Cheesy coleslaw with wholemeal pitta
Get loads of easy-to-prepare ideas your kids will love, as well as tips on what else to put in their lunchbox
Whether squeezing it in between getting a school uniform and making sure their shoes fit in the back-to-school rush, or on busy midweek evenings during term time, preparing your child's lunchbox can seem like just another thing on the list.
School meals are a great choice, but if you do make a packed lunch for your child then we've got you covered with our range of quick, easy, healthier lunchbox ideas.
The Eatwell Guide can also be useful when thinking about what goes into kids' lunchboxes.
And if you're still stuck for inspiration, read our lunchbox tips for other ideas and ways to make sure your child is getting tasty, varied lunches that are good for them too!
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Higher-sugar juice drink
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Split pot yoghurt
Base the lunchbox on foods like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Choose wholegrain where you can.
If your child doesn't like wholegrain, try making a sandwich from one slice of white bread and one slice of wholemeal/brown 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.
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.
Cut down on the spread used and try to avoid using mayonnaise in sandwiches.
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.
Always add salad to sandwiches – it all counts towards your child's 5 A DAY.
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.
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.
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.
A small pot of tinned fruit in juice – not syrup – is perfect for their lunchbox and is easily stored in the cupboard.
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.
Dried fruit counts towards your 5 A Day, but can stick to teeth so should only be eaten at mealtimes to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
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 for low-fat and lower sugar yoghurt or fromage frais and add your own fruit.
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 your kids involved in preparing and choosing what goes in their lunchbox. They are more likely to eat it if they helped make it.
Be adventurous and get creative to mix up what goes in their lunchbox.
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.