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Lunchbox Tips

Making wholesome, healthy lunchbox prep look easy!

  • Be prepared and organised – Pack lunchboxes the evening before, rather than during the hectic school morning rush.
  • Shake things up – Variety is key: not only does variation in the diet provide nutritional benefits, but it reduces boredom and lack of interest in food.
  • Get the kids involved – Learning about food and nutrition are important life skills & should be encouraged from an early age.
  • Consider presentation – It is worth spending that extra few minutes on presentation, especially for younger children. Aim for a variety of shapes, colours and textures.
  • Try new foods – Children’s food preferences evolve as they mature, so continuously encouraging them to try new and different foods is a crucial step in their development of good eating habits.
  • Don’t forget about hydration – research suggests dehydration can lead to reduced concentration and performance in children. Water and milk are two excellent tooth-friendly choices; try to avoid sugary drinks.

Lunchbox Ideas

Sandwich Fillers

Spinach leaves, crunchy peppers & Cheddar cheese
Tuna & sweetcorn mix (natural yogurt/low-fat mayo) Chicken, mixed salad & tomato relish Turkey, grated Cheddar cheese & tomato

Sandwich Alternatives

Pesto pasta salad with chicken & peppers Couscous with roasted vegetables & chickpeas Rice salad with sliced hardboiled egg & spring onion Homemade soup & brown bread


Carrot and red pepper sticks with hummus Cubed Cheddar cheese with grapes Fruit salad with yogurt and seeds Fresh fruit smoothie made with milk or yogurt

Sample Lunchbox Weekly Planner

Below are some lunchtime and after-school snack ideas. Remember to adapt portion sizes to suit your child’s age and lifestyle; younger children will generally need smaller portions than older or more active children.


Little Break: Chopped raspberries and blueberries with natural yogurt
Big Break: Wholemeal sandwich with tuna & sweetcorn mix
After School Snack: Cheesy scrambled eggs with chopped onion/tomatoes 


Little Break: Small wholemeal scone and small banana
Big Break: Couscous with roasted vegetables, chickpeas and feta cheese
After School Snack: Oatcakes with sliced apple and peanut butter 


Little Break: Cubed cheddar cheese with grapes
Big Break: Wholemeal pitta pocket with hummus, turkey, cucumber and red peppers
After School Snack: Homemade rice pudding with stewed apple 


Little Break: Carrot and red pepper sticks with hummus
Big Break: Wholemeal pasta with homemade vegetable sauce topped with grated cheddar
After School Snack: Fresh fruit smoothie made with milk and/or yogurt 


Little Break: Banana and blueberry oat muffins
Big Break: Wrap with mayo, chicken, chopped tomato and salad leaves
After School Snack: Homemade pancakes topped with natural yogurt and berries 

Don’t forget to check out our Recipe page for further inspiration. You’ll find a whole host of delights, including Lilly’s lunchbox muffins

Back-To-School Lunchbox Tips for Teenagers

We, at the National Dairy Council (NDC), know that the secondary school day can be long and students need healthy options to keep them going at lunchtime and beyond depending on after-school study or activities. With so much misinformation about diets and nutrition on the internet, it can be confusing to know what goes into a healthy lunchbox and how to keep it varied! To help, we have enlisted Sinéad Delahunty, physiotherapist, food creator and Gaelic footballer, and Evan Lynch, registered dietitian and sports nutrition specialist, to create some videos where they chat about what a healthy lunchbox should contain, some lovely lunchtime recipes to try and the role of dairy as part of a healthy balanced diet. Along with the videos, we have created worksheets to assist classroom activities for students watching these videos in school or as a homework assignment.

There are 6 videos in total which are follows:

  • What’s in a Healthy School Lunchbox
  • Creative and Fast Lunchbox Solutions
  • The Importance of Dairy in a Teenage Diet
  • Dairy as part of a Healthy, Sustainable and Balanced Diet
  • Dairy & Sport
  • Busting Dairy Myths

The videos can be accessed on the NDC YouTube channel 

Worksheets & Recipes

For each of the videos we have developed a separate worksheet which can be printed off and used to fill in the questions associated with each of the videos.

In the videos, Sinéad Delahunty demonstrates how to make a tasty recipe that can be used as a lunchbox filler and can be found on our recipes page