Now that kids are back at school (YAY!) we are also back to the daily challenge of coming up with interesting, nutritious lunchbox ideas (*sigh). We have put together some simple tips on how to make a winning lunchbox (and one that will earn you an A+ from the teacher!).
With so many lunchbox options it is hard to know where to start! We like bento-style, which have many compartments. It encourages variety and color which keep things interesting for kids. We really like a lunchbox with a freezer pack or an insulated sleeve to keep the food cold and safe throughout the day.
PREP LUNCHES AHEAD
It is best to pack lunches the night before when the kids are down. Mornings are chaotic and often stressful. And let’s face it, there is nothing less enjoyable than the critical eye from your little foodie who has different (and often less nutritious) lunchbox ideas than you! Once packed, store in the refrigerator overnight.
MIX AND MATCH
Fill the lunchbox with ingredients with a variety of colors and incorporate food from different categories; like fruit, vegetables, proteins & starch. Let your imagination run wild!
There are loads of dishes on our menu you can add to a lunchbox, like our spinach & banana pancakes (we turn them into pb&j pan-wiches), our savory carrot, corn & zucchini muffins, chicken mushroom oregano bites & apple blueberry kefir muffins (sliced in half with cashew cream cheese). Turn our Mac n’peas into arancini, make mini-meat pies with our shepherds pie or mini-turkey burgers with our turkey chili!
THE MORE COLORFUL THE BETTER
Fruit (fresh or freeze dried): kiwi, berries, figs, stone fruit, citrus, mulberries, apples. Vegetables (Raw or cooked): use organic & heirloom when you can for a variety of colors; avocado, carrot, peppers, tomato, snap peas. Nuts/seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, pine nuts, chickpeas, chia seed pudding. Protein: hard boiled egg, strips of chicken, organic cheese, nuts and seeds, canned tuna or salmon, grilled tofu or tempeh, nitrate-free deli meat, egg/veggie muffins. Starch: roasted chickpeas, grains, legumes or beans (ie. wild-rice mix, bean salad, quinoa salad), sprouted grain crackers