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Healthy Packed Lunches

What’s in a healthy packed lunch?

A child at school should have about a third of their daily nutrient requirements at lunchtime. This means they need food that are going to provide them with enough energy, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

A good packed lunch contains:

  • A starchy food, such as bread, rolls, pitta bread, naan bread, potatoes, rice, noodles.
  • These foods are good for children to fill up on.
  • A good source of protein, iron and zinc such as meat, fish, beans, nuts or eggs.
  • A good source of calcium such as milk, cheese, yoghurt or fromage frais.
  • And one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetable or salad to provide all the other vitamins and minerals. A piece of fruit could be a 100% juice or piece of fresh fruit, dried fruit or tinned fruit in fruit juice. A piece of vegetable could be a fresh vegetables such as carrot stick, salad or a vegetable soup or vegetable dish.

No single food contains all the essential nutrients the body needs to be healthy and function efficiently so it is important that the content of the packed lunch is varied.

What about snacks such as crisps, cakes, pastries and sweets?

These foods should only be given occasionally. Children will then appreciate them more. 
If these foods are included in packed lunches they might eat these first and not have the appetite to eat the other foods that will provide them with the important nutrients they need to grow and develop, be healthy and active.

Sample menus:

Week 1

Main Course

Side

Fruit

Dessert

Drink

Monday

Tuna Mayonnaise Sandwich

Cucumber Chunks

Grapes

Carrot Cake

Water

Tuesday

Pasta Salad

Carrot Sticks

Apple

Fruit Yoghurt

Flavoured Milk

Wednesday

Chicken Wrap

Cherry Tomatoes

Banana

Flapjack

Orange Juice

Thursday

Ham Salad in Pitta Bread

Cheese Sticks

Pear

Raisins

Apple Juice

Friday

Crackers & Cheese

Boiled Egg

Satsuma

Rice Pudding

Water

Week 2

Main Course

Side

Fruit

Dessert

Drink

Monday

Sausage in a Wholemeal Roll

 

Pear

Yoghurt

Orange Juice

Tuesday

Potato & Egg Salad

Cheese Sticks

Grapes

Rice Pudding

Water

Wednesday

Salad Wrap

 

Pineapple

Banana Cake

Apple Juice

Thursday

Pizza Slice

 

Melon

 

Flavoured Milk

Friday

Crackers & Cream Cheese

 

Banana

Flapjack

Water

Week 3

Main Course

Side

Fruit

Dessert

Drink

Monday

Sliced Beef in a Roll

Celery Sticks

Kiwi

Blueberry Muffin

Flavoured Milk

Tuesday

Rice Salad

Carrot Sticks

Banana

Fresh Fruit Salad

Water

Wednesday

Ham Sandwich

Cherry Tomatoes

Tangerine

Fruit Cake

Apple Juice

Thursday

Cheese and Coleslaw in Pitta Bread

Cucumber Sticks

Apple

Jelly

Water

Friday

Tuna Mayonnaise Sandwich

Pepper Sticks

Strawberries

Yoghurt

Orange Juice

Week 4

Main Course

Side

Fruit

Dessert

Drink

Monday

Mackerel Sandwich

Carrot Sticks

Grapes

Strawberry Trifle

Water

Tuesday

Spanish Omelette

Celery Sticks

Blueberries

Flapjack

Water

Wednesday

Chicken Wrap

Cheese Chunks

Apple

Jelly

Flavoured Milk

Thursday

Egg Mayonnaise & Cress Sandwich

Cherry Tomatoes

Satsuma

Banana Cake

Orange Juice

Friday

Cous Cous Salad

Cucumber Sticks

Melon

Fresh Fruit Salad

Apple Juice