Make A Schedule—majorly important. Over the weekend, decide what your kid’s lunches will be, or at least nail down a theme. Is Monday set aside for an italian feast? Do you have Tokyo Tuesdays full of Japanese goodies? Should you decide to send something super special on Fridays? It’s a good idea to have at least one week planned out, but it’s even better if you can go two weeks in advance–it’ll make shopping and preparation go so much smoother.
Know Your Way Around A Lunchbox–It’s important to first understand the anatomy of a perfect lunch. There is a basic, five-step process to making a lunch that’s healthy and filling (and incorporates all your kiddo’s favorite foods!):
Step One: Select Your Starch and Pick your Protein
You’ve got a lot to play with when it comes to this first step–your starches and protein can be anything from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to pasta with meatballs, ramen and chicken, a turkey wrap, pork dumplings, or beans and rice.
Step Two: Find Your Fruit
Depending on your entree from step one, pick a fruit pairing that makes sense. If you’ve packed a tropical lunch, consider mangoes and pineapples. Make sure your child is getting a different favorite fruit every day! Great fruits that travel well are grapes, berries, apples (unsliced), and peaches!
Step Three: VIP Veggies
This one is trickier, since kids don’t always do vegetables–our advice is to pick and pack your veggies carefully. On every other day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) pack your kid’s favorites (common faves are baby carrots, broccoli, even cauliflower). On the “off” days (Tuesdays, Thursdays), pick a vegetable and accompanying dip that your child might not be familiar with–peppers and hummus for example, or celery and cream cheese!
Step Four: Super Snacks
Include one packaged snack item that you know your child loves–you can pick greek yogurt or a cheese stick, or you can go a little wild with theme-appropriate cookies, fruit leather…even seaweed or kale chips!
Step Five: Bring your Own Beverage
As always, pack your child a plastic, refillable water bottle to keep them hydrated all day! Along with lunch, you could include a juicebox, milk box or whatever else you can think of!
Kids go crazy for a fun-looking lunch! Presenting new and healthy foods in an attractive way is half the battle! Step one is to let your child or teen pick their own lunchbox. While your little princess might love a pink sparkly number, your teen may prefer something a little more sophisticated looking. From there, the options are endless…
Bento Box Lunches—this is a both new and ancient idea! Originating in 1100s, the Japanese bento originally holds rice, vegetables and and meat in individual compartments within a box-shaped container. Nowadays, parents are taking gourmet bento box lunches to a whole new level–and you can jump on board! Pick up a bento box set that fits inside your child’s lunch box with a little room to spare–and let your imagination run wild. You can make lunches themed with your children’s favorite animals, TV shows or superheroes. Pinterest is chock full of adorable bento box ideas like this one:
We love this–and believe it or not, these instagram-worthy, gourmet school lunches aren’t to difficult to assemble!
Bento boxes are amazing for modular, organized eating, and offer a lot of opportunity to make lunch super special for your little one. Got teens? Bento boxes are still perfect for them! While your middle and high schoolers might not need a Hello Kitty themed lunch, you can let them choose what they’d like in their bento box, and even pack it themselves. It gives them the independence to control their lunch while giving you peace of mind they will have an organized, delicious lunch that they’ll actually eat. Bento boxes have been around for hundreds of years for a reason–they’re organized, economical, healthy and totally zen. If you’re looking for a way to offer your child a lunch that’s a cut above the rest, follow our five step recipe for amazing lunches and toss it in a bento box!