Ask mom: 7 top tips to build the best lunchbox

By TASTE, 23 January 2024

We may have moved past peanut butter sandwiches and a bag of chips for lunch, but one thing that will always be a great addition to a lunchbox is a juice box. Woolworths’ range of 200ml fruit juices is the ideal lunchbox drink for school and work. Now that we have the juice covered, we need to build the rest of the lunch box. We asked moms to share their top tips for making interesting, wholesome lunches that kids will love. Here’s what they shared: 


When it comes to fruit juices, you can't go wrong with Woolworths' range of long-life fruit juices. They contain no added preservatives, are locally made and come in an array of flavours that you and your family will enjoy. They're available in one-litre bottles that are perfect for everyday drinking or entertaining, and 200 ml cartons are ideal for lunchboxes. The cartons have plant-based closures and paper straws, making them more Earth-friendly. Plus, since they are long-life, you can buy them in bulk to ensure that you always have a few on hand for a last-minute picnic, drive or to add to back-to-school lunchboxes for the perfect lunch! We've asked the moms on the TASTE team to share their favourite lunchbox tips to help you pack a lunch your little ones will love.

1. Add a mix of "safe foods" and new foods

"I have one EXTREMELY picky eater. At one stage, the only fruit or vegetable he ate was green apples (not red ones). You can imagine how much this kills me as a foodie, but we just try to keep mealtimes easy. Here's a tip that works for me: make sure there are enough 'safe foods' in the lunchbox, and include small portions of any new foods, or things you’re hoping to expose your child to. That way, you know they’re going to eat something but hopefully will make progress with food exposure in a no-pressure environment. (Maybe a friend will even help them to try something new)!"

Katharine Pope | Head of digital 

2. Involve the kids and make it exciting

"I have a two-year-old and a five-year-old, so I have to keep lunchboxes exciting. I involve my girls in choosing and preparing what goes into their lunchboxes so that they are more likely to eat it and not waste it. One of their favourites is making sandwiches into exciting shapes, I have sandwich cutters (easy to find) to create stars and hearts."

Rugshaana Abrahams | Senior multimedia designer 

3. Add an element of surprise

"I’m afraid I packed THE MOST BORING LUNCHBOXES in the history of mankind and that was a while ago! Mainly because both kids changed their tastes on a whim so it was more miss than hit in my household. I hate food waste and these were difficult years!

The most well-received lunchboxes were the ones with an element of surprise. They thought they were getting the stock-standard PB&J and I would sneak in fruit (mainly apples, oranges or grapes), or a mini treat. Whatever their current fave of the month was. The presentation wasn’t the most important, it was what was inside the lunchbox that could be used for bartering they loved."

Liesl Nicholson | Group operations manager 

Sumac-white chocolate trail mix

4. Make it colourful

"I always try to make the lunchbox 'colourful'.  Then I can feel smug about health goals like 'eat the rainbow', etc. I always add two fruit and veg such as cucumber or baby tomatoes. I also vary the carbs so she doesn’t get bread every day.  Some carb options include cheese and biscuits, giant pretzels, rice cakes or a hot cross bun as a treat."

Kate Wilson | Editor-in-chief

5. Compartmentalised lunchboxes are a winner

"Having a compartmentalised lunchbox really helps in packing a variety of snacks. The Crunchbox is great as it reminds you to include different items for a balanced meal. Serving pasta cold has been such a great filling addition, I like the farfalle (bowties) and flavour them with basil pesto or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour.

The Pouch Love reusable pouch has saved us on numerous occasions during car trips or, most recently, waiting in a long queue at the airport. Blend your smoothie (great for hidden veg!) and then pop it into the Pouch Love. Freeze a couple to have on standby, they’re also nicer frozen as they keep littlies busy for longer."

Jess Bailey | Group art director 

6. Customise lunch for sustained energy

"My kids are slightly older (11 and 13) so the challenge is sending food that lasts the whole day and keeps them full enough for sport. They each get three pieces of fruit (a pineapple cut into quarters and speared with a reusable plastic lollipop stick for easier eating), but that’s where the similarities end. My 11-year-old is quite particular and ‘protein averse’, so no cheese sandwiches there. I find he is playing at break rather than eating, so giving him things he can get down quickly is key!

My daughter loves crudités and rye crackers with hummus, or snacking peppers cut in half filled with feta. She likes things in individual containers rather than a lunchbox. I pack her lunch bag so the main meal is at the bottom with a flat ice brick underneath it to keep it as fresh as possible until lunchtime. In winter,  the Manna insulated lunch pot from Woolies is a game-changer as I then feel like I’m sending a ‘proper’ lunch – pesto pasta, leftover curry or dumplings tossed with a bit of soya sauce, sesame oil and chilli crunch are favourites."

Kelly Cloete | Group account director 

Beef-Sliders lunchbox with fruit

7. Make it easy to eat

"My son's active lifestyle required foods that were easily portable for quick consumption during activities such as playing handball, or ones or could be eaten without taking up much time between innings of the game. To manage costs, I purchased bulk items such as dried fruit and nuts, portioning them out. Favourites included boiled eggs, Provitas, and chunky chopped carrots and cucumbers."

Delené van der Lugt | Acting production co-ordinator 

Shop juices

Ideal for lunchboxes or those on the go, Woolworths' juices are made using 100% fruit juice blends and contain no preservatives. You’re spoilt for choice with flavours including strawberry, tropical fruit nectar, orange and mango, and cherry and berry. Available in 200 ml, 200 ml six-packs, and 1-litre cartons.

Shop boxed juices at Woolworths


Article by TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.
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