Healthy Bento Box Lunches for School
By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA
The key to kid-friendly food is to make it fun and include variety to reduce boredom; I encourage you to get your child involved in selecting foods in our grocery stores and in food preparation. How do you make it fun? Think Bento box, a variety of foods in different sections, this helps create visual appeal and different flavors and textures. What’s a bento box? A bento box is basically a single-portion take-out meal common in Japanese cuisine. There’s no right or wrong way to create your bento box! Here are some tips to building your box…
- Select your Menu:
- Proteins: Chicken, Turkey, Eggs, Cheese Almond butter, hummus yogurt
- Carbohydrates: crackers, whole wheat bread or pasta, rice, oatmeal, mini bagels
- Fruit: strawberries, blueberries, banana, applesauce, oranges, pears
- Veggies: cherry tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, bell peppers
- Fruit salad on a Stick
- Fun Shaped Sandwiches
- Ants on a log (celery w/ nut butter & raisins)
- Green salad – grilled chicken & favorite raw veggies
- Trail Mix – whole grain cereal, dried fruits, nuts, dark chocolate pieces
- Pasta salad w/ bright colored veggies
- Mini zucchini muffins
- Hummus with pretzels
- Tofu, edamame
- String cheese
- Select your Container:
- 4-ounce plastic containers with lids
- Cupcake tins
- Tiny jars – you know those individual serve jelly jars? Works great for dressings.
- Plastic containers with dividers
- DIY Bento. Select one medium sized container and create sections by using smaller containers or cupcake tins to section off your food items.
- Put it all together:
- Pack an ice pack for food safety
- Don’t forget a napkin & utensils if needed
- Snacks help kids stay energized throughout the day – choose healthy options
- Love note!
Pre-Schooler Bento Box
I put this lunch box together using my son’s favorite foods. For an older child simply use a larger container and cater to your child’s preferences! Remember, there is no wrong or right way to create a fantastic lunch for your child!
Prep time: 5 minutes
- DIY Bento Box
- Basic plastic food storage container
- 1 cupcake tin wrapper
- 2 small square plastic containers
- Flower shaped cookie cutter
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- 1 Tbsp sunflower seed butter
- Fresh strawberries & blueberries
- 1/4 avocado
- Whole grain “fish” crackers
- 1/4 cup hummus
- Place storage containers in an organized fashion within the larger food storage containers.
- Fill each container using foods listed above. For the sunflower butter sandwich use a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut sandwich out.
Recipe & photo by Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA