After this weekend most schools will have started and we will begin to get into our fall routines.  For many us that means hurried, caffeine-fueled mornings, trying to feed everyone, dress everyone, and get out the door on time—oh, and pack lunches!  Aside from sandwiches and potato chips, there are many fun and healthy packed lunches to bring.  As a bonus, you can make them the night before–just one less step for already chaotic mornings!


Kids’ Lunches

bento_box_KidsYes, most kids are picky when it comes to unfamiliar foods and it is often difficult to get them to try new things.  Healthy additions to known foods, such as a sliced banana on a peanut butter jelly, are great for sneaking in extra nutrition.  Other tricks for getting kids their greens are making sandwiches and foods into fun shapes and designs.  Gaining huge popularity in the US, is the Japanese bento box.  A bento box is a clever and organized to-go box that traditionally contains rice, meat, and vegetables.  However, we are finding these boxes ideal for separating and transporting kids lunches.  The bonus is, kid love them because they allow food to presented in cool ways.  By using cookie cutters, basic knife skills, and colorful fruits and vegetables your kids will have lunches that will make their friends, and teachers want to swap!

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The challenge for many adults bringing lunches to work is finding something as satisfying as our co-workers take-out, yet healthy.  Aside from a broccoli-cheese-stuffed-potatoes-xtiresome turkey sandwich, kick your lunches up with healthily grain salads like quinoa or spelt, which are both high in protein and compatible with a variety of different fruits and vegetables.  In hotter months, bring a healthful chilled soup like a gazpacho.  For colder days, re-vamp left over chili over pasta, or add extra veggies to homemade chicken soups.  Baked potatoes also make a great lunch time meal!  Bake a potato the night before and re-heat in the microwave with broccoli and cheese for a low-fat, but filling meal. Bring out the kid in you and make an Elvis PB&J as a wrap or a sandwich.  Pack sides, snacks, and sweets to stay away from the office vending machine!  For sides, a simple berry salad or hearty vegetables with a vinaigrette hold up well (leafy greens tend to wilt). Sweet treats to satisfy a sweet tooth can include healthy and easy no bake cookies, or a few squares of anti-oxidant rich dark chocolate.


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