Creating Balanced and Exciting School Lunches for Picky Eaters: Tasty Ideas and Tips

As the school bell rings and routines shift into gear, parents everywhere are once again faced with the challenge of crafting lunchboxes that tick all the boxes – nutritious, appealing, and fussy-eater friendly. Fear not, for we’re here to transform the dreaded lunch prep into a joyful, creative experience that your kids will eagerly anticipate.


Top Tips for Stress-Free Lunchbox Prep:


1. Involve Them:


Empower your kids by involving them in the lunchbox process. Let them help choose fruits, veggies, and snacks they love. Their participation can make a world of difference.


2. Balance is Key:


Aim for a well-balanced meal with a mix of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and colourful fruits and veggies. Think beyond sandwiches to keep things exciting.


3.Colourful Creations:


Dive into the world of colours with our Rainbow Veggie Pasta Salad. Create a vibrant mix of cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, and sweetcorn. The more colours, the better!


4. Fruit Fiesta:


Bring a burst of freshness with a Fruit Salad bursting with seasonal fruits like berries, kiwi, and oranges. A splash of citrus juice can keep the fruits looking and tasting their best.


5. Unexpected Delights:


Add a dash of fun with a side of popcorn – an unexpected treat that adds crunch and excitement to the lunchbox, this is a great replacement to biscuits and crisps!

Veggie Pasta Salad

Lily Murray
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 2


  • 1 tbsp grated Cheese
  • 3 Cherry Tomatoes halved
  • 1-4 Shallot diced
  • 1/4 Red Pepper diced
  • 3 tbsp Chickpeas
  • 1/4 Avocado diced
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 50 g Wholemeal Fusilli
  • 1 handful of Popcorn
  • 1 Satsuma
  • 3 Blackberries


  • Place the pasta in a pan of boiling water for 12 minutes, or until cooked. Drain the pasta and leave to cool.
  • In a frying pan, drizzle the oil and cook the shallot on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, red pepper, chickpeas, and passata to the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Take off the heat.
  • Add the drained pasta to the pan and stir.
  • Once cooled add to a lunchbox, and scatter with the avocado and cheese.
  • In a separate compartment, add the popcorn
  • Finally, add the satsuma segments and blackberries in another compartment.


Allergies: Chickpeas, Gluten and Diary. You can substitute the fusilli for a gluten free alternative and the butter and cheese with a plant based alternative. Switch out chickpeas for beans such as cannellini, black eyed.
Top tips:
You can serve the pasta dish warm or cold- for those prefer warm foods use a insulated container. 
To add fun to the lunchbox use cutters & food picks for fruit & veg.
Bite size pieces & food picks make it easier for younger kids to self feed.


If you’re facing mealtime challenges with your little one, we’re here to help. Our personalised 1:1 support can provide expert guidance, practical strategies, and tailored solutions to overcome fussy eating and create a positive mealtime environment. Together, we’ll set your child on the path to happy and healthy eating habits.


Ready to conquer lunchboxes with creativity and confidence? Stay tuned for more exciting lunchbox ideas in our series. Hungry for more family-friendly recipes and expert tips? Join our mailing list today to receive regular updates, recipes, and advice on raising happy and healthy eaters.

Written by Dr Kirsty Porter, Children’s Dietitian. 



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