Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Tired of Sandwiches? School Lunch Ideas from Around the World!

By: Alberta Health Services Dietetic Interns and Registered Dietitians

Are you looking for healthy and tasty school lunch ideas for your kids? Well, you have come to the right place! Canada’s food guide can be used to pack balanced meals that go beyond sandwiches. Here are some ideas for school lunches inspired by cultural dishes from around the world!

  • Canada’s food guide shows us how to choose a variety of foods. It says we should have
    • Plenty of vegetables and fruit
    • Protein foods (like chicken, beans, or tofu) and
    • Grains (try whole grains when you can).
  • You can mix and match various foods, including those not listed here, and create lunches based on what your kid likes!

Meal Ideas from Around the World

You can add your family’s favourite foods to your kid’s lunchbox. Here are some examples that use Canada’s food guide to make tasty lunches inspired from different places around the world.

Adding traditional foods to your kid’s lunch can make their lunch more interesting and meaningful!

*Please check with the school about food allergy policies (e.g. peanuts, tree nuts, etc.)

Keeping Foods Hot or Cold

A Thermos™ can be used to keep food hot until lunchtime. Here’s how:

  1. Fill your thermos with hot water so that it becomes hot inside.
  2. Heat the food in a microwave, stove, or oven until it’s very hot and steaming.
  3. Pour out the hot water from the thermos. Be careful, it’s hot!
  4. Put the hot food into the thermos and close the lid.

Some items, such as sides of salad, yogurt, or sliced vegetables and fruits, need to stay cold. Keep them in a separate container. You can put an ice pack in their lunch bag to keep these foods cold.

Get your kids involved

Your kids can join you in planning and preparing their school lunches. Here’s how:

  • Ask them to help with simple tasks, like washing fruits or picking their favourite vegetables. Older kids may do harder tasks, like peeling carrots or opening cans.
  • This time together can be a fun family activity. You can share stories and bond with your kids.
  • Allow your kids to help choose from the different food groups (vegetables or fruit, protein foods, and grains). Kids like to have some choice.
  • It’s also a way to introduce them to new foods and encourage them to eat a variety of food.

When kids help, they enjoy their food more, and you will feel great knowing they are eating well. Happy lunch-making!

Other Resources:

For More Information about Canada’s Food Guide in other languages.

For More Information about Tips for Making School Lunches (AHS).