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Why do we need a  healthy packed lunch?

A healthy packed lunch will give children the energy and nutrition they need to get the most from their school day – helping them to stay healthy, feel good and be ready and able to learn. Just like school meals, packed lunches should be made up of foods from the main food groups in the Eatwell Guide and portions should be appropriate for a child’s age and size. This will ensure every child has a healthy and nutritionally-balanced lunch.

What should I include in my healthy packed lunch?

Please try to include ONE of each of the following in your lunch each day:


  • bread, wrap, pitta,
  • bagel, rolls, baguette
  • rice or couscous
  • pasta
  • noodles
  • potatoes

options contain more fibre
and keep you fuller for longer

Gives you energy for the day ahead!

DAIRY FOOD (or non-dairy alternative)

  • cheese – hard, soft, spread
  • yoghurt or fromage frais
  • milk
  • custard

Choose low fat, low sugar
options where possible

Good for healthy bones and teeth!

FRUIT (fresh, frozen, tinned or dried)

  • apple
  • banana
  • satsuma
  • pear
  • plum
  • mango
  • melon
  • small box of raisins
  • cherry
  • tomatoes (chopped)
  • handful of grapes (halved)
  • fruit salad or kebab

Fruit and vegetables give you vitamins, minerals and fibre to stay healthy. Part of your ‘5 a day’

How much? A portion is one child-sized handful.


  • chopped vegetable sticks (e.g. carrot, cucumber, pepper)
  • salad in sandwiches
  • vegetable soup



  • meat e.g. sliced lean  ham, chicken or beef in a sandwich
  • fish – try to include oily  fish such as salmon or  sardines at least once  every 3 weeks (tuna  doesn’t count – sorry!)
  • eggs
  • lentils, beans, chickpeas

Helps your body to grow and develop

DRINKSplain tap water is the best option, especially for teeth. Please send  your child to school with their own named, clean water bottle each day.

Drinking enough each day helps keep your body working well and your skin looking healthy!

Me-sized meals

Young children don’t need as  much food as teenagers and  adults. When they eat more than  they need, the excess energy  is stored as fat in their bodies.

What about snacks for break time?

The best options for
breaktime snacks are:

Portion of fresh fruit (no dried fruit as snacks please as the sugar can stick in teeth).
Vegetable sticks.
Other ideas for healthy snacks could be rice cakes, bread sticks, bag of plain popcorn.
Please check your school’s policy on snacks here:

What should I NOT bring to school?

Please do NOT include the following items:
X Sweets and chocolate bars – these
foods are high in sugar and calories, low
in goodness, and are harmful for teeth.
X Squash or fizzy drinks –
water is best for teeth.
X Other items e.g. nuts, sesame, fish –
please check your school’s allergy policy.
Thank you!

5 top tips for your packed lunch

  •  Freezer packs can keep food cool. Freeze a (reusable) bottle of water which  will be ready to drink by lunchtime.
  • Get your child to help pack their lunch  box – they are more likely to enjoy it.
  • Children love to dip – cut up pitta bread or use veg sticks to have with  a pot of yoghurt dip e.g. tzatziki.
  • Use pastry cutters to cut funnyshaped sandwiches.
  • Protect your fruit by putting it in a small plastic container e.g. apple/banana guard.

Get more vegetables  in your lunches!

Click here for some GREAT ideas for upping the veg (and fibre!) content of your lunchboxes.

Be safe!

• Please cut up food into small sizes for
young children. Cut grapes and cherry
tomatoes in half (lengthways if oblong).
• Be aware of allergies – please check
your school’s allergies guidance.

School dinners are best!

Making packed lunches can be time consuming and expensive – why not try school dinners?

School meals provide your child with a nutritionally-balanced variety of foods. Every infant child (aged 5-7) is entitled to a FREE school lunch.

Also, FREE school meals for all age  groups are provided to families who receive qualifying incomes such as income support and universal credit.

Ask your school office how to order yours. More information is available from your school’s website or the North Yorkshire County Council website

Here are some websites with more information to help your famaily to stay healthy, happy and well:

and some information on saving money, local food banks, financial support and eating well on a budget:

Leaflet developed by Public Health, North Yorkshire County
Council and the North Yorkshire Healthy Schools Programme.