Packing Healthy Lunches

Lunch 8 min

Learn how to prepare nutritious lunches and make school lunchtimes enjoyable.

By DFC - PLC, Nutrition Team
Chili, fruit, yogurt and milk
Chili, fruit, yogurt and milk


  • Learn why lunchtime is an important time at school
  • Check out new ideas for healthy hot and cold lunches

School lunchtime is important!

At school, lunchtime is the ideal time for students to pause and take a break, have fun with classmates and take on energy to fuel their bodies. Help families prepare healthy lunches and help create a fun environment for the children to eat in. This in turn will help “set the table” for better learning!

What foods should be offered for lunch?

When sending information home to parents, encourage them to provide a wide selection of foods in their children’s lunch boxes, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, tofu, eggs, meat, dairy products and grains.

What beverages should be offered?

Milk or water are best for children at lunchtime.

What’s the best lunchtime setting?

Lunch should be eaten in a calm, pleasant environment so that the children are able to listen to their hunger and fullness cues. Children should be given at least 15 to 20 minutes to eat their lunch.

Hot lunch ideas

For a simple solution, leftovers can be reheated in a microwave.  Foods can also be kept hot in an insulated container. The possibilities are virtually unlimited: soups, casseroles, a vegetable stir-fry with tofu and rice, pasta, omelettes, meat loaf, etc.

Cold lunch ideas 

Above all, children enjoy foods based on their flavour and appearance. So adults should prepare healthy, appealing and tasty foods! Here are some suggestions to pass on to families:


  • Wholewheat pasta + hard-boiled egg + cubes of Swiss cheese + canned artichoke hearts, diced red bell pepper, chopped green onion and tomato chunks
  • Bulgur + diced cooked chicken + grated Gouda cheese + diced yellow bell pepper, fresh broccoli florets, sliced red onion and olives  
  • Quinoa or couscous + canned lentils + diced pear, chopped green beans, raisins and chopped celery + plain yogurt
  • Brown rice + kidney beans +  crumbled Feta cheese + chopped tomato, corn kernels and minced onion

To mix it up, add citrus juice, a salad dressing of your choice or pesto!

Mix-and-match sandwiches:

  • Sliced rye bread + mashed hardboiled eggs + Mozzarella cheese and plain yogurt + romaine lettuce, minced green onion and diced celery
  • Wholewheat tortilla + cooked ham + grated Swiss cheese + lettuce and minced red onion
  • Wholegrain bun + canned salmon + plain yogurt + cucumber slices and grated carrot
  • Ciabatta +  hummus or tofu spread + slice of Cheddar cheese + stirfried mushrooms and onions cooked the night before

You can also add flavorings such as parsley or other herbs, salsa, mashed avocado or baby leafy greens!


For more lunch suggestions, obtain a free copy of the brochure A Practical and User-Friendly Guide: Breakfasts + Snacks + Lunches.


For All Ages

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