Sending kids to school with a healthy lunch is important for their health, eating habits, brain function… You know why it’s important. Let’s discuss some ways to get kids not only eating their lunch, but also excited about their lunch.

When kids are young, often they are happy with the same, or similar foods on a daily basis. But as kids get older, their palates develop and their food repertoire increases.

A starting point is finding out what your kids want for lunch. Of course, there are boundaries: 3 hot dogs, an ice cream sundae, and a spit roast don’t really fall into the ‘healthy’ or ‘doable’ category. But seriously, getting kids involved in their lunch choices and lunch preparation is a sure-fire way to increase the likelihood of them eating it – as a side note, it’s also a ‘teachable moment’, where parents can explain and show how to pack a balanced lunch (a life skill).

Lunch ideas:

PB&J – But not the one you’re thinking of

  • Use wholemeal or wholegrain bread
  • Use peanut butter/other nut butter where the only ingredient is ‘peanuts’ (or nuts)
  • Substitute jam with sliced seasonal fruit (strawberries, apple, pear, etc)

Other sandwiches

  • Lettuce, tomato, left over chicken/turkey slices. Sub the mayo with avocado or hummus
  • Tuna salad: Made with minimal mayo, spice it up with some dried dill and garlic, get crazy and add tomato slices and/or a piece of cheese
  • Roasted veggies (from last night): A mix of capsicum, zucchini, eggplant (or whatever veggies they like) sliced, thrown on a baking sheet, brushed lightly with olive oil and spices – voila!

Wraps – The sandwich alternative

  • Wholegrain or wholemeal tortilla/flat bread
  • Add a base: Hummus, avocado, salsa or mustard are good choices
  • Add fillings that include either fresh veggies like lettuce, tomato, shredded carrot, sliced pickles or olives, or cooked/roasted veggies
  • Add a meat or ‘meat alternative’ like beans (legumes) if you’re going burrito style, a sliced hard boiled egg, or the traditional chicken/turkey leftovers


  • Make it colorful
    • Good thing veggies are multicolored
  • Be a bit fancy
    • Cut the sandwich diagonally 
    • Slice the wrap into 2 inch thick ‘pinwheel’ slices 
  • Add a frozen pack (or even a small frozen water bottle) to the lunchbox to keep items chilled


  • Low fat/non fat yogurt
  • Sliced cheese
  • Fruit
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Popcorn (plain is best, or for extra flavor add some dried herbs)
  • Granola (homemade is best because it’ll be lower in sugar, salt and fat)
  • Celery with cottage cheese or peanut butter spread in the crevice

‘Sometimes foods’ like the individually wrapped bags of chips, a homemade cookie or muffin are definitely acceptable a couple of times a week. In many ways, this is also a ‘teachable moment’ because you’re demonstrating healthy moderation and portion control, rather than imposing impossible restrictions.

Want to feel confident knowing you have some simple, kind phrases up your sleeve to reduce your stress and frustrations at mealtimes? Get started below. Start minimizing mealtime meltdowns and stop fighting with your child so you can enjoy mealtimes again.



Hi, I'm Thalia the Dietitian 👋 I help parents overcome picky eating challenges, conquer mealtime battles and raise happy & healthy eaters. My unique approach to parenting at mealtimes uses elements of the “division of responsibility”, but goes even further when it comes to restricting (or not restricting) foods like dessert. I help parents through my courses and 1-1 coaching program approach mealtime situations from a place of respect, curiosity, and understanding to achieve their desired results. It’s my belief that every child deserves a healthy relationship with food, and every parent can give this gift to their child. I have a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics and I'm mum to two little ladies (and a retired guide dog lab.)


예스벳88 · October 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Dont forgget , that breakfest is realy importen

    Thalia · October 10, 2019 at 8:15 pm


Armand Bouer · April 26, 2020 at 1:21 pm

It’s hard to come by knowledgeable people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    Thalia · April 26, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Glad you found it helpful!

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