We use cookies on this site to provide some features and analyse our traffic.
We also share information (non-personal and non-identifiable) about your use of our site with our advertising and analytics partners.
By continuing to browse you are agreeing to the use of cookies. Read more about how we use cookies and how to block them
menuBrowse the site

articles, blogs & news

Packed Lunch Ideas


How do you make a packed lunch more interesting?

It's not as simple as it sounds, especially if you don't plan ahead. It's easy to come up with a standard sandwich, apple and packet of crisps so we thought it would be an idea to come up with a list of ideas to help and inspire. None of these are new but sometimes, if you are like me, you can be stuck for ideas and it can help to have a quick check list to refer to for back up!


The Eat Well Guide have lots of tips and recommendations to support families in preparing packed lunches.

  1. Get children involved in the decision making and the preparation of packed lunches.
  2. Make a list of all the foods we mention below that your children like and will eat. You can stick it on the fridge to give you ideas when you need them.
  3. Create a weekly or termly menu as this will help you to budget, reduce food wastage and ensure a range of foods. It's all too easy to fall into the trap of making the same packed lunch every day!
  4. Aim for low fat, low salt and low sugar options and include a variety of protein, starchy food, fruit, vegetables and foods that are high in fibre. .

Do check with your own school's policy regarding what is and is not allowed to be included in a packed lunch. Most schools request no nuts and some will have 'healthy school' status which will come with some restrictions. 

With that in mind, here is a list which will hopefully give you some suggestions to make those packed lunches a bit more exciting and interesting!

The Main Event...

  • Sandwiches – mix the slices for variety, one slice of wholemeal/granary and one white. Make boring old sandwiches more exciting by cutting into shapes with cookie cutters.
  • Bagels - toasted or untoasted, with cream cheese or jam.
  • Wraps - great for thin slices of cold meats and including some salad.
  • Flat Breads - make your own and include different flavours.
  • Pitta Pockets - a great alternative to sandwiches.
  • Rolls & baguettes - these are great for chunkier fillings like cold sausages.
  • Pancakes - homemade or shop bought, can be sweet or savoury.
  • Falafel - these are filling and excellent with some hummous to dip!
  • Crackers - serve with cheese or mini crackers as a snack
  • Teacakes - toasted as a sweet treat.
  • Mini crustless quiches - homemade and can have just about any filling that your kids like.
  • Mini Pizza - cold pizza isn't for everyone but some kids love it!
  • Frittata slices - this can be made in advance and kept in the fridge and can include a variety of fillings.
  • Brioche - great for an occasional treat
  • Quesadilla - basic cheesy filling or something more adventurous.
  • Pizza pinwheels - quick and easy to make together.
  • Savory muffins - another great way to get some hidden veggies into the lunch box. You'll find lots of recipes online.

Finger Food and Extras...

  • Cold sausage
  • Slices of ham
  • Slices of turkey
  • Cold chicken chunks
  • Salmon
  • Boiled egg
  • Cheese portion or cheese slices
  • Sausage roll
  • Pasty

Alternatives to bread...

  • Pasta salad
  • Rice salad
  • Couscous


  • Apple
  • Orange pieces
  • Grapes - cut length ways
  • Plum
  • Melon slices
  • Strawberries/raspberries/blueberries
  • Nectarine
  • Kiwi
  • Banana
  • Mango
  • Pineapple fingers
  • Raisins/sultanas/dried apricot - note that these are high in sugar.


  • Carrot sticks
  • Cucumber
  • Mange Tout
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Baby corn
  • Peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes - cut length ways
  • Celery
  • Olives

Snacks - be aware of salt and sugar content and try to give a variety.

  • Crisps - high in salt, try to alternate with some of the ideas below.
  • Plain popcorn
  • Rice cakes
  • Mini breadsticks
  • Cracker breads
  • Dry cereal – cheerios, bran flakes etc

Mini Pots

  • Yoghurt - fruit yoghurt or plain yoghurt with a small pot of frozen fruit. The fruit will have defrosted by lunchtime and will mix nicely with the natural yoghurt.
  • Custard
  • Rice pudding
  • Tinned fruit
  • Cream cheese - great for adding to a bagel, a cracker or dipping.
  • Hummus - for dipping pitta breads and vegetable fingers.

If you have any ideas that you'd like to share with us, please do get in touch and we will add them to the list!

Happy Packed Lunching!


Share this article:  Twitter Facebook