5 back-to-school lunchbox ideas

With only a small percentage of Aussie kids getting their recommended daily serves of fruit and vegetables, it's even more important to pack your kids' lunchboxes with deliciously healthy treats.

According to the National Health Survey, only 6 per cent of Australian kids aged 2 to 17 years are meeting the guidelines for their recommended serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Woolworths senior nutritionist, Natalie Chong, says that packing a nutritious lunchbox kids will actually eat is a challenge.

She adds that a balanced lunchbox should feature the five food groups: vegetables, fruit, dairy (or alternatives), grains and protein.

Think veggies such as carrot sticks, one piece of fruit, milk or cheese (or alternatives if there are intolerances or allergies), lean meats or legumes/beans, whole grains (pasta, wraps, bread etc.) and water for hydration. 

While including all that may see overwhelming, Natalie suggests the following foods for maximum nutrition that your kids will actually eat.

Flavoured milk 

Look out for low sugar flavoured milks to pack in kids' lunchboxes. You can now get varieties that have 25 per cent less sugar than the average amount of other milks so it's not a naughty treat anymore. 

Macro Lentil Bites pumpkin

"These lentil bites are a healthier alternative to regular chips," Natalie explains. "They are made with Aussie grown lentils, chickpeas and a hint of pumpkin, so there are lots of hidden veggies that your little one
will never find out about!"

And if these are a hit, you're in luck as you’ll see more and more plant-based products hitting shelves this year.

Yoghurt pouches

Not every parent has time up their sleeve to be cooking fancy lunchbox concoctions. So, packing a yoghurt pouch is a great save.

A bonus is that they're a great source of calcium and easy to eat on the go. 

Solanato tomatoes

These sweet tomatoes are perfect for adding a serve of veggies to your little one's lunchbox.

"Another option could be pre-chopping carrot sticks, celery sticks or beans to pop into the
lunch box for a healthy and nutritious snack," Natalie adds.

Watermelon water

There was the craze of coconut water and now there's watermelon water. Handy tetra packs make it easy to pack a mini carton into school bags. 

"It can be a great treat in the lunchbox on hot summer days but don’t forget to encourage plenty of water too," Natalie says. 

Mini fruit

"Kids love mini versions of their favourite fruits and our Fresh Food Kids range of Mini Fruit are
available in Mini Pears, Apples and Bananas," Natalie says.

She also suggests putting all the different mini fruits into a bowl and letting your child pick out what they want for the day.

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