Bento Boxes to the Rescue!

. July 31, 2018.
FRESH IDEAS FOR AHEALTHY LUNCH

You’re probably an expert at the quick school lunch, but if you and your kids are ready to swap out the sack lunch for something more exciting this school year, try a bento box filled with a delicious and nutritious assortment of food. To keep your bento box cool for up to 8 hours, toss an ice pack in the lunch box or bag or, for room temperature food, you’re set for the day. Using a bento box provides great portion control, reduces plastic and paper waste, encourages kids to try a variety of foods, and is easy to wash and reuse for years.Image-4-16-18-at-9.27-PM-(2)

1 | Tomato, Cucumber, Avocado Salad

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of chopped cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber — peeled, seeded and diced (or 5 mini Persian cucumbers — sliced)
1 avocado — diced
4 oz. feta cheese
2 Tbsp. minced red onion
1 handful minced parsley — about 2 Tbsp.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Pepper to taste

How To:
Combine chopped cherry tomatoes, seeded cucumber, and diced avocado in a bowl.
Crumble feta into the bowl.
Add minced red onion and minced parsley.
Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and black pepper – pour over salad. Toss gently.
If refrigerating keep the avocado aside and add before serving.

2 | Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pinwheels

Ingredients:
4 large spinach and herb flavored tortilla wraps
8 Tbsp. roasted red bell pepper hummus
8 oz. thinly sliced ham or turkey
8 slices colby jack cheese
2/3 cups roasted red bell pepper slices, drained
Ranch greek yogurt dip, optional

How To:
Spread hummus on the 4 tortillas.
Place the meat and cheese in the middle of the tortilla and arrange the roasted red bell peppers along one side of each tortilla. Tightly roll up the tortilla starting with the bell pepper side.
Slice pinwheels into 1 inch thick pieces and secure with a toothpick. Enjoy, dipped in ranch.

3 | Fresh Picked Strawberries

Picking delicious, fresh strawberries is a wonderful family-friendly activity.

4 | Chocolate Dipped Almond Butter Banana Bites

Ingredients:
3 large bananas
1/3 cup nut butter of choice
1/2 cup melted chocolate of choice

How To:
Cut bananas into slices about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
Spread a little nut butter onto a slice and sandwich two banana slices together.
Place on wax paper on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid, at least an hour.
Melt chocolate in the microwave for a minute or until smooth.
Remove banana bites from the freezer and dip them in chocolate. Freeze for another hour.
Store in airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

5 | Trail Mix

Pick your child’s favorite healthy mix to include.

Dessert

Add a small amount of your child’s favorite dessert. We chose Caramel M&M’s with nuts and raisins.

Build-Your-Own Chicken Taco Bento Box

This recipe allows for kids to have fun building their own mini tacos with their favorite toppings while keeping each element separate so the food stays fresh for hours. You can easily personalize each child’s box with things like a soft tortilla or crunchy shell, salsa or pico de gallo, black beans or pinto beans.

Chicken Taco Filling

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
3 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 cup chicken broth

How To:
Dissolve taco seasoning into chicken broth.
Place chicken breasts in crock pot and pour broth over.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
With two forks, shred the chicken.
Optional: Freeze extra meat into freezer bags with the juices. Press out all the air and seal.

Easy Black Bean and Rice Side

Ingredients:
1 ½ cup black beans
1 ½ cup rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes

How To:
Dump all ingredients into a rice cooker. Set to cook until all liquid is absorbed (varies depending on your rice cooker)

Taco Topping Ideas: lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, sour cream, salsa, corn, beans