Mom builds a thriving business making school lunches for other parents

A mom and dietitian is on a mission to make the morning rush of school easier for parents who are short on time by providing healthy lunch box options for kids.

Cara Aprile, 35, from Brisbane, launched Lilly’s Little Lunchbox in September 2021 and in the first few months alone, the brand had hundreds of big orders.

The business idea came about one day when Cara was packing her daughter Lilly’s lunch box for daycare, but it took seven years of planning to get the brand off the ground.

“Lilly’s Little Lunchbox came about because I’ve always been passionate about making healthy meals for my own daughter,” Cara told FEMAIL.

“This, along with being a dietitian and always working full time, is where the idea came from.”

Cara poured more than eight months of expenses into the business and quit her job last year to focus on the idea, and hasn’t looked back since.

Mum Cara Aprile, 35, from Brisbane (pictured right with her daughter) launched Lilly's Little Lunchbox in September 2021 and in the first few months alone, the brand received hundreds of orders.

Mum Cara Aprile, 35, from Brisbane (pictured right with her daughter) launched Lilly’s Little Lunchbox in September 2021 and in the first few months alone, the brand received hundreds of orders.

“Lilly’s Little Lunchbox came about because I’ve always been passionate about making healthy meals for my own daughter,” Cara told FEMAIL.

The brand now offers a variety of pre-packaged lunch boxes to deliver to customers, with three-, four-, and five-day lunch boxes to choose from, along with sandwich and shake packs.

The brand now offers a variety of pre-packaged lunch boxes to deliver to customers, with three-, four-, and five-day lunch boxes to choose from, along with sandwich and shake packs.

The company aims to take the stress out of packing daily lunches and delivers nutritious kids-ready meals right to your door.

With a passion for supporting the health and wellness of others, she took a month to prepare the recipes with Lilly as the taste tester.

“I engage Lilly on a regular basis, she is our CIO, chief ideas officer after all, like a sounding board and final step of approval in terms of the look, feel, taste and appeal of our meals,” Cara said.

The brand now offers a variety of pre-packaged lunch boxes to deliver to customers, with three, four and five-day lunch boxes available to choose from.

Similar to adult meal delivery services like Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon, Lilly’s Little Lunchbox takes the stress out of planning and preparing meals.

Prices range from $9.95 for a sandwich box complete with snacks to $72.50 for five days of lunches, and delivery is free for orders over $100; otherwise, a $10 fee is charged.

Sandwich boxes are also considered the perfect option for picky eaters, while grazing boxes are a delicious healthy snack option.

There are also a variety of pre-made shakes available.

Through trial and error, Cara was able to understand which food combinations work best and which fruits travel well.

What lunch boxes are available and how much does it cost?

Sandwich Box – Includes a sandwich, rice crackers or pretzel sticks, fruit with cheese and mini muffin – $9.95

Grazing Box – Two options with various snacks including fruit, cheese, hummus dip, rice crackers and raw vegetable sticks – $8.95

Five Day Meal Package – $72.50

Four Day Meal Package – $58

Three Day Meal Package – $43.50

Two-Day Meal Package – $29

Baked Goods – $10

Four Shake Pack – $30

Shipping fee: $10 for orders under $100

Through trial and error, Cara was able to understand which food combinations work best and which fruits travel well.

Through trial and error, Cara was able to understand which food combinations work best and which fruits travel well.

Feeling nervous but excited at first, Cara said she expected to get 10 orders, but was surprised when hundreds came in after launch.

Feeling nervous but excited at first, Cara said she expected to get 10 orders, but was surprised when hundreds came in after launch.

Feeling nervous but excited at first, Cara said she expected to get 10 orders, but was surprised when hundreds came in after launch.

“The first few months were very exciting, seeing our first customers visit our website, browse our menu and pay was exciting,” said Cara.

“But more importantly, receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents who are striving to encourage variety in their children’s diets, the elderly, and caregivers of children with sensory issues have strengthened my standing here.”

Since its launch, the brand has received more than 40,000 unique website visitors and online the company has been described as “the lifeline of parents.”

“The first few months were very exciting, seeing our first customers come to our website, browse our menu and pay was exciting,” said Cara.

“Our menu is designed with the five basic food groups in mind: fruits, vegetables, protein, healthy fats, dairy and grains to help our customers meet their daily nutrient intake,” said Cara.

‘All of our meals are freshly prepared and designed to be simple, just grab and go.’

Ten months after launch, the brand now has the potential to reach different demographics, not just school children.

Cara said, “We find that ordinary adults and seniors who live alone seek our services, along with those within the weight loss community who have also been seeking our services.”

The service is currently only available in Brisbane and postcodes 1248 from the Sunshine Coast to Byron Bay, with plans to extend to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.

The service is currently only available in Brisbane and postcodes 1248 from the Sunshine Coast to Byron Bay, with plans to extend to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.

The service is currently only available in Brisbane and postcodes 1248 from the Sunshine Coast to Byron Bay, with plans to extend to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.

Cara said that while home delivery is the core of the business, schools have also shared an interest in providing the service to schools.

To see the menus and order your first box, click here.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.