Quick Easy Healthy Lunch Box Ideas: Parent Tip

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Quick Easy Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for the first day of school

AND all the days after that too when you need fresh inspiration!

As we all prepare for school to begin, the one thing that frightens me is the task of filling the school lunch boxes again.  To ensure that Ned is not subjected to the horrors of soggy vegemite and fake cheese sandwiches, squashed bananas and warm juices that I remember from my own childhood. No offence to my mum of course. She packed a lovely lunch. What happened to it later was not her fault at all!


These days, at least I can pack an ice pack inside and wrap it in some kind of thermal jacket or wetsuit-material lunchpack. At my old school, children were able to store their midday meals in fridges in their school rooms. Lucky things! We do have more options on storage, and transport, and helping a lunch to survive the day somewhat intact, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the need to come up with creative ideas of quick, easy and healthy things that children, including Ned, might actually eat.


One other thing that hasn’t changed is the morning rush. In fact, with so many mums now working (paid or otherwise) in some form or another, the morning rush seems to have sped up and the task of packing a quick, easy, and healthy lunch box might as well be up there with scaling Everest.  Almost impossible.  Not totally impossible but some days, just out of reach. Any help I can get is wonderful so each year, I gather ideas and put them all in one word document and print it off. This year, I’ve taped this sheet of paper up to my outside of my pantry (along with fingerfood ideas for Jack, meal ideas for Jack, and Paleo-inspired snack ideas for me – happy to share these here too later this week!)


The comprehensive list of quick easy healthy lunch box ideas on my pantry door is a mash up of every lunch box possibility.  It includes things that I can grab from the cupboard, the freezer, the fridge, and the fruit bowl. Mostly, it is things that don’t require any thought other than to buy them from the shops but also includes yummy concoctions that can be made in advance in less than 20 minutes and can doled out all week (unless eaten by those with rogue hungry bellies at 4pm).


My favourite tip is to invest in reusable baby food containers. I have ones from tupperware (those colourful snack cups) that I’ve had for years and they are used every single day so the investment has been well worth it, but any kind will do.  At the very least, a pack of those baby zip-lock bags will suffice.  And for a lunchbox that will last you years, invest in a stainless steel camping tin . For less than $30, the children will have a lunch tin to be proud of that will do them the run of primary school. This is what Ned will be taking when he starts Kindergarten (oh my!) tomorrow.


I thought you might like to make a list of quick easy healthy lunch box ideas too so I’ve started you off by giving you mine. I’ve just added a heap of new ideas too.

(Scroll down to the bottom of the list to get the link for the easy-to-read printable version.)




  • Fruit salad on a stick. Fill a skewer with apple slices, hulled strawberries, pineapple chunks, nashi fruit, orange quarters and green grapes. Or if not on a stick, in a small container with separate compartments to help keep fruit fresh and juicy.
  • Plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and blueberries rolled in.
  • Dehydrated fruit roll-ups (Visit the Fruit Leather vendor at Tamborine Markets in the Gold Coast Hinterland for some really yummy concoctions or borrow a dehydrator one weekend and make your own)
  • Fruit (banana or carrot) or savory muffins. Low in sugar but oh so good. I LOVE muffins. I make up a batch of 24 and freeze them individually.  Just throw one in the lunchbox frozen and they’ll be perfectly soft by morning tea.
  • Date slice is my mum’s staple recipe for gatherings.
  • Your own premixed dried fruit and nut parcels. Simply grab an airtight container and throw in 2 cups of sultanas, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup of dates, 1 cup of cashews, 1 cup of sliced almonds, 1 cup of apricots, 1/2 cup sesame seeds, 1/2 cup dried mango (chopped finely) and 1/2 cup shredded coconut.  (Replace nuts with pepitas and chopped dried apple if you have a peanut-free school) Store in fridge.  Each morning, fill a tupperware baby cup or a ziplock bag with a scoop of this good energy boost.
  • Date coconuts or carob coconut balls found in most good health food shops. (Wrays at Palm Beach stocks both)
  • Dehydrated banana sticks. Real banana dried.  It looks like shrivelled up fingers but tastes great.
  • Scones and jam
  • Pikelets (mini pancakes), either store bought or homemade slathered with butter or sunflower seed butter (free-nut butter)
  • Sushi- fun to make with the kids the night before.  For fillings, try tuna and kewpie mayonnaise, zucchini and carrot, egg omelette or home-made fish fingers and lettuce. Yum.
  • Cherry tomatoes, slices of zucchini, fresh corn on the cob (so sweet) and slices of cheese or ham
  • Loose walnuts or macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds or figs.
  • Roasted broadbeans or chickpeas, found in ready-made packs in the health food aisle of Woolworths and possibly Coles
  • Try a salad in a jar.  Add beetroot, baby corn, lettuce, tomato slices, asparagus, carrot chunks, snow peas and butter beans with a salad dressing foundation.  Children just need to shake it up and eat it.  Remember to pop a fork in their box.
  • Yoghurts
  • Big slices of watermelon, rockmelon (cantaloupe) or honeydew
  • Slices of capsicum in all colours are great for dipping into cream cheese or tzatziki
  • Cheese straws, either home baked or store bought
  • home made pasta salad or rice salad can be made for dinner on a Sunday night and dished out for a Monday lunch treat
  • Celery sticks filled with cream cheese or peanut butter, with sultanas along the top
  • Freshly popped popcorn.  Throw it in a brown paper bag and shake it with a little vegetable salt
  • Rice crackers or rice cakes with toppings.  Separate the toppings from the crackers in the lunch tin so they don’t get soggy.
  • Mountain bread wraps with hommus and salad
  • Cut up carrot and celery sticks with mashed avocado dip. Chop up a few carrots and celery and store them in breathable containers in the fridge. Grab and go.
  • Salami sticks, chunks of cheese, water crackers and boiled eggs are staples too.
  • Raw Chocolate Bliss Balls

