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Quick & Healthy Bento Box Lunches

Heathy Bento Box Lunch

The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.

Packing school lunches is one of many tasks on your never ending to-do list, but it’s one of the most important gifts you can give your child because it impacts so many things. Healthy and sustained energy levels, increased attention and focus, balanced mood and a strong immune system are just a handful of benefits that come from a balanced diet.

If your creative side has seen better days and you are struggling to put together fresh, exciting and nutritious lunches, this Fx-approved lunchbox toolkit is just what you need.

For countless creations, simply choose one food from each of the below categories (all of the items are available at your local Heinen’s). You can assemble them any way you like; however, I think Bento boxes are the best thing since sliced bread (pun intended)! Not only are they portion-controlled, but they force you to think outside of the box to fill each compartment.

Happy healthy packing!

Rainbow Veggies
1/4-1/2 cup

  • Broccoli florets
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Celery sticks
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cocktail cucumbers
  • Jicama
  • 1 cup leafy greens (spinach, Romaine, etc.)
  • Melissa’s peeled and steamed baby beets
  • Microgreens
  • Pepper strips
  • Rainbow baby carrots
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Zucchini noodles
  • Leftover veggie from last night’s dinner

Rainbow Fruit
1/3 cup or a half piece of fresh fruit

  • Apple slices
  • Apricot slices
  • Avocado
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi slices
  • Mango slices
  • Orange segments
  • Peach slices
  • Pear slices
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Plum slices
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Bare fruit chips
  • Bearsnacks fruit roll
  • Chum fruit bites
  • GoGo squeeZ organic applesauce
  • Mamma Chia chia squeeze
  • That’s It fruit bar (half of a bar)
  • Wholly Guacamole

Healthy Bento Box Lunches

Whole Grains
1 slice bread; 4-5 crackers; 1/3-1/2 cup cooked pasta or rice; ½ cup dry cereal

  • Brown rice
  • Cascadian Farm Purely O’s cereal
  • Dave’s Killer thin-sliced Powerseed bread
  • Heinen’s organic whole wheat artisan rotini pasta
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers seed crackers
  • Purely Elizabeth granola
  • Quinn whole grain pretzels
  • Quinoa
  • Xochitl tortilla chips

Protein
(1-2 ounces meat, fish, chicken or tofu; 1/3-1/2 cup cooked beans or lentils; 1 egg; 1 ounce cheese)

  • Actual Veggies veggie burger
  • Applegate Naturals uncured mini turkey pepperoni (8 pepperoni)
  • Beans (pinto, kidney, garbanzo, black, etc.)
  • Lentils
  • Banza chickpea pasta
  • Biena chickpea snacks
  • Bilinksi’s organic chicken sausage
  • Edamame
  • Homemade Energy Nut Butter Bites
  • GoMacro Kids Macrobars
  • Hummus Goodness hummus
  • Miyoko’s plant milk cheese
  • Nuts/nut butters (almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts)
  • Organic Valley cottage cheese (1/4 cup)
  • Organic Valley Stringles string cheese
  • RXBAR (1/2 bar)
  • RXBAR Nut Butter packet
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Two Brothers organic oven-roasted turkey
  • Vital Farms pasture-raised hard-boiled eggs
  • Wild Planet tuna
  • Yogurt: Stonyfield Organic pouches or Forager Project cashewmilk pouches (dairy-free)

Treats

  • GoMacro Kids MacroBar (1/2 bar)
  • Crazy Go Nuts Banana Walnuts (1/2 ounce)
  • Decadent Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding
  • Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels (1 Tbsp.)
  • Justin’s mini peanut butter cup (1 cup)
  • Navitas Power Snacks (2 pieces)
  • Pitted date stuffed with Heinen’s fresh ground peanut butter
  • Siete cookies (3 cookies)
  • Simple Mills Sweet Thins (5 crackers)
  • Undercover dark chocoalte sea salt quinoa crisps (2-3 crisps)

Drinks

  • Bottled water
  • Hint fruit-infused water
Melanie Jatsek
By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD
Heinen's Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek, RD, LD believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. As a publlished author with over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking, Melanie offers expert guidance through Heinen's Club Fx program to help customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in without giving up their favorite foods.

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