Packed Lunches

Packed Lunches

We believe that a healthy packed lunch can contribute to the health of children and young people and needs to be consistent with the nutritional standards provided by school meals.

This policy applies to all packed lunches consumed within school, on school trips and school journeys taking place during the school day. It also applies to packed lunches provided by the school.


Government Guidance 

This advice has been developed by drawing on key government guidance associated with healthy eating and the school day. The Eatwell Plate demonstrates how to get the balance right, by showing the proportion of each of the five food groups that should be eaten each day (see Eatwell Plate below).


School meals and packed lunches represent a third of a child’s daily intake of foods and nutrients, which presents a great opportunity to promote healthy food choices for children and young people. The School Food Trust (SFT) provides regulations and guidance for healthy school meals and packed lunches (see Packed Lunch guidance tab), and this recommends that foods from the high fat and/or sugar group on the Eatwell plate (eg.crisps and chocolate) should not be included in a packed lunch, and should be consumed out of school hours.


Content of packed lunches - Foods to include:

We ask that all packed lunches be based on the School Food Trust’s food based standards for packed lunches (See guidance picture) and should include the following:

  • Fruit and Vegetables: at least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables (seasonal if possible)

  • Protein: meat, fish, egg or other source of non-dairy protein (e.g. lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, hummus and dhal)

  • Oily fish: such as tinned or fresh mackerel, sardines and salmon, and fresh skipjack tuna (tinned

    tuna is not counted as an oily fish)

  • Carbohydrate: starchy food such as bread, pasta, rice, couscous, noodles, potatoes, chapattis and roti.

  • Dairy: food such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais, or calcium fortified soya products, reduced fat versions of these should be used where possible.

  • Drinks: water, fruit juice and cordial.

  • Fruit based pudding such as fruit salad, tinned fruit with yoghurt or custard, fruity rice pudding,



Packed lunches should NOT include any of the following:

  • Fizzy/sugary drinks in cartons, bottles or cans (including diet drinks and energy drinks which can contain high levels of caffeine and other additives which are not suitable for children)

  • Confectionery such as chocolate bars, chocolate-coated biscuits and sweets

  • Chocolate spread as a sandwich filling.

  • Chocolate biscuits or cakes


Special diets and allergies

We ask Parents/Carers NOT to put any nut based products in to their child’s packed lunchbox due to any nut allergies in the school. The school recognizes that some pupils may require special diets that do not follow the national food standards exactly. In this case Parents and Carers are asked to make sure that packed lunches are as healthy as possible. For these reasons pupils are also not permitted to swap food items.


Packed lunch containers

We ask that Pupils and Parents/Carers

  • Provide a packed lunch container where food items can be stored securely and appropriately until the lunchtime period

  • Bring packed lunches in reusable plastic containers, rather than disposable plastic bags and bottles.



Staff commit to support a whole school approach, staff are encouraged to comply with the guidance when bringing in packed lunches and eating these with pupils.


Facilities for packed lunches

We will

  • provide appropriate facilities to store packed lunches,

  • provide free, fresh drinking water

  • provide appropriate dining room arrangements for all pupils, regardless of whether they have school lunches or packed lunches, and wherever possible, ensure that pupils with a packed lunch and pupils having school meals, are able to sit and eat together.



To promote healthy eating we will regularly monitor the content of packed lunches and involve pupils and staff. We will talk to parents and carers where necessary and offer advice and guidance on bringing healthy packed lunches.


We will not confiscate children’s food items if they are unhealthy but speak to the parents/ carers at the end of the day. If children continue to bring in unhealthy items, the Healthy Schools Lead will meet with the parents. Children are rewarded with stickers and certificates for eating a healthy packed lunch and trying new foods.


Working with parents and carers

We hope that all parents and carers will support this packed lunch policy. We will offer advice and guidance to parents/carers on packed lunches.