Trumping the tuckshop – how Qld dietician revolutionised school lunches

A fast-growing business that’s taking over the east coast is ensuring our little ones are getting the nutrition they need. It’s also won its founder a 40 Under 40 award.

Sep 11, 2023, updated Sep 11, 2023

For most of us, school lunches often involved a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a juice box. If we were lucky, sometimes a packet of crisps would find its way into the mix.

In those days, many parents – likely at the end of their tether wrangling an entire household – simply didn’t have the time to prepare an entire week’s worth of lunches that ticked every nutritional box.

While parents are as busy as ever, Lilly’s Little Lunchbox is helping ease this burden by delivering fresh, pre-made lunches that children can take to school or daycare that are nutritionally balanced and, perhaps most importantly, delicious.

Lilly’s Little Lunchbox is the brainchild of dietician and nutritionist (and winner of the 40 Under 40 Food Innovation award) Cara Aprile, who left a career in the corporate world in order to help people lead healthier lives. She’s done this by establishing what is being hailed as a game-changing idea by residents of thousands of Australian suburbs.

“Being a mother myself, I understand firsthand that parents are under incredible pressure to provide their children with healthy meals while juggling busy lives. I wanted to create a solution that would make nutritious eating convenient without compromising on taste,” says Cara.

As research into our nutritional requirements advances, more information on the dietary needs of children is coming to light. Boasting 80 combinations of meals, snacks and smoothies, Lilly’s Little Lunchbox’s dietician-designed offering not only supports children’s physical growth, but also boosts cognitive development and immune health, as well as exposes young ones to a variety of different foods.

Even the fussiest of eaters are coming home with empty lunch boxes.

“The key is in creative presentation and involving children in the process,” Cara explains.

“We focus on offering a range of options that are not only visually appealing but also familiar in taste. This helps bridge the gap between healthy and enjoyable eating for kids.”

With widespread adoption across Southeast Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, Lilly’s Little Lunchbox’s surging popularity will undoubtedly see it grow its reach even further, both in terms of geographic coverage and the diversity of meal options – including catering for dietary preferences in more meaningful ways.

“It’s a testament to the need for convenient, healthy meal solutions in today’s fast-paced world,” says Cara of Lilly’s Little Lunchbox’s success.

“Knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of families and contributing to the well-being of children brings a deep sense of fulfilment.”

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