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What to pack in your child's lunchbox


All children need specific nutrients to help them grow and develop. Healthy, nutritious meals will help your child to have more energy, better concentration at school, stronger immune system, healthier bones, normal bowel function, improved mood, healthy body weight.

The keys to a school lunch are nutrition, variety and balance. Offer at least five items in the lunchbox to get a little bit of everything’. Use these 5 food groups to guide you. Balanced back-to-school lunch includes starches, protein, fruits, vegetables and fats.


I don’t believe there are any ‘wrong’ foods. Adding a little treat never hurts and it will teach your child about moderation, variety and balance.

  • No need for sweetened drinks such as juice or soft drinks as these contain too much sugar which are not good for your child’s teeth, rather include a bottle of water.

  • Avoid fast foods and junk foods. There are few nutrients in fast food, yet a large amount of calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol, salt and preservatives.

  • Avoid sugar-laden breakfast cereals, breakfast bars and granola bars as these are usually high in sugar.

  • Portion control! Prevent habits of overeating.

  • Chips may be a convenient choice for a lunch side but potato chips contain lots of sodium and processed fats. It will leave your child still feeling hungry after their lunch.

  • Avoid Energy drinks. Energy drinks contain lots of sugar and caffeine which no child needs.

  • Try not to buy many pre-made items. Bake or make your own snacks once or twice a week like whole-wheat oat muffins.

· Avoid chocolate spreads rather make use of nut butters.

  • Don’t pack items children need help opening (they might end up not eating it).

  • Don’t pack the same thing everyday. Variety is key.


There might be a number of reasons why your child does not eat or finish their lunch, such as they didn’t have enough time, they started playing before they ate, ‘messy’ lunch (spaghetti bolognese) or they weren’t hungry.

Lunch should never be avoided because your child did not ‘like’ the lunch you prepared. Here’s a few lunchbox ideas.

Elmari Carelse


mobile: 072 447 0165

Instagram: @dietitian_ec

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