Our favourite summer lunch box ideas

25 October 2019 | Cancer Council NSW

Now that the warmer months are here, so is the thought of summer lunches. Sometimes packing the kids lunch box can feel a little overwhelming. But making a healthy lunch box in the summer doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is making lunches light and cool and using fresh and seasonal fruit and veg.


How to build a summer lunch box

Fruit: Summer fruit makes a refreshing and sweet school snack.

Try: grapes, berries, cut up fresh fruit, or even fruit salad.


Mixed saladVegetables: Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, and high in fibre.

Try: mixed salads on their own, in wraps and sandwiches, or snack on cherry tomatoes, snow peas, carrot sticks, celery, baby cucumbers or corn cobs. See our range of salad recipes.


Breads and cereals: provide our kids with the energy they need throughout the day. Choosing wholegrain products is preferred.

Try: multigrain crackers or crisp breads, wraps or cold salads containing noodles, pasta or rice. Check out  our soy and ginger chicken noodle salad.


Meat & alternatives: This food group provides loads of protein that keeps tummies full, and essential nutrients that the body requires.

Try: tuna, salmon, lean lamb or beef, chicken, tofu, lentils and beans in salads and sandwich fillings. Keep it simple with boiled eggs or hummus as a snack. Serve up a substantial salad for dinner and serve up leftovers for lunch.  Check out our Thai beef salad.


Dairy: Dairy provides protein and calcium for healthy bones and teeth. A cold dairy snack makes a refreshing morning tea.

Try: yoghurt pouches, our minty yoghurt dip, or our berrylicious smoothie. Pack it next to the cold brick to keep it cool.


Don’t forget the water! Water keeps us hydrated, and cool in summer. Make it fun; try adding frozen berries or cucumber.


How to keep your kids’ food safe in summer

Summer lunch boxAs its getting warmer, it is also important to keep our kids’ food safe. Keep lunch cold in a cooler bag with a freezer brick or frozen bottle of water.

It is also important to do what we can at home, to avoid children getting sick from food. Make sure that:

  • Fruit and veg is washed well before packing it in the lunch box
  • You use a separate chopping board and knife when preparing raw meat so you don’t transfer bacteria or viruses to ready to eat foods

Planning ahead and getting the kids involved in the planning and preparation of their lunches can be a good way to ensure a yummy summer lunch box will be on its way to school.


For more recipes, tips and ideas on how to pack a healthy lunch box, check out our Healthy Lunch Box website.