Tooth-Friendly School Lunches

Tooth-friendly foods are low in sugars, starches, and acids. The best tooth-friendly foods are also nutritious, filled with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fibre.

We believe that eating with your dental health in mind forms part of every family’s at-home preventive dentistry plan. With this in mind, we’ve put together some tooth-friendly lunchbox options.

Sandwiches or Wraps

Starting with whole-wheat bread, tortilla, or pita will help your child get their daily dose of whole grains. Include a protein-based filling such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese (a very tooth-friendly option) or plant-based protein.

Tooth-Friendly Alternatives to Sandwiches

If your child isn’t really into sandwiches, you could opt for packing a nutritious salad instead. Include chicken, tuna, or legumes with some fresh veggies and a scattering of sunflower or pumpkin seeds. You could even pack the ingredients separately and allow your child to “build” their salad on their own during lunchtime for some added fun. 

Hommus and fresh veggies are wonderful for a child who prefers to snack rather than eat a large meal at lunchtime. Some other snack-type lunchbox options could include rice cakes or breadsticks with cheese.

Nuts can be enjoyed at home as part of a nutritious lunch, but most schools in Australia have a nut-free policy. This extends to the use of nut-based butter like peanut butter. You may consider checking with the school in case other food-based allergens aren’t permitted in your child’s school.

Fruit salad is another idea for a healthy lunch. Mixing freshly cut fruits with some vanilla yoghurt adds protein and vitamin D. Muesli or granola could be added for some extra crunch (but try to avoid varieties that are laden with sugar). 

Keep in mind that fruits contain natural sugars that can still be harmful to the teeth. Consequently, a single piece of fruit (or the equivalent quantity of cut fruit) in a lunchbox may be adequate. 

On hot days, consider adding a freezer block or frozen water bottle to the lunch box to keep everything cool, fresh and tempting.

Encourage Tooth-Friendly Beverages at School (and Home)

Water is the ideal choice of beverage for children at school: it is thirst-quenching, sugar-free and doesn’t make things sticky if it is accidentally spilled. Plain milk is the second-best option.

Fruit juices and flavoured milk contain dietary sugars, whilst cordials, sports drinks and soft drinks contain sugar and/or acids. You’ll find an excellent selection of ideas for kids’ school lunches on the Raising Children website.