Healthy lunch box ideas


Most of us enjoy variety and so it can be quite tricky coming up with new ideas to keep our lunch boxes interesting and healthy. 

Planning is an essential part of any healthy lunch box. It is also important to involve our children if we want them to eat what goes into their lunch boxes and not waste our efforts and resources.

Mixing and matching a variety of different food groups goes a long way to making an interesting lunch box. If your children are picky eaters a varied lunch box can be a way of introducing small portions of new foods for them to try. Choose a lunch box that has separate sections so that wet and dry foods don’t mix.

If you need to keep foods cold, use edible ice packs like frozen yoghurt or fresh juice ice pops.

Instead of choosing standard bread options, think about using other ways to transport fillings. Wraps, rice paper rolls and nut flour breads are healthy options. Crackers can be replaced with seed crackers or oat cakes. 

Hummus, cream cheese, and guacamole can be good fillings to have with any of the above options or can be good dips to have with chopped veggies. Fruits like apples go well with sugar-free peanut butter unless peanut allergies are an issue. Salad items like baby carrots, baby cucumbers, celery sticks, sugar snap peas, baby mielies, red and yellow peppers, and cherry tomatoes are also easy to pack and eat.

Other healthy options include savoury tartlets or frittatas made with eggs and various fillings, savoury muffins or health muffins made with oats, dates, and nuts. Boiled eggs can be a great snack but could be a bit smelly if kept in a lunch box for extended periods.

Healthy protein sources include:

  • Good quality deli meats like ham, roast beef slices, pastrami
  • Roast chicken pieces can be eaten separately, or the breast meat can be used as a filling.
  • Lean biltong
  • Tuna
  • Cottage cheese
  • Hummus
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Greek yoghurt

Salads made with quinoa or whole grain pasta and chickpeas, lentils, roast vegetables or salad ingredients and one of the above protein sources can also be healthy “non-sandwich” options.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 18 January 2024 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am.