I use a Bento box for a fun and mind-organizing way to give Brooklyn a well-rounded lunch. My favorite is the Yumbox which you can find on Amazon at Yumbox on Amazon where I like the different spots for food groups. And I love the little dipper bowl in the middle for nut butters or hummus. Then I bought a thermal from my Thirty-One rep that fits the Bento perfectly. Here are a few simple tips and a couple lunch combos that won’t have you spinning your wheels or having Pinterest panic attacks.
My #1 tip? Use what’s already in your refrigerator and pantry! Trust me there are a ton of veggies, fruits, and protein options that are sitting right in front of you. You don’t have to go crazy making something special. Celery stalks, hummus, string cheese, cucumber, avocado, leftover dinner, chicken breast from the night prior, grape tomatoes, pumpkin seeds… just pull things out the night prior and focus on #2 when choosing your items.
#2. Focus on clean protein, veggies, 1 fruit, and either a whole grain or healthy fat. We don’t need whole grains but if your child’s body can handle them, just choose whole grain as much as possible. Your goal with their lunch is to FUEL them- not entertain them. Don’t worry about fluff, star cut outs, kabobs, or special arrangements if you truly don’t have time for that. Nothing wrong with doing those things but don’t stress if your lunch isn’t the most entertaining at the table. Having the goal of energy, focus, brain power, and a good mood for your child is KEY where your 3 goals are: Clean protein, complex carb (veggie), healthy fat, and perhaps a whole grain.
#3. Your child doesn’t have to have a sandwich! I grew up in the sandwich world and for some reason I used to struggle with “what sandwich” Brooklyn was going to have. Nothing wrong with a sandwich if it has the right ingredients but you don’t need to pack a sandwich for them to have a healthy lunch.
#4 Lunch idea: Clean protein: Turkey burrito rolled around a celery stick and piece of organic mozzarella stick. If they like mayo, smear some avocado mayo as well for a healthy fat. Fat is fuel for the brain! (Did you know that?) Complex carb: Well, the celery in the roll up helps but add in some sugar snap peas with a whole fat plain yogurt or guacamole for dipping. I buy Trader Joe’s individual guacamole packets and just stick in the box. Or if you have time to mash up some avocado, just add some salt & pepper and whatever veggie to the mix. Healthy fat: The avocado in the guacamole as well as the yogurt are great sources. So is the avocado mayo. Fruit: Frozen organic blueberries.
#5 Lunch idea: Burrito bowl. You’ll need a bowl versus a Bento box for this one. Simply heat up brown rice- I get Trader Joe’s microwaveable bags which take hardly any time. (Yes I use a microwave!) Find random veggies and put them in a container so they can add what they want. Just find whatever is on hand in your fridge. Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green pepper, peas, jicama, or tomatoes. The secret to no anxiety is prepping these veggies on your prep night so all you have to do is dump when you make this. So when you shop, allot time to cut up veggies or buy veggies that are already cut up for you. No shame in that! I do it! The brown rice has protein but for added punch, see what you have on hand. Any leftover protein lying around? Or perhaps you simply open a can of black beans or garbanzo beans. For a healthy fat slice some avocado or slap in some almond butter with an apple. This bowl has all the macronutrients your little needs: Clean protein, complex carbs, healthy fat, and whole grains.
Hope these tips and ideas help you. Again, my advice is focusing on the macronutrients (Protein, Complex Carb, Healthy Fat) and staying away from the overly processed items as much as you can. The end result for your child is an amazing day full of energy, brain power, positive mood, and a successful day at school. The food you fuel them with creates this world for them. I go into more detail with this short video: Click HERE to Watch!
All the best and comment below with any tips or fun lunches you have!