With winter in full swing and the new school term about to kick off, keeping your kids fuelled with nutritious lunches is NOW more important than ever. Between the chilly mornings and busy school days, their bodies need energy to stay warm, focused, and ready to learn and play. With the help of our handy b.box lunchbox, get ready to pack delicious and healthy meals that will keep your child energised throughout the winter school months.


the five food groups in a lunchbox


what are the five food groups?


In simple terms, the five food groups make up the Australian’s guide to healthy eating! 

These are: 

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grains: whole grain, high fibre
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives


    Did you know that Australians of all ages (including kids) don't eat enough of the five food groups? 1 This can impact their health and energy levels, especially during the colder months. The good news is that, with a bit of creativity and planning, we can help our children develop healthy eating habits and pack lunch boxes that are both delicious and nutritious. Let's break down each food group with fun and easy lunchbox ideas to ensure your child gets a well-rounded meal throughout the winter!



    1. go grain crazy

    Grains are our body's fuel tank! They're packed with carbohydrates (mainly starch) for long-lasting energy. But grains offer more than just a quick burst of power. They're a great source of protein for building strong muscles and fibre to keep your child's digestive system happy and healthy. Grains are also full of essential vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, iron, vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus – all superstars that help our bodies function properly.2

    Growing bodies have different needs! The amount of grains your child should eat daily will depend on their age: 

  • 4-8 years: 4 serves
  • 9-11 years: 4-5 serves
  • 12-13 years: 5-6 serves
  • 14-18 years: 7 serves3

    Don't worry about measuring everything out perfectly. A general guideline is that one serving of grains can be roughly the size of a slice of bread (around 40 grams) or half a cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal (which can range from 75 to 120 grams depending on the type).


    packing grains in your child’s lunchbox

    Here are some creative and delicious ways to pack wholesome grains into your child's lunchbox. From classic whole-wheat sandwiches to veggie-packed wraps, these will keep them fuelled for winter adventures and classroom learning!

    Whole-wheat sandwich: Prepare a whole-wheat sandwich using fluffy whole-wheat bread. Fill it with lean protein like grilled chicken or turkey, or add some cheesy goodness. You can pop the sandwich in our silicone lunch pocket, which fits directly into the lunchbox!



    • Pasta: Leftover whole-wheat pasta with a creamy tomato sauce or a pesto drizzle is a delicious and warming option. Add chopped veggies like broccoli or spinach for a nutritional boost.


    • Wraps: Whole-wheat tortillas are perfect for wraps filled with hummus, roasted vegetables, and a sprinkle of feta cheese.



    2.veggies are VERY important


    Veggies have been health heroes for years. Science just keeps finding more reasons to love them. The best part? Different veggies offer different superpowers! That's why packing a rainbow into your child's lunchbox is essential. Plus, all vegetables contain vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system, fight off infections and absorb iron from food!4


    The amount of vegetables your child needs each day depends on their age:

  • 4-8 years: 4 ½ serves
  • 9-11 years: 5 serves
  • 12-18 years: 5-5 ½ serves3

    Veggie servings are easy to remember. Think in terms of half a cup! That could be half a cup of cooked green veggies like broccoli, carrots, corn, half a potato or a medium tomato! Don't be afraid to mix and match —- the more colourful the variety, the more vitamins and minerals your child gets to enjoy!


    packing veggies in your child’s lunchbox

    Keeping your child's lunchbox interesting and nutritious doesn't have to be a chore! Let's explore ways to pack a rainbow of vegetables into your child's lunchbox, keeping them healthy and happy all winter!


    • Salad: With our lunch tub, you can pack a salad separately in the lunchbox! Give them options like chopped lettuce, shredded chicken or tofu, and chopped vegetables like bell peppers and cucumbers.



    • Rainbow sticks: Fill a small container with hummus or low-fat yoghurt to dip carrot sticks, cucumbers, or sugar snap peas.


    • Roasted veggies: Roasted sweet potato cubes, beetroot wedges, or zucchini slices add a touch of sweetness and vibrant colour to the lunchbox.



    3. get fruity


    Forget the supplements; science suggests that whole fruits might be even better at keeping your child healthy than vitamin pills. Plus, a fruit-filled childhood sets the stage for lifelong well-being! Fruits are bursting with energy, vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, and water. These fantastic nutrients fuel your child to grow strong, learn with focus, and conquer every adventure! Let's explore the delicious world of fruits and how they can help your child thrive at school and beyond.5


    The amount of fruit your child needs each day depends on their age: 

  • 4 - 8 years: 1 ½ serves
  • 9 - 18 years: 2 serves3

    There is no need to measure. Think of a medium-sized piece of fruit as a serving, such as a medium apple, banana, or orange. Alternatively, and in moderation, half a cup of 100% fruit juice (with no added sugar, of course!) can be a refreshing way to meet their daily needs.


    packing fruit in your child’s lunchbox


    Give your child's lunchbox a WHOLE lot of love with whole fruits —- it's the easiest, most natural and nutritious way to get your child's fruit intake up!


    • Whole fruits: Packing whole fruits is a breeze with the b.box lunchbox! Its unique flexi whole fruit holder is a game-changer. Forget pre-cutting —- the stretchy seal bends around the shape of any whole fruit, from apples to pears, so your child can enjoy a fresh, healthy snack —  hassle-free.



