Healthy Packed Lunch

Lunch is an important meal for everyone and many people choose to eat a packed lunch, whether it's a lunch box for your child to take to school or a lunch you can take to work. The key to a healthy packed lunch is getting the right balance. Choose a wide variety of foods which will help provide you with all the nutrients you need and enough energy to get through the day.

To make your packed lunch as healthy as possible try to include:

  • A good portion of starchy food, e.g. wholegrain roll, wholegrain bread, wraps or pitta pockets
  • A portion of lean meat, fish or alternative, e.g. chicken, ham, beef, tuna, sardines, mackerel, egg, beans or hummus
  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables, e.g. an apple, satsuma, handful of cherry tomatoes or carrot sticks, small tub of fruit salad or small box of raisins
  • A portion of semi-skimmed or 1% fat milk or other dairy food, e.g. reduced fat cheese, yogurt or fromage frais
  • A drink e.g. fruit juice, semi-skimmed or 1% fat milk, yogurt drink or a bottle of water.

Top lunch box tips

Variety in what you eat is really important for good health, and no one wants to eat the same sandwich everyday, so here are some tips to liven up your lunch box (but still keep it healthy)!

  • Try different breads or other starchy foods e.g. pitta pockets, tortilla wraps, crispbreads, couscous, pasta, potato salad or rice salad
  • Include vegetables with a tasty dip, e.g. cherry tomatoes, sticks of pepper, carrot or cucumber with reduced fat hummus or cottage cheese
  • Make your own fruit salad with bite size chunks of all your favourite fruits
  • Try a variety of different drinks e.g. carton of unsweetened fruit juice, bottle of water, carton of semi-skimmed milk, low fat yogurt or milk drink or fruit smoothies
  • Add salad and some reduced fat mayonnaise, mustard, chutney or pickle to liven up your usual sandwich or wrap
  • Use last night’s leftovers, such as couscous with roasted vegetables, pasta sauce and vegetables or a cold slice of homemade pizza
  • Having a healthy lunch does not mean giving up all the foods you enjoy. Foods such a slice of malt loaf or banana bread, a fruit scone, a small packet of crisps or a chocolate biscuit can be included from time to time for variety and appeal!
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Leaflet from the British Nutrition Foundation - visit them at  127k v. 7 18 Jul 2011, 13:06 Unknown user
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Poster offering suggestions for your packed lunch from the BNF  277k v. 7 18 Jul 2011, 13:07 Unknown user