Kind to the Wallet and Waistline: Simple, Healthy Lunch Ideas for Children

Let’s face it, mums really are superheroes. You have a multitude of responsibilities to contend with, such as progressing in your career, paying the bills, and keeping the house in order, all while trying to do the best possible job at raising your kids. All this combined requires so much strength and power, and it doesn’t come cheap, either!

A particular responsibility that many parents struggle to get a handle on is making delicious, nutritious lunches for their children, because there are seemingly endless boxes to tick. Does it have enough protein? Enough fibre? Is the meal exciting enough, and will they eat it?

It’s never been more important to ensure your children are eating healthy meals; in England, 23.4 per cent of children aged 10 to 11 were obese in 2021/22,with a further 14.3 per cent classed as overweight. That being said, kids are notoriously fussy eaters, so you need to guarantee you’re creating things that they’ll actually want to eat. If you’re feeling stuck, here are some simple, nutritious suggestions that won’t break the bank.

Peanut butter and banana sandwiches

This is a tasty, sweet treat that doesn’t compromise on important nutrients. All you need for this lunch is your choice of bread, peanut butter (are you #TeamCrunchy or #TeamSmooth?) and a sliced banana! Peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy fats, and we all know that bananas are teeming with potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, dietary fibre, and antioxidants.

Vegetable and hummus wrap

Every mum knows how difficult it can be to get your little ones to eat their veggies. One way to bypass their refusal is to coat the vegetables – such as lettuce, cucumber, peppers, and tomatoes – in delicious hummus and pack it into a tortilla wrap. Roll it up tightly into a burrito shape (don’t forget to tuck the ends in so we don’t have any rogue veggies!), slice in half, and serve with your children’s favourite drink.

Stuffed peppers

Peppers are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and a whole packet only costs a couple of quid in a supermarket. Of course, a pepper on its own isn’t very filling nor exciting, which is why we suggest finding a stuffed peppers recipe that’ll most appeal to your children’s taste buds. Couscous, ground beef, falafel and chicken are all fantastic options. That’ll surely ring their bell!

Cucumber boats

If your kids already like cucumber, they’re going to love this lunchtime snack! Simply cut the cucumbers lengthwise and scoop out the centre, ready to fill with your favourite toppings. For an exotic Greek twist, add feta cheese, red onion, tomatoes, and oregano. Alternatively, keep it simple with some cooked chicken breast, cheddar cheese, and lettuce. Cucumbers are low in calories but contain lots of vitamins – including vitamin K, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7 –and you can pick one up for as little as 65 pence!

DIY salad bar

Still struggling to get your children to enjoy vegetables? Another way to get around this could be opening your own DIY salad bar. Place your different vegetables into separate bowls and allow your mini-me the opportunity to create their own salad, giving them a sense of control over what they eat. This is the perfect activity if they’re having lunch at home; alternatively, leave a little extra time in the morning for them to create their own salad inside a Tupperware box, and pop that into their school lunch bag.

Energy bites

Energy bites are the perfect snack to follow a nutritious lunch. Healthy, homemade, and heartening! All you need is peanut butter, honey, rolled oats, and raisins. Not only will this provide your children with crucial nutrients (and leave their taste buds tingling), but they can also be ready in less than 10 minutes. You’re a busy person, we know that; creating tasty, wholesome snacks don’t need to take up your entire day. Follow this recipe, and you’ll fly through the rest of your to-do list and be on the sofa just in time for Dancing on Ice.

Rainbow skewers

While getting our kids to eat fruit is (usually) an easier battle to win over the veggies, it’s not always plain sailing. The good news, however, is that research has shown that children are much more likely to experiment and appreciate food that looks visually appealing, and this is so easy to do with fruit. Just cut your bananas, apples, kiwi, melon, and strawberries into chunks and use a skewer to hold the pieces together. Alternate between the different colours to create a rainbow and watch their faces light up with interest.

Pasta salad

Pasta is an extremely versatile dish, offering a healthy foundation that you can tweak and adapt based on your children’s tastes and preferences. Tuna, chicken breast slices, tomato, and ham are all typical pasta favourites, and you can incorporate salad elements such as lettuce, sweetcorn and cucumber to add even more healthy deliciousness! Mix the ingredients together with a teaspoon of light mayo to ensure it’s not too dry, and then serve at the dining table or pack away in their school bag. Make more easy yet tasty pasta by following recipes like the ones found at

Lunches don’t have to be a battle

Your life’s purpose goes way beyond what to make your children for lunch. It’s an important task, yes, but it doesn’t have to zap bucketloads of brain power and tonnes of physical energy. Start with the above eight suggestions and go from there, tweaking, rotating, and adapting when necessary. A healthy outside starts with a healthy inside, and that doesn’t have to mean forking out hundreds of additional pounds. Enjoy!

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. She studied English Literature at Fairfield University in Connecticut whilst taking evening classes in journalism at MediaBistro in NYC. She then pursued a BA degree in Public Relations at Bournemouth University in the UK. With a background working in the PR industry in Los Angeles, Barcelona and London, Charlotte then moved on to launching Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden and has been running the online magazine for the past 10 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a bit too much effort into perfecting her morning brew.