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School Lunches: the good and the bad (Part 2)

Posted by Aisling Murray on

Healthy Eating

with Aisling Murray from Whelehans Pharmacy

As I mentioned last week, a child’s lunch box should be low in fat, salt, and high in essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Lunches should be fibre rich (to avoid constipation), full of fruit and vegetables, contain a dairy option and have lean protein.

Carbohydrates: There should be at least two portions of carbohydrates in a kid’s lunch box, and should be fibre rich. Whole grain varieties of carbohydrates keep you feeling fuller for longer and release energy over a longer period of time.


  • 2 slices of whole grain bread
  • 1 Whole grain medium roll
  • 1 Pitta pocket
  • 1 tortilla rap
  • 2 tablespoons of brown rice, pasta, or couscous


Protein: Include one portion of protein or a protein alternative in your kids lunch box. Opt for lean cuts of meat such as chicken, turkey and fish; these meats are lower in salt and fat than processed hams and bacon.


  • 1 egg
  • A small can of tuna, mackerel or sardines
  • 2 small slices of cooked meat or 1 large slice.
  • 2 tablespoons of humus


Fruit and vegetables: Make sure to include at least one or two portions of fruit and vegetables; this is where your kids will get the majority of their vitamins and minerals from.  To encourage eating fruit cut it into manageable sizes; this will also make the fruit look more appealing to eat. A tip to prevent a sliced fruit going brown is to sprinkle lemon over the sliced part


  • 1 medium Apple, banana, apple, pear
  • 2 small fruits, kiwi, plum, nectarine, peach
  • 10 -12 grapes (small bunch)
  • Fruit salad ½ medium fruit and one small fruit copped up together
  • 1 level tsp of raisins or sultanas
  • 8 batons of vegetables, peppers, carrots, celery
  • 1 flask or bowl of homemade vegetable soup


Dairy: Include one portion of dairy into your child lunch every day. Dairy is essential for your child’s growing bones as it provides calcium it’s so important to include dairy throughout your life but from birth to late teens is when we do the most of our growing.


  • 1 glass or mini carton of milk
  • 125ml pot of natural or low fat yoghurt
  • A matchbox size of cheese (cheddar, edam, gouda)
  • 1 triangle of low fat spreadable cheese



Aisling Murray has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and offers a one to one specialist nutrition service at Whelehans Pharmacy. Plans from €10 per week. Call Whelehans at 04493 34591 for an appointment

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