Howdy, parents! Hello caregivers – guess what? It’s that time of year again! Summer has flown on by, and now it’s time to get ready for some daily back-to-school lunch-making! Have some first-time preschoolers ready to rock n’ roll? Do you have multi-aged children who have very different appetites and food requirements? As parents, it’s perfectly normal not to know where to begin when buying our b.box products - in terms of which products will hold enough food for your children’s different appetites and what sized lunchboxes are out there to fulfill their needs.
In this blog guide, we’ll break down our different lunch products based on your children’s ages + appetites. From preschool to school starters. From primary schoolers to tweens. Dream of a mumbox for you busy working super mamas? We’ve got your lunchmaking jitters sorted!
but first … what is healthy eating?
To make sure our children have the right balance of growth and development, a healthy way of eating is essential. Giving our kids a healthy, balanced diet and adequate hydration means they will stay healthy and maintain the energy needed to be physically active. And to do this, they need to eat the right amount of nutrients from 5 food groups to nourish their bodies. The 5 food groups are: fruit, dairy, protein, veggies + wholegrains.
Since every child’s stage of growth can vary according to their age, development and activity, there is obviously no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to age-appropriate lunchbox appetites. But what we can suggest is some healthy choices, and how they can fit into our b.box lunchbox favourites!
5 food groups
Keen to work out which foods to pack daily? Here’s a small guide to initial foods you can choose - for big, lunchtime smiles!
Fruits: apples, watermelon, grapes, bananas, mandarines
Vegetables: carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes
Proteins: tuna, chicken, lean meat, salmon, beans
Wholegrains: cereals, breads, rice, pasta + noodles
Dairy: milk, yoghurts, cheeses
Keen to work out how much food you need to pack for your child’s lunchbox appetite? We’ve divided the right portions by their age group – to keep your lunchtime prep easy and to keep your kiddies full!
appetite matters: how much food should I pack for my child?
preschooler: 3 years +
Starting preschool is so daunting! It’s not only the first time your kids will need a packed lunch, but they will also need to learn when certain foods breaks are (e.g., morning tea vs lunch), which container has which food, how to open each container, not to mention how to open and close their lunchbox as well! Need a hint? Practice makes perfect! Train your independent little one by getting them to eat from their new lunchbox at home!
Commonly, the average preschooler eats 3 meals a day + 2-3 snacks. But the amount of food can vary based on your child’s different calorie needs. If at this age, they are asking for more portions than usual, don’t panic - keep in mind that they could be going through a growth spurt. So, if they are extra hungry + water is still not enough, be a bit more flexible and pack a bigger lunch for the time being!
Preschoolers may typically require child-like sized portions - lesser amounts than a school-aged child. But when it’s combined in one of our age-appropriate lunchboxes – it can really pack a punch!
Our perfect go-to for preschoolers? Is our b.box mini lunchbox – containing all the features you love in our original larger lunchbox but packed a little lighter for smaller appetites! Our compact mini has plenty of space for healthy lunch options, such as a flexi whole fruit holder that stretches around and secures large fruits inside the lunchbox, plus 2 leak-proof compartments sealed separately for wet and dry foods such as puree, yoghurt, and dips. Got a mini-culinary whiz keen to shake things up? Adjust the compartment size with our removable divider. Slide it easily across for the ultimate in mix and match food choices: like sushi rolls, wraps or little salad sandwiches.
Have an independent eater looking to copy their older siblings when eating a meal? That’s great news! Help them unleash their culinary skills with our b.box mini spoon and b.box mini flork to practice scooping and picking up food to place in their mouths.
Our b.box mini spoon contains large handles for easy grip + greater control and fits easily inside our b.box snackbox + lunchbox. Best of all, its rounded head spoons wet and dry foods easily. Our b.box mini flork is also the perfect lunchbox companion, with flower forks prongs that let kids pick up fruit, veggies, and meat safely and hygienically. Its unique rounded prongs let kids pierce food and eat safely, even with little gums. Which means no more messy fingers!
