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Healthy Lunches For Kids

Think Like a Kid


A healthy lunch includes foods from at least 3 of the 4 food groups from Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating. Parents want lunches to be healthy, convenient, affordable and most of all eaten and enjoyed by their children, while kids want something that is fun, appealing, tastes good and is approved of by their friends.

Think Like a Kid...

Kid's Choice

  • Involve children in the planning and preparation – they're more likely to eat their lunch that way. Put a copy of Canada's Food Guide on the fridge and encourage your children to include lunch foods from at least 3 of the 4 food groups.


Add variety to delicious sandwiches.

  • Use a cookie cutter to make interesting star, animal or heart shapes
  • Try a variety of breads (e.g. wholegrain, rye, roti, enriched or cheese flavoured breads, rolls, bagels, English muffins or pita bread)
  • Mini pitas stuffed with meat, vegetable or cheese fillings
  • A filled roti or tortilla wrap, cut into small pieces
  • Flavoured cream cheese on whole-wheat melba toast, bagel chips, crackers or rice cakes

Cool Foods

Children like to eat foods cold that adults wouldn't imagine doing.

  • Cold leftover pizza, chicken fingers, fish sticks
  • Cold pasta or cold macaroni and cheese with tuna, sliced meat or extra cheese
  • Mini-kabobs with cubed meat, cheese, sweet peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, grapes, melon or kiwi


Lunch can be leftovers or even a breakfast type of meal.

  • Meat or vegetable stew
  • Chilli con carne
  • Leftover pancakes or waffles, preferably whole-wheat.

Pre-Packaged and Easy

  • Include a small treat or an occasional pre-packaged lunch item if that is important to your child.
Although most children love fruit, at lunch they may not have the patience or time to peel fruit.

  • Pack small bite size pieces of fruit like grapes, pineapple chunks, strawberries, cherries or pieces of melon
  • Send containers of applesauce or canned fruit
  • Cut oranges into wedges
  • Halve kiwis and include a spoon to scoop out the flesh
  • Make a small cut into banana stems for easier peeling
  • Pack fruit into protective plastic containers to prevent bruising

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  • Prevent soggy sandwiches by putting lettuce, tomatoes or other vegetables in a container or small plastic bag for your kids to add at lunchtime
  • For extra flavour send individual ketchup or mustard packages like the kind you get at a fast-food outlet

Food Safety Checklist

  • Keep sandwiches in an insulated lunch bag with a freezer pack or a frozen juice or milk container
  • Chill all lunch bag items before putting them in the bag
  • Freeze sandwiches overnight. They'll thaw by lunchtime but stay cold and safe.
  • Pre-heat a thermos® with very hot or boiling water before filling with steaming hot food like soup, stew, spaghetti, chilli or baked beans
  • Make sure lunch boxes, insulated lunch bags, containers and cutlery are washed every day in hot soapy water

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Revised: June 25, 2010


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