Alright, fellow mommies! This one is for all of us! Let's Be a Hero Mom – How to make packing a school lunch easy this year! It's back to school season, and this year I've determined that my daughter is going to pack more than buy. But, for that to really happen I have to have a plan, and it had better be a pretty easy one, or I'm going to totally #momfail.
Can you relate? I did a lot of research this summer on school lunches, especially Easy Bento Style School Lunches. Last year we bought lunch a lot. Even though I had good intentions, I didn't have a plan, so it just didn't happen. I wanted this year to be different, so I knew I needed to do some research. My daughter is just entering first grade, so this is still relatively new territory for us.
I bought Little Bento by Michele Olivier (affiliate link) and have to say I LOVE this book! There are loads of delicious Easy Bento Style School Lunch recipes included and lots of eye-candy to get your creative lunch ideas flowing! And honestly some of these recipes I've even made for dinner, which is then super easy to save some for my daughter's lunch the next day.
If you're not familiar with Bento style lunches, they spring from a Japanese style of packed lunch. It is meant to be presented artfully so that it is both a feast for the eyes and the tummy. Many Japanese versions contain super detailed character creations made out of food which I admire but realistically am not going to make.
I prefer the healthy American version which is to pack a rainbow of colors into each box. When done right, the lunch will be appealing, cover a wide variety of essential nutrients, and it takes a lot of guessing out of the process.
I decided to take it one step further though and create a “cheat sheet” if you will, of go-to items that I could buy and have on hand to easily pull a great lunch together without having to “over think” the process. And I thought you might enjoy using it too!
First, pick your protein. Which could be a meat and cheese sandwich or roll-up or it could also be a bit of meat (grilled chicken for example) leftover from last nights supper. My daughter loves cheese and pepperoni on a stick and Ants on a Log (which celery filled with peanut butter and topped with a few raisins) is always a hit!
Greens are one of the main elements I'm trying to make sure I include in every box. I know I won't always hit every color of the rainbow, but I'm really going to try to not miss the greens! I have a recipe here for Kale chips which are crunchy and delicious!
Orange and yellow veggies are some of the easiest to get kids to eat. I remember almost turning my daughter orange when she was a baby because she loved to eat sweet potatoes and carrots so much! Nothing much has changed, and they are still among her favorites. I like to roast them for dinner and share some leftovers in her lunch. Check out my Roasted Root Vegetables recipe here for inspiration!
Red is an easy to find category, but since there can be a lot of natural sugar in many of these, I've been using them a bit sparingly. My daughter is naturally energetic, so I do all I can to help her not get too much extra sugar to make “listening” even more of a challenge 🙂
I want to plant some blueberry bushes next year. I grew up with them, and I can't wait to have our own little crop of them. Raisins and grapes are a perennial favorite over here and are available year-round making them great go-to lunch snacks!
Of course, there are lots of other items that we just can't live without – especially something salty + crunchy!! I am trying to wean us off of too many crackers. Popcorn and trail mix are crowd pleasers and of course mini pretzels. I'm toying with the idea of at least attempting to make some crackers, but we'll see.
Easy Bento Style Lunches Cheat Sheet!
Want your own copy of my handy Be a Hero Mom with these Ideas for Bento Style School Lunches to make packing easy and your morning's stress-free cheat sheet? Of course, you do!
If you are already a subscriber to my weekly emails please click here to go directly to my free resource library to get this free PDF file as well as many other printables! (The password is in the emails you receive from me regularly.)
I have been packing her lunch at night, and by using this Easy Bento Style School Lunches cheat-sheet as a guide, it has only been taking me a few minutes which has made our morning routine so much better! I hope this is helpful to you too!