Fancy packing extra snacks for longer days out? In addition to our lunchbox mini, we’ve also got our versatile b.box snackbox - the perfect go-to for smaller portions that keep little ones fed no matter what your day has in store – an after-preschool playground picnic, anyone?
This little beauty also has a flexi whole fruit holder to secure small fruits in place, plus 2 leak-proof sealed compartments for dips and yogurts for your peace of mind. Best of all? The snackbox is freezer safe - so you can prep food ahead of the game for the start of the week, ready to go! Its large clip is also suitable for small fingers + encourages independence.
On top of this … it has removable seals for thorough hand wash only cleaning!
school starter 5 years +
Is ‘big school’ calling your child’s name? Good news - a milestone year has arrived! Your kinder child may have grown taller, and their appetite stronger! Say goodbye to naptime, and hello to running around the playground and making new friends! A new burst of energy is required, so perhaps a bigger lunchbox may be needed to accommodate more hunger!
Our answer? Move up to a standard-sized b.box lunchbox filled with b.box silicone snack cups so your kids can still find what they need without any extra help. Complete with bigger compartments for snacks and for a whole sandwich or bagel/roll, a custom divider, whole fruit compartment, leak-proof silicone seals to secure wet foods plus an added gel cooler pack that can sit underneath the sandwich tray to help keep food cooler and fresher for longer, especially in the warmer months!
Speaking of the seasons, what if you’ve got the kind of child who just wants to eat pasta, morning, noon, and night? Never fear, our b.box insulated food jar is here! Slip some veggies in with some pasta and watch it stay warm for up to 5 hours, in any season. Alternatively, use this jar for refreshing fruit and yogurt for recess for up to 7 hours of coolness.
With a hearty 335ml capacity, an added spork utensil that tucks away into a custom bumper, and easy grip handles that help littlies open the jar easily, this lunch friendly jar will encourage independent eating. The best bit? Its removable arms and bumper can ensure the food jar can be tailored for older kids too. Its unique stop feature also stops parents from overtightening the lid!
Here’s a helpful hint: When using it to keep food warm - fill the stainless-steel base with hot water for a few minutes to warm it before pouring water out + filling it with delicious hot food!
Now that you have all your lunchtime friends, surely, they need a home where they can live! In that case, see our range of b.box insulated lunchbags! Our versatile lunchbag is designed to fit our other b.box lunchtime pals: including our lunchbox, mini lunchbox, snackbox, and insulated food jar. The hygienic, seamless interior base provides for an easy and thorough clean and the breathable side pockets keep most drink bottles in place. Plus, an easy use zipper opening and carry handle are suitable for kids’ lunchtimes on-the-go.
primary school kid 6-8 years
The bigger the kid – the busier the kid! This may mean that they might require more energy, minus the time it takes to eat! Think loading sandwiches with lean chicken or meats, or filling a wrap with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and chicken. Even better? If your primary schoolers are fans of Japanese food - turn your b.box lunchbox into a Bento box style lunch! Start by prepping the night before: by rolling a couple of long sushi filled with nutritious rice, low fat mayo, salmon or chicken, and avocado. In another compartment, add some cooked carrots, soft broccoli, and cherry tomatoes, and lastly, some strawberries + blueberries. All the food groups in one go, to start lunch hour with a bang!
Ensure delicious lunches are kept fresher for longer with our versatile b.box insulated lunchbag, designed to fit a variety of b.box lunch combos, including our lunchbox, mini lunchbox, snackbox, and insulated food jar … plus more! The hygienic, seamless interior base provides for an easy and thorough clean and the breathable side pockets keeps drink bottles in place (+ fits most b.box drink bottles) Plus, an easy use zipper opening and carry handle are suitable for lunchtimes on-the-go.
tween 8-12 years
Is your kid moving up in this world: no longer a kid, but not a full-blown teenager either? Is your tween starting to become pickier about what they want to eat at lunchtime, not wanting their meals to look ‘babyish’ and hear this is – embarrassing?
