Are your children back to school?

The Gut Foundation is very aware that coming up with healthy, nutritious and interesting lunches can be a challenge. We have put a few ideas together below to help with the lunchbox coming home empty.

Our children are active, growing and require nutritious meals to help with their growth and development. Many of our attitudes and behaviours towards food are achieved during childhood, so creating healthy eating habits at a young age is very important.

Children also require nutritious meals and snacks that are going to provide the fuel to enable them to concentrate at school and have energy for all the different activities.

Food groups that are important for children include:

  • Fruit, Vegetables and Legumes
  • Wholegrain, high fibre cereals (bread, pasta, rice, & breakfast cereals)
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs or alternatives
  • Dairy products (yoghurt, milk, cheese) or alternatives.

Occasional foods such as; chips, lollies, cake, biscuits & ice cream are exactly that, occasional. These foods should not be excluded totally from the diet, but having these foods too often can result in a child becoming overweight and/or developing other health problems. Sugary drinks should also be occasional. Limit intake of sweetened drinks and encourage children to have water or a glass of milk.

Overall meals and snacks should be nutritious but also enjoyable, look & taste good and be social. We hope some of the ideas below help with your child’s lunch box coming home empty!

Chicken, Avocado and Sweetcorn Wrap

  • Cooked chicken breast shredded
  • Sweetcorn kernels or creamed sweetcorn (canned, drained)
  • Avocado mashed
  • Wholemeal Wrap
  1. In a bowl mash the avocado, add the sweetcorn and shredded chicken and mix to combine.
  2. Lay a wrap flat and place two table spoons of the mixture in the centre of the wrap.
  3. Fold in the two ends and then roll.Slice across the middle and pack in cling wrap and a container.

Homemade Fruit Crush

Any fruit your child enjoys can be used, but as an example:

  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Orange segments (peeled)
  • Apple or Pineapple Juice
  • Peel and chop up the fruit then in a bowl mash.
  • Add the fruit juice and mix to a thick custard consistency.
  • Place in small individual tubs (~100 to 150ml size) and freeze. 

On the morning of school grab a tub and place in the lunch box. The fruit crush will defrost by lunch but will help keep the contents of the lunch box cool. Make sure there is a small spoon in with the tub.

Mini Vegie Frittatas (should make 8)

  • 6 Eggs whisked
  • 200g Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 sliced spring onion
  • 1 Grated zucchini
  • 3 tblsp chopped red or yellow capsicum
  • 1/2 cup of cooked and cooled quinoa or couscous
  • In a small non-stick frying pan, fry the capsicum in a small amount of oil till soft, add the spring onion and grated zucchini and fry for a further 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Remove frying pan from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool.
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs, add the grated cheese, sauteed vegetables and quinoa or couscous. Mix to combine.
  • Spray a muffin tin with some oil and spoon mixture into the tin.
  • Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool, then place in the fridge.


On the morning of school take one or two of the mini frittatas and wrap in cling and pack in the lunch box.

Wholemeal Pasta Salad with Feta

  • Diced Cucumber
  • Diced Red Capsicum
  • Grated Carrot
  • Chopped tomato
  • Crumbled Feta
  • Cooked and cooled Wholemeal Pasta (fruselli)
  • Olive Oil
  1. In a large bowl mix pasta with salad vegetables and crumbled fetta.

Drizzle with olive oil and spoon a serving into a small tub and place in the lunchbox.

Fruit Smoothie

  • Greek Yoghurt 
  • Fruit
  • Chia Seeds
  • Put half a peeled banana, a few strawberries and raspberries a tblsp on chia seeds and a tblsp of yoghurt into a blender and blend. 
  • Pour into bottles and pack one in a lunchbox. 
  • If the fruit is peeled and frozen it blends more easily and makes the smoothie ice cold.
  • Once again these smoothies could be frozen and then added to the lunch box on the morning of school and keep everything cool till lunchtime.

Snack Ideas - great to share with friends

Fruit peeled and chopped into pieces. Make sure a drizzle of lemon juice is used to stop some fruits going brown. Breakfast cereal dry in a small freezer bag can be eaten instead of chips. Mixed dried fruit in a small tub. Carrot, cucumber or red/yellow capsicum sticks in a small container. Slices of cheese with sliced apple or pear. 

Please be aware of any particular rules within your school on foods that cannot be eaten on school grounds, for example nuts. It is not that they are unhealthy, it will be due to risk of allergic reactions. 

If you have a delicious recipe you would like to share with us, please contact us