Image result for healthy lunch box

At this busy time of the year, and all year round for that matter, the thought of planning a healthy lunch for ourselves, let alone the kids, can often be the last thing on our minds, resulting in a last minute fast food purchase, or a quick snack to get you through until dinner.

Lunch really is a very important meal and by planning ahead and packing a healthy lunch you will not only save money, but you will also be sure to get all the nutrients you need and have the energy to get you through the day.

So what makes up a healthy lunch? According to Nutrition Australia, foods that you should try to add to your lunchbox include:

If you are time poor, here are a few tips to keep in mind when packing your lunch:

  • A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Grain foods, including whole grains (such as quinoa, brown rice and barley) and wholemeal/wholegrain/high fibre varieties of breads and cereals (such as crackers, rice crackers and wraps)
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seed and/or legumes
  • Dairy, including milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • Water
  • A good idea is to use Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Eating Pyramid to help you plan a balanced, healthy, nutritious lunch for work. Remember to include foods from all different groups, to ensure you are getting your daily nutrient requirements. Also, mix up your lunches so that you don’t get bored and tired of the same old food everyday.
  • Pack your lunch the night before and prepare food on the weekends
  • If you have children, pack your lunch at the same time as theirs
  • Make extra dinner so that you have leftovers for the next day
  • Certain foods can also be packaged up and frozen for later use including bread, rice, pasta and some dinner leftovers
  • Purchase convenient, healthy snacks in advance that can be easily added to your lunchbox

Healthy snack ideas may include:

  • Popcorn
  • Muesli and breakfast bars
  • Yoghurt 
  • Dried fruits 
  • Nuts
  • Protein balls
  • Cut fruits – It is proven that kids are much more likely to eat fruit if it is cut and prepared for them. Fruits like melons are great for hydration and will give the kids an energy boost after school. In summer, stone fruit is always a great option particularly plums which have a great taste and last quite well when cut.
  • Vegetable sticks – try vegetable sticks with a dip or a small container with mixed vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, capsicum and cucumber.

    Image result for healthy lunch box

And here are some lunchbox recipe ideas to get you inspired:

  • Easy Sausage Rolls
  • Zucchini Slice 
  • Quick mini quiches
  • Savoury muffins
  • Banana and tahini balls 
  • Muesli slice
  • Veggie Nuggets
  • Chicken Rissoles
  • Brocballs 
  • Easy fried rice
  • Healthy mac and cheese