Packed Lunch Guidelines

These guidelines are to promote consistency between packed lunches and food provided by schools, which must adhere to national food standards set by the government.

 Packed lunches should include:

  • One portion of fruit and one portion of vegetable or salad every day to be included in packed lunches
  • Meat, fish or another source of non-dairy protein should be included every day. Non dairy sources of protein include lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, hummus, peanut butter and falafel
  • An oily fish, such as salmon, should be included at least once every three weeks
  • A starchy food, such as bread or pasta, rice, couscous, noodles, potatoes or other cereals, should be included every day
  • A dairy food, such as semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais or custard should be included every day
  • Free, fresh drinking water should be available at all times
  • Include only water, still or sparkling, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, yoghurt or milk drinks and smoothies
  • Snacks such as crisps should not be included occasionally. Instead, include nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit (with no added salt, sugar or fat). Savoury crackers or breadsticks served with fruit, vegetables or dairy food are also a good choice
  • Confectionery such as chocolate bars, chocolate-coated biscuits and sweets should not be included. Cakes and biscuits are allowed but these should be part of a balanced meal
  • Meat products such as sausage rolls, individual pies corned meat and sausages / chipolatas should be included only occasionally
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