Lunch Box Tips and Ideas

There are so many things to think of when making up your child’s lunch box: nutrition, quantity, too much, too little, likes, dislikes, what is everyone else having, will my child eat it, have I got time to make it, hot lunch, cold lunch?

Although these are important questions, it really can be a whole lot simpler than that 😊 for example preparation, it takes time, but something as simple as cooking slightly extra of a usual, family evening meal, that you know your child likes, saving the extra, rewarming it and popping it in a flask the next morning for your child’s lunch is a perfect way to save time and effort. Add some chopped fruit in a pot and job done!

‘Hot’ lunches

We see many hot food options in children’s flasks. These range from previous evening meals, as mentioned, to sausage and beans, pasta (all shapes) and a whole variety of sauces (tomato based to cheese), cottage pie, stews, soups (served with bread), chicken nuggets, chips and peas, fish fingers and mashed potato. All are very well received especially now it is colder weather.

**top tips for flasks, pre warm the flask with boiling water for ten minutes, please do not over tighten them or we struggle to open them. Wrap them in a small cloth or put in an insulated bag to keep the food warmer for longer.

‘Cold’ lunches

Do include some form of carbohydrate whether that’s bread (wholemeal is better for health), pasta, rice, potatoes etc.

Sandwiches are good but seem to be enjoyed more by the children if they are cut up into small shapes, be that with a cutter or just triangles. And of course, lots like the crusts cut off. Others prefer small rolls. My feeling is the key is that “small” is preferred.

Pasta salads, rice salads are popular but again, in a small container.

Protein is important and can be included as meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, or cheese. Any of these will go well into the sandwiches, pasta or rice dishes or cheese could be grated and added to the hot pasta in the flask or cut into small chunks for nibbling.

All the children really enjoy prepared fresh fruit and vegetables to nibble on at lunch time. These are brilliant for lunch boxes and healthy too. The more variety throughout the week the better. Baby gherkins are popular with a lot of children.

Yogurt or fromage frais are good options but rather than buying the multi-packs or pouches you could buy a large pot and decanter it into a reusable pot for the lunch box. This could save you money and packaging waste.

Homemade treats such as banana bread, oat cookies or flap jacks can be healthier than shop bought snacks as the shop bought ones are often 25% sugar, plus it is a great opportunity for a cooking activity at home.

If your child really enjoys crisps, there are vegetable crisp options or low salt/fat baked options. However, it would still be a good idea to put just a few of them in a reusable pot in the lunch bag rather than the whole packet. Young children take a long time to eat a whole packet of crisps and I am sure you would prefer them to be eating the healthier options in their lunch box/bag.

Top tips!

Do not over think it and do not overload the lunchbox. Small portions of what they like and what you would like them to eat. Variety is important but children appear to be quite happy and even more content with foods they feel comfortable eating even if that means an almost identical lunch box every day for six months!


We will provide two healthy snacks throughout the day but please note that these are offered as and when the children are hungry, a ‘rolling’ snack. Children’s play is very important to their development, so we’d rather not stop them mid-flow to eat and drink especially if they aren’t hungry or thirsty. The snacks consist of oat cakes, rice cakes or bread sticks or maybe fresh fruit or vegetables served with milk or water).