6 bento box lunches for kids by dietitian moms Print

Healthy back to school lunch ideas

Bored of sandwiches? Both kids and adults will love the diversity and benefit of a bento box themed lunch.

3 Reasons a bento box lunch is a good idea:

  1. Fun! Opening up a bento box full of different colors, textures, shapes and sizes are visually pleasing.
  1. Fresh! When you keep things in compartments rather than mixing them together ahead of time, your food will often taste fresher.
  1. Focused! It is easy to get more of the healthy foods such as fruits and veggies that you need in a bento box themed lunch.

What are the components of a healthy bento box lunch?

A healthy balanced meal should contain 3 components:

Grains/starches: such as bread, pita, wraps, crackers, homemade muffins, pasta, potato, rice, quinoa or other grains. These offer fibre, B-vitamins and carbohydrate needed for your brain and muscles for energy.

bento box lunch ideasVeggies and fruit: such as fresh fruit, frozen berries, canned unsweetened fruit, dried fruit, raw veggies, leftover cooked/grilled veggies, vegetable soup or salad. These offer fibre and health promoting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Source of protein: such as leftover meat/poultry/seafood, legumes (such as chick peas, lentils, black beans, refried beans and more), cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, canned tuna/salmon, hard cooked eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds. These provide iron and protein key for sustaining energy and fullness.

 

WATCH Andrea’s Facebook LIVE on this topic:

6 Fun Bento Box Ideas:

  1. Mexican bento box: In divided containers place small flour or corn tortillas/taco chips, refried beans/seasoned meat/tiny cubes of cheese, salsa and guacamole. Serve with cubed honeydew or cantaloupe.
  1. Asian bento box: In divided containers place edamame beans/strips of teriyaki salmon/chicken breast/cocktail shrimp, California rolls/cold rice/noodles (yes many kids will eat it cold) and raw snap peas with carrots. Servbento box lunch idease with grapes.
  1. Italian bento box: In divided containers place pasta mixed with pesto sauce, mini bocconcini cheese balls, grape/cherry tomatoes with fresh basil leaves. Serve with strawberries or apple wedges tossed in lemon juice to prevent browning. Dip fruit in ricotta cheese mixed with honey and cinnamon or Greek vanilla yogurt.
  1. Snack attack bento box: In divided containers test out different ideas from the 3 components of a balanced meal such as: mini muffins, crackers, pretzels, popcorn, grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe cubes, cucumber rounds, red pepper wedges, carrot sticks, cheese wedges, pumpkin seeds, grilled chicken, meatballs, black bean salad, hard cooked eggs, rotini pasta or tortellini with pesto.
  1. Chicken finger bento box: Bake a big batch of homemade baked breaded chicken breast strips and serve chilled with plum sauce. Include cucumber sticks and cherry tomatoes along with fresh fruit and yogurt and granola.
  1. Breakfast for lunch bento box: Make a big batch of whole grain French toast on the weekend and refrigerate or freeze in thin strips. Serve with cream cheese or no-nuts pea butter (if your school is peanut free) and jam (or provide a small jar of maple syrup for dipping). Serve with cottage cheese or yogurt and fresh or frozen berries.

Are you feeling inspired to make some creative lunches? Maybe wanting more ideas? for a curated collection of tips and recipes.

Kristin Stringer

Kristin previously provided administrative support for Health Stand Nutrition.

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
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I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
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ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
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