    • Sliced fruit: If you’re looking to pack some more fruit for the kids (without getting messy) slice them up and add them to our silicone snack cup! Ideal for separating and containing bite size foods, soggy crackers and runaway grapes will be a thing of the past.




    4. dairy goodness & alternatives


    Dairy such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt are packed with calcium, an essential nutrient that helps your kid's bones grow big and strong. These champions also contain other helpful nutrients, like protein to build muscles and vitamins A and D to keep them feeling awesome. However, some might not be able to enjoy dairy because of allergies or sensitivities (like lactose, the natural sugar in milk). That's totally okay! There are many other yummy ways to get their calcium intake up — with the help of dairy-free options.6


    The amount of milk, cheese, and yoghurt and/or alternatives your child needs each day depends on their age: 

  • 4-8 years: 1 ½ - 2 serves
  • 9–11 years: 2 ½ - 3 serves
  • 12-18 years: 3 ½ serves3

    One serving of milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives can look like ¾ cup of yoghurt (plain or low-fat are excellent choices!), two slices of cheese (about 40g, like the kind you put on a sandwich), or 1 cup of milk (full cream, soy, almond, oat—-you pick!). As for alternatives, eating 100g of almonds or 100g of firm tofu is like drinking 1 cup of full-cream milk!


    packing milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives in your child’s lunchbox


    Packing a lunch box with calcium-rich options is a fantastic way to fuel your child's day and support their growing bones. Here are some delicious and convenient ideas:


    • Probiotics: Pack a small pot of plain or plant-based yoghurt, topped with berries and a sprinkle of granola.


    • Cheese please!: String cheese is a convenient option that kids love. You can also cut up bite-sized cubes from a block of cheese. Both are great playful snacks!


    • Nutty alternatives: For that calcium boost, pack a small handful of almonds or a small container of almond butter with apple slices!



    5. protein packs a punch


    Packing a lunch box that energises your little explorer throughout the day can be a fun challenge. One key ingredient? Protein! It helps build strong muscles, keeps them feeling full, and supports overall growth. It is also the last important food group: lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans.7


    The amount of lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans your child needs each day depends on their age: 

  • 4-8 years: 1 ½ serves
  • 9-18 years: 2 ½ serves3

    Don't worry about getting out the measuring cups! One serving of protein can be a palm-sized portion of red meat such as beef, lamb, or pork. You can even prepare two large eggs cooked the way your child likes. Vegetarian options can include a quarter block of tofu or one cup of lentils, chickpeas, or split peas.


    packing protein in your child’s lunchbox


    Protein is like the building block for growing bodies, helping muscles develop and keeping them feeling full throughout the day. So, let's explore some delicious ways to incorporate protein into your child's lunchbox:


    • Leftovers?: Leftovers from dinner are a great way to save time and ensure a healthy lunch. Think baked salmon with roasted vegetables, lentil soup with a whole-wheat roll, or a chickpea curry with brown rice.


    • Hard-boiled eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a protein powerhouse and a filling lunchbox staple.


    • Chicken: Leftover grilled chicken or turkey breast can be chopped up for a salad or sandwich or enjoyed independently.


    • Quinoa bowl: Cook quinoa and top it with chopped veggies like broccoli, edamame, and carrots. You can also add a dollop of yoghurt.



    Four awesome lunchbox ideas


    Juggling a busy schedule? We get it. Here are four fun and easy lunch combinations to pack with the five food groups in mind:


    lunchbox 1: classic combo


    • large compartment: Whole-wheat pita bread stuffed with hummus and sliced turkey breast.


    • flexi whole fruit holder: Apple


    • compartment 1 (leakproof): Cherry tomatoes and baby carrots with a dollop of dressing.


    • compartment 2: Trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and whole-grain cereal.


    • compartment 3: Sliced cheddar cheese with whole-grain crackers.




    lunchbox 2: veggie power


    • large compartment: Brown rice pasta salad with chopped vegetables (bell peppers, broccoli, peas) and shredded chicken.


    • flexi whole fruit holder: Pear


    • compartment 1 (leakproof): Cucumber slices with a yoghurt dip.


    • compartment 2: Yoghurt dip.


    • compartment 3: Whole-wheat crackers with sliced avocado.



    lunchbox 3: wrap it up


    • large compartment: Veggie wrap with a whole-wheat tortilla filled with hummus, spinach, cucumber slices, and crumbled feta cheese.


    • flexi whole fruit holder: Grapes.


    • compartment 1 (leakproof): Sliced bell peppers and sugar snap peas.


    • compartment 2: Yoghurt with granola and berries.


    • compartment 3: Pretzel sticks.



    lunchbox 4: go meatless!


    • large compartment: Quinoa salad with black beans, corn, chopped vegetables (tomatoes, onions), and a light vinaigrette dressing.


    • flexi whole fruit holder: Mandarin/orange.


    • compartment 1 (leakproof): Sliced strawberries with a dollop of whipped cream (dairy-free option alternative).


    • compartment 2: Hard-boiled egg.


    • compartment 3: Whole-wheat banana bread.




    And there you have it:, conquering winter with a healthy lunchbox has never been easier! With the five food groups in mind, you can pack a rainbow of delicious and nutritious options that will keep your child energised throughout the cold months. Plus, our four lunchbox ideas provide endless inspiration for busy mornings. So ditch the stress and embrace the fun of packing lunches that fuel your child's winter adventures and set them up for a successful school term!


    happy packing!






    Written by Hana Handukic

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