Dealing with a picky tween eater can be a frustrating challenge, but sometimes all it takes is a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ and creative genius to spark some food prep brilliance! If your tween wants to eat the minimum, snack more and get on with their free time, stick with our b.box lunchbox kids - and throw in our b.box silicone snack cups again for good measure - to make their lunch look more like a snack plate, and to fill them up in a quicker amount of time!
Think small and think variety. Mix almonds with strawberries for a burst of low GI. Think cherry tomatoes with cheese bites to add a dash of protein. Cut up some carrot and capsicum sticks in shades of red, yellow, and green, and add a couple of hard-boiled eggs for a giant burst of dairy + protein goodness. For dessert, bake a delicious low GI muffin in a silicone snack cup for a quick + easy ‘hit the spot’ experience!
Even better, are you tired of wrapping your tween’s sandwiches in disposable tin foil, zip lock bag or plastic wrap, only to find it uneaten at the bottom of their bag? Be ahead of the game and be kind to the planet with our new long-lasting b.box silicone lunch pocket, fit for packing a wider range of healthy snacks and lunch options: from sandwiches and rolls, to sushi, mini pizzas and more; without the need to use single use plastics!
So muti-functional, this silicone lunch pocket fits perfectly into the sandwich compartment of our bento-style b.box lunchbox. Your tween can also independently open and close the lunch pocket easily using the silicone pull tab. And after lunch is eaten? The pocket can be rolled up and safely secured using the tab on the back too.
Even better, get organized and save on moments of mayhem by preparing, refrigerating, or freezing lunches in the silicone lunch pocket in advance. Then in the morning? Simply pop it into their b.box lunchbox, feeling satisfied that they’ll be fed to the brim!
teenager 12 years +
Ever wonder how to keep up with your teenager’s mood + appetite? With hormones flying around and energy needing to be expended at a rate unknown to the average parent, plus being expected to focus for even longer periods of time, perhaps its time to pack some mood boosting foods that will continue to stabilise their blood sugar levels + give them a great dose of feel-good energy?
Think shavings of lean meats or poultry, wrapped with vegetables and wholegrain rice rolled up in either lettuce or a whole meal wrap in our b.box lunchbox. Think of edamame topped with avocado - great at delivering fat soluble B Vitamins to the body, plus whole meal corn crackers - packed with fibre to help slow the release of sugars into the blood stream. This is important to stabilise moods and emotional regulation. In another compartment? Dark grapes. And finally? Sweet mandarines mixed with blueberries – containing just the right number of antioxidants to help boost the mood!
And remember our b.box silicone lunch pocket - fit for packing a wider range of healthy snacks and lunch options: from sandwiches and rolls, to sushi, mini pizzas and more; without the need to use single use plastics!
While we are on the healthy food prep bandwagon, did you know that we can pack our own b.box lunchboxes for ourselves & our partners too? Besides our deep need for cups of caffeine, we like to fill our lunchboxes with healthy ingredients to keep our mood stable + to boost our energy for the day too!
Prep a salad with kale + flutter it with clean chicken breast and seeds. Pack a Pink Lady apple or orange for an after lunch burst of sweetness + satisfy the late afternoon jitters with carrot sticks and hummus dip. Have some leftover chicken or pea soup from the night before? Heat it up in our insulated food jar to fill your afternoon hangriness too!
So, there you have it mamas + caregivers, a myriad of appetites for even the most discerning of lunchtime eaters, including us mums! And remember mamas … if you aren’t sure about your children’s appetite according to their age, take note: this guide is full of suggestions only, as not every age equals the same appetite!
And lastly, before embarking on any new physical, mental, or emotional health regimen for your beloved children: always ask a recommended health professional first! Buon appetito!
about the author
Nicole Salinger is a copywriter + mental health first aider at b.box. She’s also a fellow mama-raiser of 4 grown humans. She is here to share the truth - and nothing but the truth – about the precious journey of Motherhood – and how to recover your sanity with children in tow!)