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Back to School: School Lunch Bento Boxes

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Summer has come to an end and most families are headed back to school! When it comes to packing lunches, I love all of the bento lunch boxes that I have been seeing all over the internet lately! Whether grade school or back to work, there are great ideas for all ages. 

What is a bento box? A bento box is a single portion take out or home package meal of Japanese origin. A traditional bento may contain rice or noodles with fish or meat, often with pickled and cooked vegetables in a box. Bento boxes have become a popular trend in America for school lunches as an alternative to the traditional sandwich or cafeteria meal, they are easy to pack and totally customizable.

How to assemble a bento box:

1. Start with a protein. Why? Protein will help keep you full and satisfied.

    Protein Ideas: deli meat, cold tuna, smoked salmon, beans, hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, edamame, or tofu.

    2. Next, add a carbohydrate. Why? Carbs provide energy! Our kiddos’ (and our own!) brains need energy to focus throughout their classes.

      Carb ideas: whole grain crackers, rice, whole wheat pasta, tortilla wraps, whole grain bread, hummus, pretzels or granola

      3. Then, add a fat. Why? Fat is filling and can be a great source of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

        Fat Ideas: avocado slices, cheese cubes, nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters, or olives.

        4. Finally, add some color! I like to refer to fruits and veggies as color. Fruits and veggies are important to children’s development and growth by providing essential vitamins and minerals.

          Color ideas: carrot sticks, celery sticks, raw broccoli, raw cauliflower, cucumber slices, baby tomatoes, bell pepper slices, sliced strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cubed watermelon, orange slices, and much more!

          My favorite Bento box choice would be a tuna packet (protein), whole grain crackers (carbs), avocado slices (fat), cherry tomatoes, and blueberries (color)!

          What would you choose!?

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