Healthy Lunchbox Snacks
Snacks are an important part of child’s diet as children may not get sufficient nutrients from breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s important to ensure that kids have nutritious healthy snacks available in their lunchbox to get them through the school day and provide the extra energy and nutrients they need.
Avoid the trap of filling your child’s lunchbox with items such as biscuits, chips, cakes, chocolate bars and soft drinks that are high in energy (kilojoules), saturated fat, salt and sugar and offer little nutritional value. These foods are known as ‘extra’ or ‘occasional’ foods and while they can be included in a healthy diet they should not be eaten on a daily basis.
A few tips for healthy lunchbox snacks:
- Keep is small – they should be just enough to get kids through until their next meal, not a meal themselves.
- Make it nutrient rich – use this opportunity to get extra nutrients into your child’s diet, such as calcium, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
- Think like a kid – choose snacks that kids can eat easily without too much fuss, that way they are more likely to eat them!
- Keep healthy snacks cool –pack snacks such as cheese, yoghurt and fruit and vegetables or anything containing meat with a frozen water bottle to keep them cool and safe, or use a small insulated lunch bag.
- Be creative – display fruit and veg in a fun way. See some of our ideas below for inspiration.
While it is preferable to have fresh, homemade snacks, pre-packaged snacks can be a convenient option for busy parents. If choosing packaged snack foods, opt for snacks that are:
- Less than 600kJ per serve
- Low in saturated fat (less than 2g/serve)
- Provide some fibre (more than 1g per serve)
- Nutrient dense, providing ingredients such as reduced fat dairy, fruit, vegetables or oats
Popcorn – pop your own without butter, oil and salt. Package it in ziplock or paper bags.
Veggie sticks and dip – experiment with different dips your kids like – hommus is a favourite.
Pikelets – make them in advance and on the day spread with low-fat cream cheese or include them plain in the lunch box.
Reduced fat yoghurt – available in store-bought squeezie packs that you can freeze to keep cold until lunch time.
Mini frittatas – make them in advance and freeze. They will defrost by recess.
Wholegrain crackers with reduced fat cheese (tomato optional).