60 Lunch Box Foods to Mix and Match!

Following on from my recent Lunch Box Food Ideas series, I thought it would be a good idea to bring all the information together in one blog post to create a useful mix-and-match food ideas resource.  As you may remember, I covered the five main food groups; starchy foods, vegetables, non-dairy proteins, fruit and dairy.  I shared twelve food ideas for each food group, making a total of sixty different lunch box foods.

If you pack one food from every food group in each lunch box that you make, and vary one item each time, there’s (according to my mathematician brother) a total of 248,832 possible food combinations! I think that’s enough to keep anyone going for a school year or two!

Image Map

You can use the lists below to help you create a healthy, balanced lunch box, by choosing one food from each of the five food groups to be included in each lunch that you make.  You can of course include more than one food from any category (I usually try to include at least two vegetables for example).  I created this method for myself based on the UK’s Eatwell Plate recommendations, and I find it helps me enormously when deciding what foods to buy and what foods to pack on any one day.

Having a list of different food ideas also helps me pack a great variety of foods so that I never get stuck in a rut, packing the same things over and over again.  We have our favourites of course, that we pack very regularly (carrots and cucumber feature a lot, and ham!), but when we fancy a change we always have plenty of ideas for substitutions.  Just changing one of the foods that you pack can make all the difference.

Here are the complete lists of lunch box food ideas by food group.  If you click on each picture you’ll be taken to the original blog post for that food group, where you’ll find lots of ideas and suggestions for how to use each individual food in a packed lunch box.

Starchy Foods (Carbohydrates)

Crispbreads
Rice
Crackers
Pretzels
Rice Cakes
Granola
Popcorn
Tortilla Wraps
Oatcakes
Couscous
Potatoes
Pasta

Eats Amazing - Lunch Box Food Ideas - 12 different ideas for starchy foods to include in your bento lunch box

Vegetables

Sweetcorn
Cucumber
Beetroot
Spinach
Tomatoes
Carrots
Mange Tout
Pepper
Sugar Snap Peas
Peas
Baby Sweetcorn
Broccoli

Eats-Amazing-Lunch-Box-Food-Ideas-12-different-ideas-for-vegetables-to-include-in-your-bento-lunch-box-2

Non-Dairy Proteins

Egg
Prawns
Roast Beef
Chicken
Ham
Nuts
Pâté
Seeds
Tuna
Sausages
Chickpeas
Houmous

Eats-Amazing-Lunch-Box-Food-Ideas-12-different-ideas-for-non-dairy-protein-foods-to-include-in-your-bento-lunch-box-2

Fruits

Kiwi
Apricots
Strawberries
Banana
Dried Cranberries
Grapes
Raisins
Blueberries
Apple
Citrus Fruits
Raspberries
Dried Apple Rings

Eats Amazing - Lunch Box Food Ideas - 12 differnt ideas for fruits to include in your bento lunch box

Dairy

Yoghurt
Goats Cheese
Milkshake
Red Leicester Cheese
Cream
Cheddar Cheese
Roulé cheese
Mozzarella Cheese
Cheese Triangles
Crème fraîche
Babybel Cheese
Feta Cheese

Eats Amazing - Lunch Box Food Ideas - 12 differnt ideas for dairy foods to include in your bento lunch box 2

So to pack a balanced lunch box you simply choose one item from each of the food groups above (for example crackers, cheddar cheese, rolled ham slices, cucumber and grapes), pop it into a lunch box or bento box and voilà – a yummy, healthy, balanced lunch!

For example menus covering two weeks of packed lunches see the following blog posts: Menu 1 & Menu 2, which both include free downloadable menus for a whole week of healthy, balanced lunches.

If you’d like even more lunch box food ideas, have a look at my printable list of lunch box food ideas – there’s a free sheet to download and stick on your fridge to keep you inspired!

I hope this resource proves to be useful for new and experienced lunch packers alike.  What combinations would you use from the lists above?

Grace

This post has been linked up to Mum In The Madhouse’s Back to School linky

THe Mad House

This post has also being linked up to The List Linky:

The List

About Grace

I’m a UK based full time mum to two lovely boys; an energetic 6 year old and a 1 year old, who keep me on my toes! I love being as creative as I can with healthy food, and set up ‘Eats Amazing’ with the aim of sharing ideas and inspiration for children’s lunch boxes and other fun foods.
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12 Responses to 60 Lunch Box Foods to Mix and Match!

  1. Kathy says:

    Fantastic post!

  2. Donna says:

    This is a great post – so many ideas that I wouldn’t usually think of x

  3. Petit Mom says:

    Great ideas! Already planning some lunches :)

  4. Jen Walshaw says:

    This is a fab resource Grace. A great reminder for those of us who only do packed lunches occasionally

  5. Nicola says:

    Invaluable! This is a perfect ‘at-a-glance’ resource list. I’m new to the site & it’s so useful. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring ideas.

  6. Lillian Ragnarsson says:

    Fantastic! I have been envious of those colourful and lovely kids lunch boxes. Your idea makes the hard work a lot easier! I think I can start trying. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. Love your ideas! Very accessible too in such a bright and clear post :) Lots suitable for my readers on my second Blog too http://thereciperesource.blogspot.co.uk #thelist

  8. WOW! The thought, care and work you’ve put into creating this is just incredible, Grace! This baby is getting pinned for all the world to see (and for me to keep popping back to!) – I have a fussy toddler so coming up with ideas can be exhausting, but this is a great place to start and to keep track of what he will eat, has touched or put to his mouth, and won’t eat. In fact, screw it, I’m printing this out!

    Thanks for linking in to the #TheList
    hxxx

  9. Pingback: Simple Winter Lunch - Eats Amazing

  10. Pingback: Recipe: Fruity Couscous Salad - Eats Amazing

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