Healthy Eating for Early Years

A healthy lunch every day will give your child the energy and the nutrients they need to grow, develop and learn.  Early Year’s settings are promoting healthy eating and need your support.

The key to a balanced, nutritious diet is variety.  This sheet provides you with some ideas of what to include to ensure your child’s packed lunch is balanced, healthy and nutritious.  


A portion of starchy food


White or wholegrain bread, rolls, pitta bread or wraps.  Plain naan bread, cooked pasta, rice, noodles, couscous or potato as a salad.

At least one portion of fruit and/or vegetable

Fresh, frozen, canned or dried, these can all count to 5 a day. 

Vegetables – carrot, cucumber, pepper, celery, tomatoes, sweetcorn, peas or pulses in salads.

Fruit – apple, melon, plums, strawberries, kiwi, grapes, (cut lengthways), pineapple, dried fruit.

A portion of meat, fish, eggs or beans or other non-dairy sources of protein


Sliced meat, chicken, fish, sliced eggs in sandwiches, meat alternatives such as tofu or pulses like kidney beans and chickpeas in salads.

A portion of milk or dairy food

Yoghurt or fromage frais,  cheese in sandwiches, semi-skimmed milk


The key to a balanced diet is a variety of foods (and please communicate with our setting about your child’s eating).

  • Inform the setting about any food allergies or intolerances.

  • Vary contents of a packed lunch for a good balance of nutrients.

  • Seasonal fruits and vegetables add colour and texture and are often cheaper and tastier.

  • Read food labels.  Look out for colour coded nutrition information on packets. Remember the more green(s) on the label the healthier the choice.

  • Include your child in shopping, choosing and preparing what goes in their lunchbox, giving them choices.

  • Label their lunchbox with their name.

Please note the pre-school is a nut free zone