Victorian State Public Health Nutritionist Veronica Graham shares three healthy and delicious lunchbox examples for the kids and provides some great food preparation tips to save you time throughout the week.
Making a healthy lunch can be really easy - and one way to make it easier is to use leftovers from the night before.

Last night we had frittata for dinner and we have some left over. So in this case it was a vegetable frittata, packed with vegetables, egg and milk so it's an excellent start to the lunch. I'm going to leave it in the foil and just wrap it up.

Because I’m using a leftover, I'm using an insulated lunchbox which will keep the heat out. In addition, every lunch should have a serve of dairy in it. In this case I have a UHT milk which has been frozen overnight. So I'll add that in and that will keep things extra cool.

Vegetables are one of the most important things in the lunch - they give crunch and colour and they are bursting with nutrition. To make vegetables more appealing, try doing things like popping a ribbon around them. Not only do they look special, they are easy to carry out to the playground. A child will pick that up and walk out really happily with that.

We had watermelon on special - so it’s just a matter of cutting a couple of slices. Now you could just pop it in there on a facewasher – but in this case I’ll just do a couple of cubes and pop it in a container. It’s a good idea to stock up on these things – they’re really inexpensive.

Just adding a couple of strawberries in there will make it look good. A lot of schools have a fruit snack so this is perfect for that.

Finally, good lunches need a carbohydrate or bread and cereal product in there. I’ve grabbed a handful of blackcurrent shredded wheat. Pop them in a recyclable bag and they go in the lunch as well.

There you have a really fantastic lunch - looks good, easy and it took me a matter of a minute to put together.

A really neat idea is to cut a hole in the bread roll and make a pocket like that. You can fill it with anything you like. Today I’m using a really good protein food. I’ve mixed tuna with butter beans and some chopped up cucumber. Put that in the fridge on Sunday night and then for Monday and Tuesday morning, it’s just a matter of filling the bread roll.

Got the sandwich so now the next thing is a piece of fruit. Fruit bowl here - stone fruit is in season at the moment. We’ll select a plum and nectarine there. Really easy, nice size – in the lunchbox it goes.

Vegetables are another really important part of the school lunch - they give great colour, great crunch and great nutrition. To make it easier, I cut up a bunch of celery on Sunday night, sit it in water. It stays absolutely crispy all week. Just take out a small handful and from my store of containers, in it goes – really easy.

A really good snack idea is popcorn. Popcorn is not only healthy, it’s very inexpensive. I’ve used plain old popcorn and popped it on the stove over there – it takes about 2 minutes.

To make it more interesting, why not adding a couple of dried apricots, cut up roughly and sprinkle those on top and a small handful of currents and sultanas – it makes a yummy snack.

Final two bits to add to the lunch - the dairy component is a tub of yoghurt that has been frozen and finally some water and that will go in the side pocket.

Over the weekend I made these muffins - polenta, sweet potato and capsicum. They are a really great addition and a nice change from the sandwich. This recipe is on the Better Health Chanel.

Vegetable sticks, some cherry tomatoes. An addition you might like - if your child likes hummus or tzatziki or beetroot dip, you can add a small amount of dip to go with the vegetables.

We call this the snake orange. And with a nice little knife, you can cut around the orange, cutting just the skin off. It doesn’t take long. Remove the orange from the peel. Give it a few quick cuts like this and place it in the natural skin.

Finally into this lunchbox, just adding some cheese cubes and last of all little frozen water block that will keep the lunch cool, the tzatziki cool and will also be a nice little drink of cold water at lunchtime.

[Children enter to take lunchboxes]

Off you go, there you go. There you go Alex. Out to go, off to school - have a good day!

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services

Last updated: October 2015

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