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Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

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One Week of Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

A well-balanced, healthy lunchbox can be portioned such that it comprises half vegetables or salad; one quarter grain foods, preferably wholegrain or low GI carbohydrates, one quarter lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, or seeds, as well as a side of fruit and a calcium rich snack. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water too (remembering that cordials and juices are Discretionary food items).

5 MORE Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

Monday lunchbox ideas:

Ingredients and Cost:

Couscous Salad

  • ¼ cup wholemeal couscous = $0.22
  • ¼ cup juice from orange = $0.30
  • 1/2 carrot = $0.01
  • 1 teaspoon currents = $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon pepitas = $0.15

Ham Wrap

  • 1 wholegrain wrap =$0.65
  • Spinach leaves =$0.30
  • ½ carrot = $0.01
  • 1 tablespoon beetroot = $0.05
  • 100g lean ham = $1.60
  • 200g reduced fat yoghurt = $1.00
  • Fruit Skewers = $1.00
  • Total = $5.49

Serve as:

Ham and Salad wrap sliced into ‘sushi’, Sweet Citrus Couscous, 1 serve of yoghurt, Seasonal Fruit Skewers (perfect for dipping into yoghurt), plus a water bottle.

Sweet Citrus Couscous

  • Ingredients: 1 orange (juice and zest), ¼ cup wholemeal couscous, 1 tablespoon currents, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, ¼ carrot grated.
  • Method: Heat 1/3 cup juice from an orange (reserve zest) in a small saucepan until hot, not boiling. Pour warm juice over ¼ cup couscous in a bowl and stir well. Cover couscous and let stand for 2mins, fluff with a fork, then cover and let stand for a further 2mins. Fluff again with a fork then stir in 1 tablespoon of currents, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, ¼ carrot finely grated and reserved orange zest.
A lunchbox filled with healthy snacks

Tuesday lunchbox ideas:

Ingredients and Cost:

  • ½ cob corn = $0.50
  • 1 free range egg = $0.70
  • 200g reduced fat yoghurt = $1.00
  • 2 rye biscuits = $0.25
  •  ¼ avocado = $0.75
  • ½ tomato = $0.20
  • 2 slices of reduced fat cheese = $0.50
  • 1 tablespoon Muesli = $0.10
  • 50g peaches (in juice) = $0.60
  • Total = $4.60

Serve as:

1 serve of yoghurt with a tablespoon of untoasted muesli, 1 serve of tinned peaches, in juice, Corn on the cob: raw or blanched to liking, boiled egg, rye crackers topped with cheese, tomato and avocado. A few drops of lemon juice will stop the avocado from browning. Plus a water bottle.

A lunchbox filled with healthy snacks

Wednesday lunchbox ideas:

Ingredients and Cost:

  • Low fat milk popper = $0.66
  • 1 cup air popped popcorn = $0.20
  • 1 cup grapes = $0.50
  • Tomato & Mushrooms = $0.20

Shredded Chicken Taco

  • 2 taco shells =$0.50
  • ½ cup lettuce = $0.05
  • Cucumber slices = $0.05
  • ½ carrot = $0.01
  • Shredded Chicken = $1.50
  • Total =$3.67

Serve As:

Air Popped popcorn, 2 Shredded Chicken taco’s, add a Plain Milk popper, Cherry tomato and mushroom, 1 serve of grapes, plus a water bottle.

Air Popped Popcorn

Method: Place popcorn kernels in a microwave safe container with a lid for about 2 minutes or until most of the kernels have stopped popping. Serve plain or drizzle with a little olive oil

Shredded Chicken Taco

Method: Bake a chicken tender at 200 degrees for 25mins or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Allow to cool and use a fork to shred. Toast Tacos lightly for a few minutes, allow to cool and fill with lettuce, cucumber, carrot and shredded chicken.

A lunchbox filled with healthy snacks

Thursday lunchbox ideas:

Ingredients and Cost:

  • 1 grainy bread roll = $0.50
  • ¼ avocado = $0.75
  • ¼ can baked beans (no added salt) = $0.31
  • Vegetable Skewers = $0.50
  • 2 slices of reduced fat cheese = $0.50
  • 1 tablespoon Pepitas = $0.15
  • 1 apple = $0.40
  • Total = $3.11

Serve As:

An apple, served with cheese, and pumpkin seeds, add Vegetable Skewers, Half a grainy roll with avocado, 1 serve of baked beans (no added salt; perfect to eat with the grainy roll), and a water bottle.

A lunchbox filled with healthy snacks

Friday lunchbox ideas:

Ingredients and Cost:

  • Vegetable sticks = $ 0.50
  • 1 Plum = $0.50
  • 2 slices wholegrain bread with spread = $0.70
  • 4 grainy crackers = $0.32

Corn Dip

  • 1 tablespoon low fat natural yoghurt = $0.50
  • 2 tablespoon corn = $0.25
  • Spring onion = $0.15

Chia Pudding

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds = $0.20
  • ¼ cup reduced fat milk =$0.10
  • Cinnamon & Honey = $0.10
  • Total = $3.32

Serve As:

A serve of seasonal fruit, plus Chia Puddding, Vegetable sticks and grainy crackers served with corn dip. (Combine equal parts natural yoghurt with creamed corn (or puree your own). Season with a little lemon juice, spring onion and pepper if desired), Mini vegemite sandwich on grainy bread (try keep spreads like vegemite, jam and honey as occasional foods. Use cookie cutters to create interesting shapes for a fun snack.), and finally a water bottle.

Chia Pudding:

  • Ingredients: 1/3 cup chia seeds, 1/2 cup milk, 2 tablespoon yoghurt, ¼ cup tinned peaches (in juice) or banana
  • Method: Puree peaches or banana and combine with all other ingredients. The pudding will thicken the longer it is left to sit.
A lunchbox filled with healthy snacks

5 MORE Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

Nikki Boswell is a Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and as a Mum of 3, Nikki packs over 500 lunchboxes a year. Her e-book includes over 30 pages of information and colourful images, dozens of lunchbox friendly food suggestions, a five day lunchbox planner and shopping list, a lunchbox Planner Template, and 10 healthy recipes! 

This article was published in Issue 11 of our print magazine, August/September 2015.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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