My Lunch Box Packing Guidelines

This post is sponsored by Sunbites

My kids are growing fast, the twins are both taller than me now, but we won’t talk about that I am still in denial.  As they are growing they are asking for more food in their lunchbox.  However I don’t want to fill their lunchbox with the wrong food.  I try to stick to a few simple guidelines, this also makes it easier for me when shopping for the week to get the right foods.

My Lunchbox food guidelines

  1. Fruit
  2. Baking
  3. Fruit and/or vegetable
  4. Snack
  5. Sandwich, wrap or salad

Fruit & vegetables

I pack two pieces of fruit in the kids lunch boxes as they have a fruit break during their first session of school.  I also include a piece of fruit to have with their morning tea or lunch, their choice.  I pack most fruits – grapes, kiwifruit, strawberries, apples (read here how to stop apples from going brown), rockmelon, mandarin etc. I put oranges, watermelon (the really juicy fruits) in a container of their own to keep the juice contained. I also include a mixture of vegetable items like cucumber, carrot, capsicum, tomato and cheese cubes for something different.

Baking

I love to bake and always have something ready for school lunches in the freezer. I freeze baking as I rarely have time to bake fresh muffins, slices or biscuits through the week.  I spend a few hours in the kitchen every 2nd weekend and bake lunchbox treats and then freeze them.  I place the baked item frozen into the lunch boxes, they are always defrosted by morning tea time.  I have recently started making the kids a variety of ‘balls‘ for their lunches.

Snacks

This is usually what we call something with crunch or texture, a filler for the lunchbox.  After the kids have had their morning tea or lunch they are still a little peckish, this snack is usually items like, popcorn, rice crackers, grainwaves, pretzels, soy crisps etc.

HOMEMADE SNACK IDEAS: I like to keep a good supply of homemade baked biscuits, muffins etc in my freezer.  I place them frozen in the kids lunchboxes, and they are always defrosted by morning tea time. Here are some of my favourites:

Breakfast fruit biscuits are a great breakfast snack for busy mornings filled with fruit and wholemeal flour.

STORE BOUGHT SNACK IDEAS: We have really enjoyed Sunbites Grainwaves for many years now, we love the sour cream and chives variety they are so hard to stop eating as they are so good!  The added benefit to the Grainwaves is they are a better option to the regular potato chips as they contain 30% less fat and are 60% wholegrain.

{The-Organised-Housewife}-Sunbites-Grainwaves-1

I’ve also found the kids are really enjoying the new Sunbites Popcorn (they come in three flavours sour cream & chives, sweet & salt and lightly salted).  They are airpopped and like the grainwaves they come in convenient snack size packs, which I really like as I can put some in my handbag and snack on if I am out and about.  Usually I purchase all my snacks in the larger packets, keep them in an airtight container in the pantry and then serve only what’s needed into the lunch boxes, this then creates a rubbish free lunchbox.

{The-Organised-Housewife}-Sunbites-Airpopped-popcorn-2

Sandwich, wrap or salad

A sandwich is our typical go-to lunch item, but there are days that I change it up by using a tortilla wrap or bread roll.  The kids also really enjoy  salads through summer, like this pasta salad and hot food through winter.


Lunchbox Ideas

Fruit – Mandarin & Grapes | Snack – Sunbites Airpopped Popcorn
Lunch – Ham & Lettuce Sandwich | Baking – Weetbix & Banana Muffin

lunchbox notes available here

{The-Organsied-Housewife}-Lunchbox---Sunbits-Popcorn

 Fruit – Kiwifruit & Tomato, Carrot, Cucumber and Capsicum
Snack – Sunbites Grainwaves | Lunch – Shredded Chicken, Lettuce, Avocado and Cheese Wrap | Baking – Apricot Balls

{The-Organsied-Housewife}-Lunchbox---Sunbits-Grainwaves

These silicone wrap bands are great for keeping tortilla wraps together in the lunchbox, available from Lhere.

What are your kids favourite lunchbox snacks?

This post was coordinated by The Remarkables Group and run in accordance with my disclosure policy

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29 comments

Cheryl July 2, 2014 - 10:20 AM

I always struggle with ideas for the lunchbox and never really thought too hard about what I put in, I like the idea of using a plan, may make it easier to work out what to put in every day.

