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
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
Choose low fat, low sugar
options where possible
Good for healthy bones and teeth!
FRUIT (fresh, frozen, tinned or dried)
- small box of raisins
- 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.
VEGETABLES OR SALAD
- 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!)
- lentils, beans, chickpeas
Helps your body to grow and develop
DRINKS – plain 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!
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).
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.
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.
• 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.