How to: pack the perfect lunchbox

How to: pack the perfect lunchbox

A nutritious school meal is all about balance.

Follow these simple tips and pack a delicious lunch.

4 essential components

  1. Main meal: Combine healthy carbohydrates (like low-GI bread, wholewheat wraps, rolls or pasta and beans) and protein (like lean meat, fish and eggs) to ensure a steady release of energy, helping kids concentrate better in class, maintain energy and feel fuller for longer.
  2. Fruit and vegetables: These are high in vitamins and fibre, aiding the digestive system function
    and keeping kids healthy.
  3. Pack wholesome snacks: Include things that are lower in fat but still yummy enough to appeal to the kids as a treat. Popcorn and pretzels are better options than deep-fried crisps.
  4. Staying hydrated: It’s very important for kids as their days are packed with activities. Fresh water is your best bet. Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day and especially during sports after school.


Main meal ideas

Lamb and tzatziki hotdogs. Fill the inside of wholewheat hotdog rolls with cooked lamb boerewors
and top with a sprinkling of feta.

Beef burgers. Stuff a low-GI bun with lettuce, beef patty, Cheddar and a sauce made by frying halved
cherry tomatoes until soft. Add preferred seasoning.

Smoked chicken and avo wraps. Mash avocado with lots of lemon juice (this will prevent discolouration) and
spread inside wholewheat wraps. Top with cucumber sticks and sliced smoked chicken, and roll up.

Creamy chicken sandwiches. Combine finely shredded roast chicken with smooth cottage cheese and
chopped basil, and sandwich together on low-GI bread. Cut into a fun shape like a star or dinosaur using
a sandwich cutter.

Bacon and peppadew jaffles. Make sandwiches on low-GI bread with crispy bacon, peppadews and
mozzarella. Toast in a jaffle pan or snackwich. Cool before packing into a lunchbox.

Mini egg frittatas. Bake egg custard in paper or silicone cups with grated baby marrow, chopped ham and
grated Cheddar.

Tuna pancakes. Combine tinned tuna with light mayonnaise and chopped gherkins. Spread onto
pancakes and roll up with baby leaves.

Scrambled egg pitas. Stuff low-GI pita pockets with scrambled egg mixed with chunky cottage cheese
and chopped chives.

Mini mince empanadas. Fill 10cm store-bought shortcrust pastry circles with savoury mince (great for
hiding veggies like grated carrots, celery, onion, peas and corn). Fold closed, egg wash and bake for about
30 minutes at 200°C or until golden.

Mini margarita pizzas. Spread wholewheat wraps with tomato paste and sprinkle with mozzarella and sliced
cherry tomatoes. Bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes or until golden.

Sweet potato toast. Cut a sweet potato lengthways (with or without the skin) into 7mm thick slices. Toast
about three times on the highest setting of your toaster or until cooked through when pricked with a fork.
Mash together peanut butter and banana and serve with the ‘toast’.

Mix up options to make lunchboxes exciting!


  • Naartjie
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Banana (unsliced)
  • Apple (unsliced)
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Peach


  • Baby carrot balls
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber wheels
  • Sweetcorn
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Peas


  • Nuts and raisins
  • Pretzels
  • Dried fruit
  • Popcorn
  • Mini oat cookies
  • Biltong
  • Seed bars
  • Hummus or tzatziki and veggie chips
  • Melrose cheese portions or Cheddar sticks


  • Cold milk
  • Water
  • Drinking yoghurt (watch out for too much sugar, or make your own by blitzing together their favourite fruit
    and plain yoghurt. Thin out with milk to their liking and add honey to taste).

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About Nolwazi Dhlamini

Features Writer for Your Family magazine. She’s worked in print and digital media, and finds thrill in understanding human behaviour. Nolwazi believes everyone has a fascinating story to tell, and it just takes the right person, asking the right questions, to find it.


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