Pack a healthy lunch

Quick and easy ideas for packed lunches.

For many of us lunch is a 'grab and go' meal, which can easily lead to high-fat snacking, but with a little planning you can have a filling lunch without consuming too many kilojoules.

We know it can be tricky to create lunches when you're watching your weight - so we've come up with some easy ideas for you to try.

Pasta salads are quick and easy to make the night before, and easy to transport in a plastic box. You can use basic ingredients for the kids and add in rocket leaves, watercress or some salad for yourself.

Tuna and corn pasta (serves 2)
Cook 120g pasta shapes according to the pack, drain and rinse under cold water. Add 2 small cans of drained tuna in brine or water. Add ½ cup drained canned corn kernels, halved cherry tomatoes and 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss well to combine. You might like to add 1 tablespoon of fat-free dressing if the pasta salad is too heavy.

Ready-made sandwiches can often be high in hidden ProPoints values. So why not try these classic combos?

Egg and lettuce
Hard boil 1 medium egg, cool, peel and mash with 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You could add a pinch of curry powder. Spread over a slice of wholegrain bread. Add a couple of lettuce leaves. Top with another slice of wholegrain bread.

Smoked salmon and cream cheese
Spread a slice of wholegrain bread with 2 tablespoons of reduced-fat cream cheese. Add 60g of smoked salmon, some freshly ground black pepper and 4 slices of cucumber. Top with another slice of bread.

Pita bread
Strips of pita bread are great for dipping and the kids will love them too.

Hommus dippers
Cut 1 medium slice of wholemeal pita bread into strips. Serve with 2 tablespoons of reduced-fat hommus, sticks of carrot, capsicum and cucumber for dipping.

Couscous is another easy lunch-box idea that can be made the night before and stored in the fridge for up to three days.

Lemon chicken couscous (serves 2)
Cover 100g couscous in hot water or stock and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Stir in finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon. Add 150g cooked, skinless chicken cut into chunks (great way to use leftovers) and ½ red capsicum diced. For yourself, stir in 2 handfuls of freshly chopped parsley or coriander and, if you like, ½ tsp chilli powder for extra zing.

Make your own
Kids really enjoy putting things together themselves, so why not try this fun idea? Wrapping the items individually will keep them fresh.

Ham and cheese crackers
Wrap and pack 2 sandwich-size wholegrain crackers. Wrap 2 slices of lean ham and 2 slices of reduced-fat cheese individually and pack some grape or cherry tomatoes into a small container. Then simply build your own. Don't forget to pack in a piece of fruit like a peach or an apple to keep the kids happy and healthy!

There are loads of lunch-box recipes on the site, which are great for the kids and you alike! Why not try for starters Lamingtons, ANZAC biscuits or Mixed nut, fruit and seed bar.