Lunch Box Inspiration

I often have parents asking for easy, fun ideas for lunch boxes. With the first day of school just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to do an entry on back to school lunch ideas.

Children have little bellies, it’s important that the foods that they eat be nutrient packed so they aren’t filling up on empty calories. Make each bite count by providing your child with a balanced mix of protein, healthy fat and fiber (carbohydrate).

Key Lunchbox Proteins:
— Roasted, grilled or baked chicken
– Legumes
– Eggs
– Quinoa, Teff
– Cottage Cheese
– Plain Greek Yogurt
– Hummus
– Nut Butters (Almond, Cashew, Peanut)

Key Lunchbox Healthy Fats:
– Avocado
– Nuts
– Olives
– Chia

Key Lunchbox Fiber:
– Whole Grain Bread
– Quinoa, Millet, Bulgur, Barley
– Fresh Fruit, Vegetables
– Popcorn, Whole Wheat Pretzels
– Bean Dip

Ideas for the Main Event:
– Mexican Sushi
– Whole Grain Flaxseed Waffle with Nut Butter or Soft Cheese Spread (maple syrup or jam on side)
– Mini Veggie Packed Quiches
– Bean & veggie quesadilla
– Hummus & Pepper Sandwich
– Roasted Chicken/turkey Sandwich
– Roasted Chicken/turkey Salad
– Quinoa Vegetable Salad
– Lentil Burgers
– Turkey Meatball Pepper Boats
– Cottage Cheese “Salad” (mix cut up veggies into this protein packed, calcium rich curd)
– Hard Boiled Egg or Egg Salad
– Homemade Chicken Fingers on a Stick with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
– Kale Fritters with Sour Cream, Applesauce or Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Ideas for Sides:
– Fresh Cut Fruit (Apples, Grapes, Strawberries, Blueberries)
– Finger Friendly Veggie Sticks (Snap Peas, Carrots, Peppers, Grape Tomatoes, Cucumbers)
– Baked Sweet Potato or Zucchini Wedges
– Chia Seed Pudding

– Fruit makes a great treat! Dried fruit like figs, dates and apricots are sweet, nutritious and delicious.
– Using stainless steel bento boxes that are all over the place these days. The little compartments help ensure that all nutrients have been accounted for. Use one compartment to first pack your protein and build the lunch from there. Older children might enjoy making their own sandwiches! For example, place the protein in one compartment, and the healthy fat or carb in another. This will also keep the bread from getting too moist.
– Using cookie cutters to make sandwiches more fun! Stars, fish, hearts, triangles or circles make great little shapes for little hands.
– Putting sides in muffin tins! These colorful little cups make great containers for the inside of a bento box without a divider.

Wondering where all the recipe links are?? Stay Tuned! Or, feel free to comment on how you might go about making the recipes! I would love to learn different techniques