Lunch box ideas - Healthy alternatives

A healthy lunchbox should include protein, vegetables, fruit and perhaps some other form of carbohydrate and a little something sweet – and a drink (preferably water).

Here are some ideas for each of these elements, which can be used to build a filling and healthy lunchbox every day of the week.

Protein options

  • Chicken drumsticks, thighs or wings
  • Eggs – boiled, scrambled or as an omelette, frittata or quiche
  • Cold cooked chicken or other cold cooked meats
  • Fish – tuna, sardines, salmon
  • High meat-content sausages
  • Cheese
  • Plain Greek yoghurt
  • Hummus
  • Nuts and/or seeds

Vegetable options

  • Carrot, cucumber or pepper sticks
  • Ratatouille
  • Chopped broccoli
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Chopped celery
  • Beetroot (with a fork to eat it to avoid purple hands!)
  • Mini corn-on-the-cob

Fruit options

  • Grapes (chopped for young children)
  • Berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
  • Chopped apple (with lemon squeezed on it to stop it browning)
  • Chopped melon (cantaloupe, water, gala)
  • Chopped pineapple
  • Chopped mango
  • Cold stewed fruit (apple, plums, peaches, pears, berries)

Carbohydrate options

  • Bread alternatives – pitta, wholemeal wraps, pancakes, pikelets
  • Banana bread
  • Healthy homemade muffins – oats, fruit, wholemeal, spelt
  • Healthy homemade flapjacks or cookies
  • A few chunks of dark chocolate
  • Homemade energy bites – nuts, seeds, oats, dried fruit whizzed together and rolled into a ball


Meal ideas:

Hummus and pitta bread

With vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumber, peppers)

Cold pasta salad

With protein and veggies of your choice

Warm pasta

With tomato/meat sauce and vegetables of choice

Leftover shepherds/cottage pie

Made with sweet potato mash and some chopped veggies in the sauce

Ploughman’s lunchbox

Chunk of cheddar cheese, 1 apple cut into wedges (squeeze lemon juice to stop going brown), chutney or salsa, cherry tomatoes, crackers

Home-made soup

With a small wholemeal read roll – tomato and lentil, sweet potato and chickpea, pea and mint, chicken and vegetable, butternut squash

Rainbow rice

Cooked rice mixed with chopped vegetables of your choice (peppers, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, mangetout, peas, sweetcorn) and optional dried fruit (sultanas, apricots) and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) all mixed together with a little olive oil, Worcestershire sauce or orange juice


With tomato sauce (with hidden vegetables blended into it - whatever you have in) and vegetables on the side (peas, sweetcorn, broccoli, green beans)