Bento Box Lunch

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It is lunchbox season. Last year, when I sent my kindergartner off, I worried about her little tummy growling at school. Did she eat enough? Did I pack what she liked?  We were used to eating at home. We fixed lunch depending on what we were in the mood for and had snacks whenever we had a hankering for more. They don’t follow that schedule at school. Bummer.

Last school year, I tried to feed her a breakfast that would sustain her until lunchtime. Typically that would be oatmeal or eggs with toast and fruit.  I tried to follow that same philosophy for lunch by packing food high in nutrients that will keep her going throughout the day.

 

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Left over dinner. Chole (spicy chick peas with tomato sauce,) raita, (yogurt cucumber sauce,) and whole wheat wrap. High in flavor and protein.

 

One of my favorite Facebook pages  is 1 Fit Widow (1FW)  https://www.facebook.com/1fwtraining. This company was started by Michelle Steinke with a goal to educate & motivate individuals to live a fit life!   I read her posts for fitness tips, healthy food ideas and and her amazing outlook on life. She is great to share inspirational stories that will warm your heart or break it with empathy.   This link will take you to her story about overcoming grief with fitness and health http://onefitwidow.com/about-one-fit-widow/ She is very inspirational and encouraging. She is also a mother. When I was getting ready for my show segment, I kept thinking about the lunches she packed for her kids last year. She was a big resource for me through out the school year.

“Preparing their lunch usually takes me around 15 minutes. The rule in our house is that they bring home what they didn’t eat because I want them to be honest with me so I don’t shop for what they don’t like. My kids eat most of what I send each day and if other kids make fun of them they say – “don’t yuck my yum”. I spend a lot of time EDUCATING my kids on why these foods are important….not lecturing them. It’s never about weight in our house, it’s always about health. They know that to be the best at school, sports, play, they have to feed their bodies good, whole foods!” -Michelle

Michelle E. Steinke
Founder/CEO 1FW Training
1FW TRAINING & ONE FIT WIDOW
http://www.1fwtraining.com

Follow 1FW on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneFitWidow

She was kind enough to compile this food guide list for me to share.

Protein

Nitrate free sandwich meat.
Organic Greek yogurt (always the plain version and then I sweeten with organic honey and peanut butter or almond butter)
Grass-fed bison or beef jerky
Almonds or mixed nuts (also counts as good fat)
Quinoa (also counts as carbs)
Couscous (also counts as carbs)
Caprese Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella (also counts as good fat and carbs)
Peanut butter and apple sandwich (counts as carbs as well)
Banana burrito (tortilla shell with peanut or almond butter, honey, and a banana wrapped up)

Carbs

Red Peppers
Broccoli (my kids love raw with a side of clean ranch dressing or balsamic)
Cauliflower
Carrots
Quinoa
Couscous
Salads
Popcorn (usually the nearly naked brand from Coscto)
Granola

Fruit

Whatever is in season. My kids will eat any fruit

Good Fat

Nuts
Avocado
Peanut Butter or Almond Butter

Laptop Lunches

One of the easiest ways to pack a great lunch full of variety and nutrients is using a bento box. I found these at http://www.laptoplunches.com/ They also have a variety of seasonal lunch ideas on their website.

What is a bento box?

Bento (弁当 bentō?)[1] is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Bento boxes are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋 bentō-ya?), railway stations, and department stores. However, Japanese homemakers often spend time and energy on a carefully prepared lunch box for their spouse, child, or themselves. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bento)

 

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*not my design

What is the benefit of using bento boxes:

1-Packed in reusable containers, they reduce waste and allow you to pack a variety of food for lunch.
2-Portion control is also easy if you follow this general packing rule: 3 parts carbs, 1 part protein and 2 parts fruits and vegetables. Pack tightly you will generally have a 600 calorie meal with the appropriate portions.
3-Presentation may encourage your picky eater to try new foods.
4- Save money you might have spent on restaurant meals by bringing food from home

 

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*not my design. Typical Japanese bento box with fish, rice and a cool design.

 

Think balance, not only nutritional but also visual. Use a variety of colors and textures in the lunch and pack it compactly. There’s nothing worse than packing a lunch that looks nice in the morning, only to open it and find that everything’s slid around and mixed up when you’re ready to eat.

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Octopus Salad. Hummus, peppers, carrots, cucumbers and olive eyes.

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Simple-Meal-bento-lunch-box

 

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Quinoa-Salad-Hummus-bento-lunchbox

 

Here is the clip from today’s show.

http://youtu.be/c4cRQzhvcN8

American wife to this Indian life. I am a right-brained, American woman married to a left-brained Indian man. I love art, design, up-cycling and multiple DIY projects at the same time. He loves simplicity and order. Follow us on this cultural collision as I combine our personalities and cultural differences through art, design, food, and raising kids. When I am not working on a craft or project, I co-host a lifestyle/entertainment show called "Daytime Blue Ridge," on our local NBC affiliate, WSLS 10. www.DaytimeBlueRidge.com

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