Lunch box fruit ideas for a healthy packed lunch

While sandwiches or wraps might be lunchbox staples, fruit is the real unsung heroes of a healthy packed lunch, providing you with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre that can help you stay healthy and energised throughout the day.  

But how can you ensure you’re including the right fruit, either for you or your kids’ packed lunches? And what can you do to add a touch of variety to your lunchtime fruit selection? 

In this article, we’ll offer some tips on how to choose the right fruit to liven up every packed lunch, helping you get your five a day – every day. 

Overall best fruit for lunch boxes 

Here at LiveWell Dorset, we love a lunchtime health boost. And with so many great options available, picking our top seven fruits has certainly proved a challenge! However, we believe the following really hit the spot. 

1. Apples 

Known for their longer shelf life, apples are perfect for any packed lunch. They're high in fibre and vitamin C and can be eaten whole, saving you the trouble of dealing with peels or seeds during your lunchtime break. 

2. Bananas 

Convenient and packed with nutrients like potassium and vitamin B6, bananas are a firm favourite for lunch boxes. Similar to apples, they also stay fresher for longer and can give you a real energy boost to keep you going through the afternoon. 

3. Grapes 

Grapes are a tasty, mess-free option. They’re also a great source of vitamins K and C. Opt for seedless varieties for the most convenience.  

4. Oranges/Satsumas 

High in vitamin C and fibre, satsumas are particularly convenient because they are smaller and easier to peel than most oranges. They also take up less space in your lunch box! 

5. Berries 

Strawberries, raspberries or blueberries can add a touch of sweetness to any packed lunch and are chock full of antioxidants and vitamins. Pack them in a sturdy, airtight container to prevent crushing. 

6. Cherry Tomatoes 

While technically a fruit, cherry tomatoes are often included in the vegetable category – but we’re big fans, so they made our list! They're bite-sized, full of vitamins A and C and add a burst of colour to any lunch box. 

7. Pears 

Juicy, sweet and refreshing, pears are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. They’re also packed with fibre, helping you feel fuller for longer (great for staving off those mid-afternoon hunger pangs!).

Fruit ideas for kids’ packed lunches 

If you have kids who are picky eaters or who get bored of the same fruit in their packed lunch every day, you may want to try some creative ways to present fruit in their lunch boxes. Here are some ideas: 

  • Cut fruits like watermelon, pineapple, apples or strawberries into fun shapes such as stars, flowers or hearts using biscuit cutters or a knife. 
  • Make fruit skewers using wooden sticks or straws. You can thread different fruits onto the sticks and make colourful patterns. 
  • Prepare fruit salads using a variety of fruits and colours. You can add some lemon juice or honey to enhance the flavour and prevent the fruit from going brown. 
  • Make fruit dips using yoghurt, cream cheese, peanut butter or chocolate. Include some fresh or dried fruit pieces for dipping. 
  • Add some fruit muffins or bars using wholemeal flour, nuts, oats, seeds and dried fruit. Bake these ahead of time and store them in an airtight container. 
  • Swap fruit bars for dried fruit like raisins, sultanas and dried apricots. They’re not only cheaper than processed fruit bars but are healthier too.

How to prepare fruit and keep it fresh in a lunch box 

One of the challenges of packing fruit in a lunch box is keeping it fresh and appealing until lunch time. Below are some tips on how to do that: 

  • Choose fruits that are ripe but not overripe. Overripe fruits tend to bruise easily and spoil faster. 
  • Wash and dry fruits thoroughly before packing them. Moisture can cause mould and bacteria growth. 
  • Cut fruits into bite-sized pieces and store them in an airtight, moisture-proof container or a ziplock bag. This can prevent oxidation and browning. 
  • Sprinkle some lemon juice or citric acid over cut fruits to prevent browning. You can also use pineapple juice or orange juice for a sweeter taste. 
  • Pack some ice packs or frozen water bottles around the fruit container to keep it cool and fresh. 

Why fruit is good for you 

We all know that fruit is good for us, but if you’re thinking of swapping your daily lunchtime apple or banana for a chocolate bar or packet of crisps instead, just think about some of the health benefits you’ll be missing out on: 

  • Nutrient-rich: fruit is full of essential vitamins, minerals and fibre that are crucial for our overall health and wellbeing. 
  • Fewer calories: compared to other lunchbox favourites such as crisps and chocolate, fruit has a lower calorie count, helping with weight management. 
  • Healthy digestion: the fibre found in various fruits can support digestion and prevent constipation. 
  • Natural sugar: fruit contains natural sugars which are healthier than the refined sugars found in other packed lunch snacks. 
  • Hydration: fruit has a high water content, which can contribute to overall hydration. 

Looking for further inspiration for healthy snacks? 

If you’re keen to explore more tips on healthy meals and snacks, why not take a look at our Healthy Snacking article which contains some great snack choices from across the main food groups. You can also try our Habit Hacker tool designed by health and psychology experts for people who need a bit of inspiration to improve their lifestyle habits.  

We know that making healthy choices every day isn’t always easy. Register with LiveWell Dorset today to find out how our team of Wellness coaches and advisors can help you on your journey to a healthier, happier life. 


I drank too much alcohol and had unhealthy eating habits. Pastry is such a bad thing, it's all those pies, pasties and sausage rolls!

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