Healthy Lunchbox Suggestions

Ideas for filling your child's lunchbox with nutrients.

Many parents aren't aware of the importance of lunch or are confused about what to pack in their child's lunchbox. Here are some helpful tips on making your child's lunch delicious and nutritious!


Sandwiches can be part of a healthy lunch, if they're put together creatively:

  • Try using bagels, rolls, pita pockets, English muffins, or raisin or multigrain bread instead of white bread.
  • Chicken, tuna, and egg salads are great sources of protein. Just go light on the mayonnaise.
  • Luncheon meats, such as lean cuts of ham, roast beef, or turkey, can also provide a good source of protein. Use thick slices of meat instead of thin ones, and make sure they're low in fat (under 95 percent).
  • Make peanut butter and jelly extra nutritious by adding raisins and granola.
  • Throw in vegetables whenever possible. Try lettuce, spinach, onions, or bean sprouts.
  • If you want to add condiments, try mustard instead of mayonnaise. If butter or salad dressing is your child's favorite, use low-fat versions.


Use your child's drink as another source of nutrition in his lunchbox:

  • Milk, providing plenty of calcium, is highly recommended as a daily beverage.
  • Water is always a healthy option, as long as it's accompanied by another calcium-rich food.
  • Fruit juices are okay on occasion, but make sure they're 100 percent juice.
  • Stay away from fruit punch or soda.


Instead of giving your child sweets, supplement his lunch with these healthy sides:

  • An apple or banana
  • Whole-wheat pretzels or crackers
  • Baked potato chips
  • Granola bars
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Rice cakes
  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Raisins

Sources: The Nemours Foundation; Sharon Bryant, RD, MGH Dietitian

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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