

Mix your slices

If your child doesn't like wholegrain, try making a sandwich from one slice of white bread and one slice of wholemeal/brown bread.

Freeze your bread

Freeze your bread

Keep a small selection of bread in the freezer. Make lunchboxes more interesting by using different shapes, like bagels, pittas and wraps, and different types of bread, such as granary, wholemeal and multi-grain.

DIY lunches

DIY lunches

Wraps and pots of fillings can be more exciting for kids when they get to put them together. Dipping foods are also fun and make a change from a sandwich each day.

Less spread

Less spread

Cut down on the spread used and try to avoid using mayonnaise in sandwiches.

Slices of lean turkey

Cut back on fat

Pick lower fat sandwich fillings, such as lean meats (including chicken or turkey), fish (such as tuna or salmon), reduced-fat cream cheese, and reduced-fat hard cheese.

Ever green

Ever green

Always add salad to sandwiches – it all counts towards your child's 5 A DAY.

Always add veg

Always add veg

Cherry tomatoes, or sticks of carrot, cucumber, celery and peppers all count towards their 5 A DAY. Adding a small pot of reduced-fat hummus or other dips may help with getting kids to eat vegetables.

Cut down on crisps

Cut down on crisps

If your child really likes their crisps try reducing the number of times you include them in their lunchbox and swap for homemade plain popcorn or plain rice cakes instead.

Always add fruit

Add bite-size fruit

Try chopped apple, peeled satsuma segments, strawberries, blueberries, halved grapes or melon slices to make it easier for them to eat. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to stop it from going brown.

Tinned fruit counts

Tinned fruit counts

A small pot of tinned fruit in juice – not syrup – is perfect for their lunchbox and is easily stored in the cupboard.

Swap the fruit bars

Swap the fruit bars

Dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas and dried apricots are not only cheaper than processed fruit bars and snacks but can be healthier too. Remember to keep dried fruit to mealtimes as it can be bad for your child's teeth.

Watch the teeth!

Watch the teeth!

Dried fruit can get stuck in their teeth so should be only eaten at mealtimes to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Swap the sweets

Swap the sweets

Swap cakes, chocolate, cereal bars and biscuits for malt loaf, fruited teacakes, fruit breads or fruit (fresh, dried or tinned – in juice not syrup).

Go low fat and lower sugar

Go low fat and lower sugar

Go for low-fat and lower sugar yoghurt or fromage frais and add your own fruit.

Check your cheese

Check your cheese

Cheese can be high in fat and salt so choose stronger-tasting ones – and use less of it – or try reduced-fat varieties of cheese.

Get them involved

Get them involved

Get your kids involved in preparing and choosing what goes in their lunchbox. They are more likely to eat it if they helped make it.

Variety is the spice of lunchboxes!

Variety is the spice of lunchboxes!

Be adventurous and get creative to mix up what goes in their lunchbox.

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