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I just ran a startling calculation.

With 5 kids, I’ve now made over 3,500 school lunches!

Umm… that’s a lotta lunches.

I’m no expert, but surely us parents (& kids if they’re helping!) deserve some cred.

School lunches are such an important part of our kid’s daily nutrition.

At school, they need protein to keep their brains firing, healthy fats to satiate, solid energy foods, and some fresh fruit & veg.

But yeah… as we all know, it’s pretty rare for school lunches to contain all that goodness.

I get it.

Mornings are crazy enough without making whole-food based lunches.

“Who has time for that?!” is easy to think.

But once I got into a habit of whole-fooding lunches and ditching packet-foods, it really wasn’t hard.

Like anything, there’s a learning curve, and then it’s second nature!

If you want some fresh ideas and recipes for school lunches, scroll on.

I’m proud to be an Ambassador for No Packet November!

No Packet November is a movement which encourages families to pack real food in lunches, and reduce their consumption of packaged food for one month. Packaged foods are usually rubbish on the outside, and rubbish on the inside 😉

And as my fellow-Ambassador Belinda Smith of The Root Cause put it, to make a stand against the billion-dollar food manufacturers that are making us sick. Not only are the many packet foods on our supermarket shelf contributing to many of today’s illnesses, they are also having a negative impact on the environment – the world in which our kids are growing up in. You can read about the scale of lunchbox rubbish here.

The goal?

We’d love to see Aussie students going to school with one less packet-food than usual every day in November.

Here’s some ideas:
My formula:

We have a lunch box ‘formula’ we loosely follow around here.

It helps the kids (or Jordan / me) take charge of their lunches easily.

It sits on the fridge and lists ideas for each category of food we ideally want in the lunch box each day.

1 x fruit
1 x vegetable
1 x protein food
1 x healthy fat food
1 x good energy food
1 x healthy treat
(and ideally, 1 x gut-lovin’ food)
*Often one food contains more than one of those things above. A smoothie for example can cover almost all of the above all at once!

You don’t need to be making a tonne of recipes!

Simple, simple, simple is always best.

Here’s a few ideas.



The easiest one ever.
– Whole / cut / sliced straight-up fruit
– Frozen fruit in a frozen smoothie. We love this one. You can even sneak in the protein and healthy fats too! Think hemp seeds, protein powder, avocado, cashews
– Rainbow fruit skewers (fruit of various colours thread onto a skewer)
Tip: Squeeze some lemon juice on cut fruit to stop it going brown.


– Vege sticks are my go-to. I said we keep it simple 😉
– Try preparing them differently: sticks, rounds, grated, roasted, frozen (yep, try frozen peas and corn!).
– Celery boats (celery with a nut or seed butter, and sultanas placed on top)
– Pumpkin / zucchini / sweet potato in a mini-quiche
– 1/4 zucchini in the smoothie too 😉
– Rice paper rolls
– Grated carrot cake
Nachos (left over from dinner)
Taco salad (left over from dinner)
– Olives / pickles if your kids are into that
– Spinach sandwiches, if your kids already eat spinach at home
– Lettuce cup burgers




– Boiled eggs
Hemp seeds / protein powder in a smoothie, sprinkled on basically anything, or in a bar or slice
– Hummus
Seeds / nuts
Seed spread on crackers or bread
– Any bar / slice / bliss ball loaded with seeds or nuts (depending on the nut-free status of your school)
– Cold chia puddings
– Roasted chickpeas
– Mini meat-balls
– Left over chicken nuggets
– Seed trail mix
– Check out the ‘protein ideas for school lunches’ below


Healthy Fat:

– Avocado in smoothie or guacamole dip with corn chips
Nut / seed butter (peanut / almond / tahini / sunflower / cashew butter…)
Nuts or seeds
– Salad dressing with good quality oils
– Chia seeds (pudding / in a smoothie)
– Good quality yoghurt


Good Energy Food:

– Wholegrain bread
– See the pizza scroll recipe below (make a big batch and freeze)
Quinoa fritters
– Pancakes (our absolute go-to! We usually use oats, spelt flour, banana flour or buckwheat flour as a base)
Rice (for sushi, or a taco / tuna salad)
Pasta (pasta salad / pasta bake / spaghetti left overs)
– Overnight oats
– Good quality wraps

 Vegan Buckwheat Banana Blueberry pancakes Recipe


Healthy Treat:

Popcorn (use the good stuff popped in the saucepan. It’s our 9-year-old’s speciality)
Cranberries, organic, no sugar
– Bliss balls (see heaps of recipes below)
– Other dried fruits like organic apricots
– Superfood bar
– Organic corn chips
– PB&J “toastie” (take a good quality puff pastry, cut into 4 squares, add a dollop of natural peanut (or sunflower) butter and chia-berry jam, fold it over into a triangle and bake.
– Or see the recipes below…


‘Gut-Lovin’ Food’:
– Yoghurt
– Anything made with this banana flour (soooo good for the gut)
Tiger nuts (if your kids like them. Half of mine do!)
– Hide some sauerkraut in their salad / sushi / dip


I’ll usually whip up a recipe for lunches once a week or so.

Here’s some of my favourite recipes, as well as a few killer resources to help out:

Vegan Taco Mince

Nachos / Taco Salad


Chicken Quinoa Ricotta Patties
Spelt Flour Pizza Scroll

Spelt Dough Vegan Pizza Scrolls
Chickpea Falafel


Nutrient Packed Chickpea Falafels
Bounty Bubble Bar

Healthy Cacao Bubble Bars
Chewy Caramel Rice Bar

Lemon and Macadamia Cookies

Lemon Macadamia Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hemp Protein Bars

Peanut Butter Hemp Protein Bars
Peanut Choc Resistant Starch Balls

Chocolate Peanut Resistant Starch Bliss Balls

Almost Raw Cookie-Dough Bliss Balls – our kids DEVOUR these!

Mango Macadamia (or use Cashews!) Bliss Balls

Chocolate Protein Bombs

Chocolate Fat Bombs

Salted Caramel Bliss Balls
Gooey Sweet Potato Gluten Free Brownie

Gooey Gluten Free Sweet Potato Brownies
Chocolate Zucchini Vegan Brownie

Chocolate Zucchini Brownie

Fudgey Power Protein Bar
Sharon Selby Muesli Bar

Easy No Bake Muesli Bars (kids approve, and it’s a fave of my mums)
Healthy Five Seed Bread

Gluten Free Probiotic 5 Seed Loaf
Buckwheat and Sweet Potato Bread

Buckwheat & Sweet Potato Bread
Baked Apple Berry Oatmeal


Mixed Berry Baked Oatmeal


Blissed Out! 6 Bliss Ball Recipes

Protein-Packed Lunch Box Ideas

8 Sandwich-Free Options for Lunch

A go-to for me!

The 5-Minute Healthy Lunchbox System


Hope that helps guys!

Laini x


About The Author

Laini Oldfield

Founder of the Wholefood Collective (TWC), Laini loves to feed her family well. Most of the time she pulls it off. Sometimes she doesn't.

Laini & her husband Jordan started TWC because 'doing' wholefoods was driving them nuts. It was confusing, time consuming, and expensive. They needed to find a way to marry up their values, time and budget. And so TWC was born.

TWC makes wholefoods doable for Aussie families, through access to big savings on highly vetted, premium wholefoods - delivered to your door, AND support & guidance on how to even DO wholefoods with a busy life.

You can find Laini at the beach, changing nappies (the end is near!), cooking up a storm, and always at her laptop in the wee hours of the morning.

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