A good and healthy lunch is essential to ensure your childâ??s energy and concentration levels are kept in check throughout the long school day, and possibly even for after school.

Here is the Good Life Guide to a healthy lunchbox.
The base

Nutritious fillings

  • Peanut butter and sliced banana

  • Grated carrots and/or pineapple mixed with cottage cheese

  • Tuna mayo with crunchy onion

  • Avo and cooked chicken (from the previous nightâ??s dinner)

  • Low fat cream cheese and strawberries

Fruit

  • Peeled and pre-cut fruits make for easy and fuss-free eating. Offer an easy-to-peel whole fruit like apple, banana, and naartjies.

  • Dice larger fruits like oranges in wedges.

  • Cut apples and pears into cubes or wedges and drizzle with lemon juice to prevent browning.

  • Make colourful mini fruit kebabs or fruit salad.

  • Small fruits like berries are great to nibble on.

Snack time

  • Dried fruit

  • Nuts and raisins mix (unsalted)

  • Lean biltong

  • Vegetable crudités with a hummus or yoghurt

  • Small tub of yoghurt

  • Drinking yoghurt

  • Pieces of cheese

Water

Provide a sturdy bottle with fresh water. Freeze overnight in the hot summer months, and encourage your child to fill up during the day if he/she gets thirsty.
Other tips for the perfect lunchbox

  • Stock up the cupboards with containers of different sizes.

  • With a packed lunch, your child has no choice but to eat what is offered. Buy a colourful and exciting lunchbox. We love the Woolworths lunchboxes for lunch-on-the-go.

  • Limit sweet treats like chocolates, sweets and muffins to once weekly, for example, on a Friday or the day of a test. Try placing a marshmallow at each end of the fruit skewer to ensure fruits are eaten with the treat.

  • Donâ??t forget to pack utensils if needed. Keep a few plastic spoons and forks handy.

  • Keep servings small. Lunchtime at schools is often no more than 30 minutes, and teachers wonâ??t appreciate your child eating during class.

  • On days where your child has after-school activities, be sure to pack extra foods.

For more articles on health, nutrition and fitness, visit the Good Life Dietitians blog.