Quick Easy Healthy Lunch Box Ideas PRINTABLE VERSION. Click here. 

Enjoy… and don’t forget to add your ideas too.
Leave a comment to let me know of your top lunchbox inclusions.

14 Responses to “Quick Easy Healthy Lunch Box Ideas: Parent Tip”

  1. Melissa Luxmoore

    LEFTOVERS!!! Left overs are our saving grace. We make a double batch of our dinner and while serving up on our dinner plates, I also place the lunch serving straight into their containers and then into the fridge. Ta Da!

  2. Sandi

    Great ideas, I have been filling the frezer with muffins already. So much to think about. so out of practise!!

  3. Anonymous

    Zucchini slice, and really thiick bits of homemade bread with something savoury in it like cheese, herbs, sundried tomatoes, olives, bacon. You can freeze it. Fliss

  4. Amber Greene

    Melissa, I LOVE leftovers too! Have to admit I’m not so good at preparing them nowadays like I used to be, but I often save them for dinner. Sandi- its a whole new world! And Fliss, love zucchini slice. and those bread bits sound like the french grilled sandwich thing I once made. Yummo!

  5. Anonymous

    Love it! Would you mind if I passed these ideas onto caregivers at my preschool? Many new parents struggle and worry about what they can place in their child’s lunch box! Especially when it’s the first time they have had to put one together! Kia and soul. Xo
    Also, we would love if you could post some new songs for us to learn. Soul loves the jacaranda song and I’m looking forward to teaching it to my new group of children!

  6. Amber Greene

    Hi Kia
    Sorry, I missed your comment. Feel free to share anything you find on MamaMoontime. Lunchbox tips are handy. And songs.. yep, as soon as we are settled, I’m about to film a whole bunch of songs and circles for youtube so you have the tunes as well as the moves. Spread the word! Good stuff for teachers and childcare workers. How is it being back at work?

  7. Kia

    Two years ago! Sorry I didn’t get your reply! More music and movement please :)

  8. Samantha

    Frozen fruit is fun in the hot weather than characterises January and February. Bananas are great for this, as are berries and grapes

  9. Amber Greene

    Oh yes! And if I had the right kind of container, I could pop this into my whizzy thermomix and make up a frozen fruit smoothie for Ned too. He’d LOVE that!

  10. Helen

    Hi, where can I buy the round lunchbox with five separate compartments? It’s brilliant

  11. Amber Greene

    Tupperware! But I’ve had it for ages… I think it might have been a special deal but if you like, I can check the serial number and you put in a call to see if you can buy it as two separate pieces. That’s a little trick you can do! Let me know!

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