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Tips for a healthy school lunchbox + reducing food waste

17 Jan 2019

Discovering your child hasn't eaten their school lunch or has thrown their food away, is extremely frustrating for parents. The key to minimising food waste is to not to force your children to eat their food, rather educate them on nutrition. Here at Port Canal, we have come up with some top tips to reduce food waste and encourage kids to eat their lunchbox meals.

Let your children (help) pack their lunch:

Having your children assist in packing their own lunches is a great way to educate them on the correct food groups and also find out what their favourite snacks are. This also promotes feelings of responsibility and empowerment.

Another great idea is to designate a part of your kitchen as the “lunch packing station” and spend some time the night before, with your kids, to get lunch ready for the next day. 

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Frozen square pop lunch box from The Reject Shop for $12.00

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Avengers case and water bottle lunchbox from Kmart for $10.00

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Finding Nemo Sandwich Container from Coles

Ensure their lunch has variety of food groups:

You can turn healthy foods into fun foods quick and easily by using cookie cutters or make (kid friendly) healthy skewers. The best lunchbox ratio is: a variety of essential food groups plus a healthy treat.

Examples of a healthy lunchbox foods:

  • Carbohydrates:  a sandwich/ wrap, rice crackers or pasta
  • Lean Protein: Boiled egg, nuts, fat-free turkey, chicken or ham
  • Fruit and Vegetables: Carrot and celery sticks, banana, sultanas, apple
  • Dairy: Yoghurt cup, cheese stick
  • Healthy Treat: Savoury muffins with fruit (homemade are always best), or health slice (seeds, honey and oats).

NOTE: it’s also a good idea to look at making smaller portions instead of one giant meal. Kids are busy running around and playing at lunchtime. They need quick meals/snacks to eat so they can get back in the playground.

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Cookie cutters 5pk from Kmart for $1.50

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Pug Backpack from Kmart for $10.00

Create your own snacks with leftovers.

When shopping for nutritious snacks for your children’s lunches, don’t be fooled by fake ‘healthy’ packaging. A lot of misleading advertising on products can lead us to believe certain products are good for our children, when really all they are a disguised sugar sticks.

The best way to know what your child is consuming, is to make homemade snacks yourself… And what better way to fill their lunch box a minimise food waste, than to use leftovers.

Some great lunchbox leftover ideas are:

  • Dried banana chips (baked with lemon juice not deep fried)
  • Zucchini Fritter (leftover vegetables and eggs)
  • Savoury Mini muffins (leftover grated vegetables)
  • Muesli fruit slice (coconut, sultana, muesli)

Keep school lunches safe in the summer heat:

Summer is only going to get hotter so it’s extremely important to give your children enough water and educate them on how to correctly store their lunches at school.

When left out in the heat, foods such as meat, cheese, fish and milk will spoil and start to smell because of bacteria. The good news is that the bacteria that cause food to spoil is different to the bacteria that typically cause food poisoning. However, harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning can still end up in lunchboxes and picnics. Controlling the temperature of the food can help minimise the chance of getting sick, or the severity of any food-borne illness.

When it comes to hydration, it is recommended that children drink between 6-8 cups of water a day. A great way to encourage this is to let your child pick out their favourite water bottle and set goals for them to drink the whole thing at least twice at school. 

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Paw Patrol water bottle from The Reject Shop $8.00

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L.O.L surprise bottle from Kmart $8.00

If you need help with shopping for back to school essentials, be sure to check out our 3 stop shop BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING GUIDE


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