The biggest misconception parents have is that it will take lots of time to prepare a healthy lunch for their children or that healthy options will not be available at local grocery stores. ENTER Healthy, Tasty brown bag and bento lunches kids can make on their own
According to Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian and certified dietetic nutritionist, kids who make their won lunches will perform better in school, won’t come home starving and will learn good eating habits early on in life. Parents have the ability to create fast, quick meals for lunch (brown bag) as opposed to giving their kid a white bread cheese sandwich on the go and Ms. Richter offers these 8 tips to help streamline the process. This is the second article in our best foods for your kids series and its-the-dilemma-every-parent-of-a-school-age-child-faces: lunch! In this post we tackle… Healthy, Tasty brown bag and bento lunches kids can make on their own
And for those of you who have a bit more time check out how to reinvent the concept of the packed lunch and turn the law of “don’t play with your food” on its head by reimagining dishes as colorful cartoon characters. I’ve got three Recipes from Yummy Kawaii Bento: Preparing Adorable Meals for Adorable Kids by Li Ming Lee. Copyright 2015, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. that will entice your children to eat balanced lunches every day and transform the routine of unoriginal packed lunches into a joy for yourself Keep reading for all the deets!
Keep reading for all the delicious deets Healthy, Tasty brown bag and bento lunches kids can make on their own
Make a larger dinner so leftovers can be part of lunch for kids the next day. For example take leftover zucchini yellow and green veggies slice them thin and put them under the broiler to make chips that are not fried. And use thermoses to keep foods hot such as soups.
Make lunches the night before. This way you don’t have to wake up earlier.
Make your kids part of the grocery shopping process. Compare and contrast the good foods versus the bad and let them choose their lunch ingredients.
Substitute higher fat for lower fat more healthful alternatives. Try bottle water with eboost for daily vitamins and delicious flavors. Eboost vitamin C, Zinc B6, B12, Electrolytes sweetened with Stevia in fun flavors (lemonade, acia/pom, orange) instead of vitamin water or Gatorade with lots of sugars.
Naked nuggets. Check out these gluten free, grilled not fried, natural white meat at www.shedthebread.com instead of processed parts of chicken with breading.
Edamame. This great fiber protein snack, super cool instead of boring veggies- just put frozen in a zip lock bag and defrosted by lunch time. If no peanut butter is allowed at school try sunflower butter and for a lower sugar alternative to jelly try apple butter. Greek yogurt (low fat) instead of the low protein high sugar ones advertised for kids.
Make it more fun by creating your own parfait: use a tall clear plastic glass: start with fruit, layer yogurt, then high fiber cereal, fruit, yogurt, cereal
Stay away from fast food for lunch
Often times fast foods are very high in sodium and fat and offer very little nutrients and they often come with high sugar drinks that sent the kids energy levels sky rocketing and then they crash, says Ms. Richter. This is a terrible cycle to start them on. They also are not developing taste for fruits and vegetables but instead for sugar and salt.
3 Fun, tasty lunches kids can make on their own
#1 Turkey and low fat cheese roll ups. Roll up with 3 oz left over grilled chicken, 1/4 cup salsa, 1/4 cup lettuce 1 TBSP low fat cheese, 1/4 avocado sliced with one fruit leather and bottle water with EBOOST.
#2 Naked nuggets in thermos www.shedthebread.com. Serve with one cup edamame in a Ziploc bag, and one no added sugar apple sauce.
#3 Three slices Apple Gate Farms roasted turkey with two slices low fat Swiss cheese on two slices Eli’s health bread. Serve with two stalks of celery cut into four pieces with one squeeze pack Justin’s Almond butter and one bottle of low fat milk.
And now for the bento goodness:
Kids are always fascinated by magical witches and wizards. Pack this friendly looking witch onigiri in their bentos. Craft her hair out of fusilli pasta, and make her a broomstick out of ham and pretzel sticks. Have a picky kid who hates carrots? Then use carrots to make delicious carrot patties as a side dish. We use tofu as a substitution for all meat.
Pork carrot patties (p. 216)
Tamagoyaki (p. 225)
Sesame broccoli (p. 227)
FOOD ART INGREDIENTS
FAKE Meat Protein
Witch’s hat cupcake topper
1. Color rice balls by mixing with ketchup. Using cling wrap, shape out two rice balls—a bigger one for the head and a smaller one for the body.
