Your guide to packing school lunchboxes

At Foodbank NSW & ACT, we believe that everyone deserves equal access to healthy and nutritious foods. That’s why we started our School Breakfast 4 Health program, now supporting over 600 schools in NSW alone with 2 million breakfasts every year.  


Choosing what to pack in a healthy lunchbox can be confusing. To make it easier, we’ve put together a simple guide that explains the five important food groups to include in your child’s lunch!

The five essential food groups



A balanced diet is crucial for children’s growth and development. It provides the nutrients they need for days full of playing and learning. A well-packed lunchbox helps improve their overall health, as well as their learning outcomes and social development.  


When packing a lunchbox, try to include items from the five main food groups:  

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1. Fruits & vegetables


These are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, which are needed for healthy development. Try choosing fresh produce that is in season – not only will it taste better, but it will also be more affordable.

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2. Grains


Breads and cereals will provide the energy children need to take on the day! Choose whole grain varieties where possible, as they are more nutritious and will keep kids feeling full for longer.

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3. Proteins


Foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds are excellent sources of protein. They are essential for growth and repair of body tissues. Some healthy lunchbox options include tinned tuna or salmon, lean chicken or turkey, boiled eggs, lentils or beans.

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4. Dairy


Foods such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt provide the calcium needed to grow strong bones and teeth.

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5. Water


Always include a bottle of water. It’s the best thirst quencher and keeps children hydrated throughout their busy day.

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Remember, variety is key! Try to include different foods from each group to ensure your child gets a range of nutrients.

Helpful tip: Try freezing a water bottle and storing it with the lunch to keep it cool and safe until the lunch bell rings.


At Foodbank NSW & ACT, we’re committed to ensuring everyone has access to nutritious foods. For personal health advice on what is right for your family, please speak to your local GP. 


If you or someone you know needs support, please visit our Find Food portal to connect with a Foodbank community partner in your area. 

We're here to help

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