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What makes a healthy packed lunch?

As a nation there are more and more children who are obese. More than one in five children are obese by the time they start school at the age of 5 years old. At Woodlands Pre-school we would like to encourage our children and families to have a healthy and varied lunch.

To support children to eat healthy lunches, we ask parents to not put 'pudding' items into their lunchboxes, as they do not offer any nutritional value to the children. Everybody enjoys treat items/puddings from time to time and, in moderation, this is fine as part of a varied diet however we would not encourage the children to expect these items every day and not as part of a packed lunch.

Here are some ideas of items that you could include in your child's lunch:

1. Starchy foods

Lunches should be based on a starchy food which give you energy, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

  • Bread, pitta bread, wraps, breadsticks, crackers, bread rolls
  • Pasta, rice, cous cous
  • Wholegrain varieties contain more fibre which helps to have a healthy digestive system. 

2. Fruit & Vegetables

Aim for at least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables in each lunch. Fresh, frozen, dried or tinned varieties can be used and they are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre needed to keep your child strong and healthy and protect them from illness.

  • Fresh fruit such as apples/bananas/satsuma's etc
  • Vegetable sticks such as cucumber/carrots/peppers. These are good with houmous.
  • Add tomatoes, lettuce or cucumber to sandwiches.
  • Add chopped salad vegetables to a pasta/rice salad
  • Try to offer a range of colours of fruit and vegetables. 

3. Proteins

Add one portion of protein e.g meat/fish/eggs. Protein helps to build muscles and provides minerals.

  • Lean meats like chicken/turkey/ham
  • Fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel.
  • Eggs
  • Meat alternatives such as Quorn or tofu/pulses/beans

4. Dairy foods

Dairy products or dairy alternatives provide calcium needed for strong bones and teeth as well as providing protein and vitamins.

  • Cheese - any variety but be aware of high levels of saturated fat and salt.
  • Yoghurt/Fromage frais 

5. Drinks

Water or diluted fruit juice/smoothies are ideal. We do not allow fizzy drinks. Try to avoid drinks with high sugar content. We will offer water or milk.

Our Policy

  • We are a NUT FREE setting. No peanut butter or any other products containing nuts please.
  • We do not allow any sweets/chocolate items. This includes chocolate yoghurts, chocolate spread or chocolate cereal bars.
  • We do not allow any cakes or biscuits
  • Try to limit foods with high salt content like crisps. Rice cakes or breadsticks make a healthier alternative. If you do include crisps consider if a whole packet is necessary.
  • We DO NOT allow parents to bring in sweets/cakes for birthdays and we will celebrate you child's birthday in other ways.
  • Please ensure small items are cut up as they are a choking hazard e.g. grapes, cherry tomatoes.
  • Please discuss any concerns with a member of staff.
We feel that yoghurt and fruit (fresh or dried) are suitable "pudding items" for packed lunches. If you feel that you need to add more there are some ideas below for items that are allowed, however please consider the sugar content and the nutritional value.

  • Fresh fruit
  • Tinned fruit
  • Dried fruit including raisins
  • Fruit snacks such as yoyo's, humzingers
  • Jelly
  • Custard (not chocolate)
  • Rice pudding
  • Malt loaf
  • Fruit bars such as nutrigrain.

Not Allowed: 

  • Nuts
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate mousse/yoghurt
  • Cereal bars/breakfast bars

Some lunchbox ideas:

1. Cheese sandwich, cucumber sticks, rice cakes and satsuma

2. Tuna pasta with sweetcorn and peppers, cherry tomatoes, apple and yoghurt

3. Pitta bread and houmous, carrot sticks, banana and blueberries.

4. Cous cous with a hardboiled egg, cucumber, grapes and yoghurt

5. Wholemeal roll with ham and cheese spread, carrot and cucumber sticks, breadsticks and pear.

Hummus and breadsticks




Brown bread sandwich




Wholemeal pasta



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The Woodands Pre-School
Church Street 
SG17 5ES

Phone number (term-time only) 01462 811486