2. Using a nori punch, cut out ovals for the eyes from a sheet of nori. Using a pair of scissors, cut out a curved thin line for the mouth.
3. Cut a sheet of nori bigger than the triangular rice ball. Then, cut along the four edges as shown.
4. Wrap nori around the rice ball and shape with cling wrap. Set aside.
5. For the broomstick, you need a pretzel stick and a small slice of ham. Fold ham in half and make regular parallel cuts along the edge. Don’t cut all the way through—just about three-quarters in.
6. Wrap ham around the end of the pretzel stick and secure in place with a pasta stick.
7. Assemble rice balls in the bento box. Add fusilli pasta for her hair and add a witch’s hat cupcake topper.
8. Using a round cutter, cut out two small circles from the ham for her cheeks. Use pasta sticks to secure them onto the rice ball.
The boys will be thrilled to bring this cool ninja bento box to school, and even the girls would love these cute-looking ninjas! Nori is the perfect ingredient to make the ninja’s outfit. Sakura denbu, a pinkish fluffy flaked fish condiment usually used in sushi rolls, is used to flush the ninja’s cheeks. Sakura denbu can be bought in packets in Japanese supermarkets or online; otherwise a suitable substitute would be to use pink cake decorating gel.
Lemon soy sauce salmon (p. 222)
Lemon chicken (p. 212)
Broccoli and carrot stir-fry (p. 230)
Tamagoyaki (p. 225)
FOOD ART INGREDIENTS
1. Using cling wrap, shape two rice balls for the head and body. For the body, use your hand to continue molding the rice ball into an inverted “V.” Using cling wrap, shape more rice into two long cylindrical shapes for the hands.
2. Wrap all body parts with nori (note that you won’t be wrapping the underside of the rice balls). Starting with the head, cut nori into two shapes as shown, then make cuts along the lines to make it easier to wrap. Place nori on the rice ball and use cling wrap to secure and shape.
3. To wrap the arms, cut nori roughly as shown in the picture, then make rough cuts along the lines. Place nori on the rice ball that is your ninja’s arm and use cling wrap to wrap, secure, and shape.
4. To wrap the body, cut nori roughly as shown in the picture, then make rough cuts along the lines. Place nori on the rice ball that is your ninja’s body and use cling wrap to wrap, secure, and shape.
5. Cut out a heart-shaped scarf for the ninja from a sheet of nori using a pair of scissors. Place the nori on a slice of cheese and cut out using a toothpick.
6. For the sword, cut out a small rectangle of cheese, then cut out small strips of nori to wrap around it.
7. Use a nori punch to cut out the eyes from nori. Cut a curved line for the nose using scissors. Dab on sakura denbu or ketchup for the cheeks.
8. Assemble all the parts on a plate or in a bento box.
Does your little girl dream of transforming into a little mermaid? Learn the steps to craft this mermaid under the sea. In this bento, noodles are used for her soft, wavy hair. There are also instructions in this bento tutorial on how to make a ham flower, which serves as both filler and decoration for your bentos.
Cajun spiced grilled wings (p. 208)
FOOD ART INGREDIENTS
Dark colored cheese
Light colored cheese
Paw craft punch
1. Trace out the mermaid figure (p. 246) on parchment paper and make a cutout in slices of dark-colored cheese, light-colored cheese, and ham as shown. Follow the instructions on how to cut out characters using a template (p. 17).
2. Use a paw craft punch to cut out ovals for the eyes from a sheet of nori. Use a pair of scissors to cut out 2 thin curved lines from nori to form her nose and mouth.
3. Arrange the mermaid on top of a Nutella sandwich. Add noodles tossed in a little soy sauce and sesame oil for her hair.
4. Using a fish-shaped cutter, cut out a fish from a slice of carrot.
5. Fold a salami in half. Using a knife, make cuts at regular intervals on the folded side as shown. You can also use ham instead of salami.
6. Roll up your salami as shown.
7. Secure using a pasta stick.
8. Using a knife, slice off the excess salami at the bottom so that the flower can stand on its base.
Any school lunch recipes that your kids simply can’t live without?