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Think Outside the Box and Make Lunchtime Healthy and Fun!

August 2, 2013

It’s that time again. With school in session (or quickly approaching) it’s time to think outside the box when it comes to preparing healthy lunches that kids will eat. Try serving lunch in a colorful Bento Lunch Box Container!

Get colorful.

It’s easy to have 1 or 2 “go to” fruits or veggies as a side, but don’t be afraid to mix it up. Apples, bananas, berries, sliced melon, grapes, oranges, pears: the greater the variety, the better your child’s nutrition – and the more fun they’ll have seeing what’s inside each day.

Bentos_Sheep_P-114071Shape it up!

Second to food selection is getting your child to eat it. It’s amazing how far a fun shape can go. Give them a choice about their sandwiches (triangles or rectangles), and slice vegetables into fun-shaped wedges or silly curves. Are you feeling inspired? Try this cute Sheep Bento Box by Anna Yamamoto.

Cheat on PB&J.

Yes, it’s a good source of protein and a childhood favorite. But variety is essential to good nutrition. Rotate between peanut butter & jelly, tuna salad, deli cheese/meat, and a pita stuffed with veggies and hummus or a mild fish like kipper snacks. And try different types of bread, while you’re at it. Lunch will stay exciting and healthy.

Cheat on sandwiches, too. Bentos_Hamburger_P-114080

Yes, they’re good finger food, but there’s much more out there, and there are better ways to pack in the nutrition. Try these Meatball “Mini Burgers” with Mashed Potatoes. Or whip up a batch of cold salad (such as a Tuna Pasta Salad) at the beginning of the week and pair daily servings with fresh fruit or veggies.

Make school lunch a family affair.

All of these tips apply not to just kids, but to the whole family, both for the sake of your nutrition and for setting a good example. If you plan for multiple lunches, it’s easier to have the right stuff on hand. Leftovers are a great way to keep it simple at the whole-family level. Making Albacore Stuffed Jumbo Shells for dinner? Prepare a double batch and you’ve got lunch covered.

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