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Katrina July 2, 2014 - 11:49 AM

Takes the hard work out of thinking sticking to a plan Cheryl, hope this helps you too 🙂

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Larome July 2, 2014 - 10:23 AM

Kat you always cease to amaze me how organised you are. I’m forever trying to work out creative ideas to put in the kids lunchbox, love how simple and nutritious your lunch boxes are. I see all the bento type lunchboxes, and just think I never have the time. I didn’t know the sunbite popcorn packets were available, thanks I’ll be grabbing some of those for sure for the kids

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Katrina July 2, 2014 - 11:50 AM

I’ve always cooked up a bag of popcorn, but always ends up too much for the kids lunchboxes, so I waste so much, the kids are enjoying the new individual packets and all the different flavours, they’ve been handy to put in their bags at sport as snacks.

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Jasmine Tilley July 2, 2014 - 10:24 AM

Ooh that lunchbox note is very very cute!!

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Katrina July 2, 2014 - 11:48 AM

Thanks Jasmine, the kids love them too!

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Anne At Home July 2, 2014 - 10:52 AM

Hi Kat, great post! I know you’ve probably said this before but where are those lunch boxes from? I am really trying to cut down on plastic wraps/sandwich bags etc and they look great. Are the photos how you send them off to school, with no extra wrapping? Does it all stay fresh (eg are those grain waves still crunchy?! Or in reality do you still wrap stuff? Thanks in advance, Anne x

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Roslyn Woodhouse July 2, 2014 - 11:27 AM

The lunchbox is a sandwich keeper plus from Tupperware. I can’t speak for Kat’s kid’s lunches, but i use these for my kids and i don’t use any wrap at all. Everything stays fresh and sealed in it’s compartments. (there are ridges in the lid) I even give my kids homemade sausage rolls some days, and I put sauce in one of the smaller compartments. It never leaks.

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Katrina July 2, 2014 - 11:48 AM

Love how you don’t need to wrap anything, mmmm, sausage rolls sound good!!

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Nikki February 29, 2016 - 11:42 PM

Is this how you send the lunch boxes? My daughter gets things like yogurt, hard boiled eggs and savory muffins that need to stay cold. She has an insulated bag with ice bricks and I’m still paranoid about her food getting spoiled. I love the idea of these lunch boxes though.

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Katrina July 2, 2014 - 11:47 AM

Hi Anne, yes they are from Tupperware, they are called the sandwich keeper plus, they have smaller ones for just sandwiches. I have used these since the twins were in kindy, they are now 11. I have only ever purchased them once, if they have broken over this time tupperware have replaced them. I don’t use any extra wrapping, I only put the wetter types of fruit like oranges or watermelon into their own containers so they don’t leak over the sandwiches. All food stay fresh in them and I like that we don’t use clingwrap, less waste in the environment.

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Anne At Home July 2, 2014 - 1:40 PM

Thanks so much for the replies! Now I just need an invite to a Tupperware party…!

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Katrina July 13, 2014 - 6:01 PM

Yes Anne, this is exactly how they are sent, I really prefer not to use any glad wrap and everything stays perfectly fresh!

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Vonni July 2, 2014 - 12:21 PM

I love your posts on lunchboxes. My kids are not allowed to use the school bins for lunchbox waste which means it all comes home again. It has been a real eye opener as to what I have actually packed into their boxes and how much plastic I’m putting out there. Sandwich bags, yogurt containers, cling wrap, chippie packets, raisin boxes… Scary stuff!! Not to mention that it is easy to overpack a lunchbox with too much food that will not last the day and will add to the waste pile.

I managed to find 2 Tupperware ‘Sandwich Keeper Plus’ lunchboxes on ebay for $10 each as a consultant was going out of business. Bargain!! They will have paid for themselves after my next grocery shopping trip. No more waste, no more overfilled boxes or mangled food and they are easy to wipe out at the end of the day.

Thanks for putting me onto them and I look forward to more lunchbox posts soon 🙂

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Katrina July 13, 2014 - 6:03 PM

Love it Vonni, exactly why I love these lunchboxes too. Wow you found them at a bargain price so happy that my blog has inspired you!

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Liz McRoy July 2, 2014 - 1:29 PM

I always get inspired when I see your lunchbox posts. I get your organised and all, but it’s real and foods that the kids will eat, thanks Kat.

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Christie-Childhood 101 July 3, 2014 - 10:43 PM

Pikelets are a big hit here at the moment 🙂

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Tammy July 4, 2014 - 7:58 PM

Love love love this. My little one starts kindy in Jan so I’ve been keeping an eye out for lunch ideas. This will be printed and stuck to the fridge!
Question though, does that container keep the food fresh in summer or would you use an insulated lunch bag for school?
Thanks so much.

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Amanda July 6, 2014 - 10:55 AM

Tammy, definitely use an insulated cooler bag with an ice brick… our spring/summers are just too hot to keep food at a safe temperature otherwise 🙂

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Katrina July 13, 2014 - 6:04 PM

Tammy we do use the insulated bag with these to help keep the fruit fresh. Tupperware sell the insulated bags that fit the sandwich keeper plus perfectly.

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Julia K July 9, 2014 - 10:36 PM

I have a 5 item plan for my kids’ lunches. There are always 5 components, I simply increase the serving size as their appetites increase.

My 5 elements are:

1) Main Event (usually a sandwich / wrap / scroll)
2) Drink (water or an occasional popper / flavoured milk)
3) Fruit (fresh or canned)
4) Savoury Snack (crackers & cheese, veggie sticks & dip, potato chips)
5) Sweet Treat (slice / muffin)

My biggest problem is DS 10 who dislikes sandwiches. What a PAIN – he usually has extra fruit, some carrot sticks, whole tomatoes. I’m hoping to bake some pizza scrolls etc for the freezer this holidays to inspire him.

Another winter treat is Hot Dogs. I send along a buttered hot dog roll, a small container of tomato sauce, a frankfurter wrapped in foil, a mini pair of tongs and a flask of boiling water. At lunch time they carefully open the flask, pop the frankfurter in the water, rescrew the lid and leave for a couple of minutes – then remove the heated frankfurter using tongs and make up their own hot dog. NOT RECOMMENDED for younger kids – I usually put a post-it note with a warning on the flask reminding them to be extra careful and I always warn the kids in the morning. They really love this though – a change from “boring” sandwiches !

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Katrina July 13, 2014 - 6:06 PM

love that idea Julia K, my kids would love it as an occasional treat, I might just give it a go!!

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Paige November 18, 2014 - 10:01 AM

Do you find this is enough food for the kids? I love the idea of a Tupperware lunch box, but my son would need 2 for the day! one for morning tea and one for lunch! He is almost 4 and is very active, but eats so much food I cant keep up! we currently just use a massive container with a gazillion smaller containers inside, the washing up is painful though! Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife November 19, 2014 - 9:49 AM

Paige i understand what you are saying, my daughter eats a lot at school too. I still like to use the Tupperware Lunchbox container as it does save with washing up lot s of smaller containers but i also do put in another container (not as big) for other food so she doesn’t get hungry ~ Kate

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Eileen April 9, 2015 - 2:26 PM

Hi Katrina, I love the fact that you give your kids such healthy options in their lunchboxes, but please be careful with the Grain Waves – the plain ones are fine, but the flavoured ones contain MSG (flavour enhancer 621), which (amongst other things like causing headaches etc.) triggers the pancreas to release insulin, which in turn makes you hungry. This probably explains why the Sour Cream & Chive Grain Waves are so more-ish! Please DO read the ingredients list on packets – the less “numbers”, the better the product.
I also love the fact that your kids spend time in the kitchen, cooking! It will set them up for when they eventually leave home and with a bit of luck, they will eat their own home-cooked meals rather than buying “take-aways”, which is what so many young people do today.
Keep up the good work, Kat – you really are a “Super Mum”! 🙂

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Marcio Wilges November 2, 2015 - 3:27 PM

Apart from the variety of foods, I think the packaging of the lunchbox also plays a part in promoting the appeal factor to the kids. They will be more enticed to finish every single food item in there if they look appetizing enough. Previously I used to hire catering services that deliver scrumptious lunchboxes for any occasion and they have their own removal services after we are done with our food.

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Melissa February 29, 2016 - 11:06 AM

So I have a Tupperware lunch box as pictured but my problem is my son will eat twice as much as your lunch ideas he is two and I’ve even wormed him. I’ve had to resort to sending him to pre school with a plastic bag off food because no lunch box is big enough. He is not over weight he is stocky and built big he is the same size as my five year old daughter any ideas to fill him up with less food

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 29, 2016 - 11:11 AM

That’s a tough one Melissa, as my kids haven’t been through this I am not entirely sure, would you mind if I ask our facebook community and see what they suggest?

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Seona February 29, 2016 - 1:43 PM

My son is it like that, i have found more protein less carbs. Things like chicken legs, eggs cheese works well

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