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How to Balance Your Kid’s Lunch Box

 

How to Balance Your Kid’s Lunch Box

How to Balance Your Kids’ Lunch Box

As school gets underway, most parents, including us, are tasked with packing a lunch for our kiddos. It can feel like a daunting and monotonous task at times, but it can also be fun and rewarding to see what types of new combinations you can come up with that the kids will love. As parents, we want our kids to enjoy (and eat!) their packed lunches, all while having them provide good balanced nutrition to help them feel great and keep up their energy. In today’s post, we’re talking about our formula to a healthy lunchbox and some of our favorite bento boxes for packing.

First, an important note…

The ultimate goal for a healthy lunch is balance. While this applies to the balance that goes inside the lunchbox (i.e. the actual foods you pack), what’s equally important is balancing what is realistic for your family and your child. Some kids are really open to trying new foods or combinations while others take longer to accept something new. Variety is great for developing kids’ palates and keeping them excited about eating. However, it’s important to not put too much pressure on yourself or your child when it comes to variety. You know your child best, so take these suggestions and adapt them to your situation.

The Formula for a Healthy & Delicious Lunchbox:

With that in mind, here’s a quick formula we like to use to help put together a healthy balanced lunch. We break down the lunch box into categories and list options for each. If you’re using a bento style lunch box (which we love and recommend — see recommendations below) it makes it easier to visualize the different components and fill each with the appropriate food.

Tip: We aim to buy different foods within each category on a weekly basis, this way even though the formula is the same, the lunch can look completely different. For instance, if a sandwich is planned a couple times a week, use bread one week, a tortilla the next, and a pita the following week.

Include:

1. At least 1 fruit: Cut up grapes, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi slices, dried apricots, fresh figs, peaches/nectarines, plums, melon, apples (try this trick for preventing browning if you need to pre-slice for little ones), pears, pineapple, mango, raisins, dried plums (aka prunes). Try fruit kabobs, for a fun presentation!

2. At least 1 veggie: Sliced cucumbers, sliced carrots, halved grape tomatoes, raw or cooked broccoli, sliced bell peppers, sugar snap peas, salsa, tomato sauce.

3. A source of protein: hard boiled egg, cheese (cubed, sliced, string cheese, shredded), meatballs, nitrate/nitrite-free deli meat, beans (white, kidney, black, chickpeas, edamame), leftover cooked chicken, pork, or beef, tuna or salmon (we love Bumble Bee Tuna Pouches with Spoon), yogurt.

4. A source of carbohydrates (preferably whole grain): whole grain bread, tortillas, pita, crackers, cooked quinoa, brown rice, whole grain or bean based pastas.

5. A healthy fat: avocado or guacamole, nuts/nut butter (if allowed) hummus, coconut chips, olives, seeds (sunflower, pumpkin), pesto. Fats often make great components of dips for veggies or on sandwiches. For instance, use pesto as a dip for veggies, a sauce for pasta, or a spread on sandwiches.

6. Something fun and unexpected: We like to include a small treat or surprise often. It could be a small piece of chocolate, chocolate chips mixed with cereal, favorite chips or crackers or another packaged food they love, or some of these oatmeal cookie energy bites.

7. A variety of colors: Kids eat with their eyes, so even if you’re not making beautiful lady bugs out of your grape tomatoes (kuddos to you if you are!) try to vary the colors by including different fruits and veggies. The more the better!

Bento Boxes We Love

Having a great lunch box can make packing and organizing lunch easier and more fun. We love bento style lunch boxes, which help you use the formula above to separate out the different components. Here are some great options:

PlanetBox: We love their Rover Box, which has 5 compartments so you can offer a little of a variety of foods. They are stainless steel, super sturdy, and come with a 5-year warranty. The only downside is that they don’t fit into many of the soft lunch bags, but PlanetBox sells a sack that you can use.

LunchBots Bento: These are stainless steel and come in a variety of sizes that fit into most canvas lunch sacks. They also make leak proof thermal containers that keep hot foods hot for 6 hours.

OmieBox: We love that OmieBox has a built-in compartment for hot food!

Bentgo Kids: These have just the right amount of compartments for young kids. They’re also really durable with rubber edges and completely leak-proof (so key!).


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A note from our CEO about COVID-19x
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The coronavirus has changed life, as we knew it, forever. Most people will be touched in some way by the pandemic either physically, emotionally or financially. We’ve all heard heart-breaking stories from around the world about lives that have been lost and severe financial hardships caused by the sudden shutdown of so many businesses.

On behalf of all our team members around the globe, we extend our deepest sympathies to all that are struggling through personal challenges, whatever they may be, and we offer our sincerest gratitude to all the heroes who are helping those in need.

We’d also like to add how important it is for everyone to continue to do their part to slow the spread. Physical distancing is critical, and we must all take this seriously. We use the word “physical” because staying away from people in a physical way does not mean we should be neglecting the importance of social interactions, compassion and patience.

We are one of the largest providers of shelf-stable seafood and it is our honor and our responsibility to do our part, in every way we can, to help to keep people fed with affordable, nutritious protein. To that end, we’re continuing to run our factories in the US and Canada while our partners around the world continue to provide supply.

We take great pride in being a “people-first” company, so our decision to continue operations is done with utmost concern for the people making it possible. We’ve enhanced our safety measures to meet or exceed CDC guidelines and we have increased wages in our factories to assist employees dealing with the incremental costs of working and new, unexpected demands on their households.

We also take great pride in producing healthy, nutritious and safe products for our customers. Please know the manufacturing practices we follow year-round protect our both employees and the products they produce. Our facilities have very few people-to-product interactions, all products are sterilized in a high temperature oven and then packaged in highly automated production lines.

Beyond Bumble Bee, we’re continually looking for ways to extend our “people first” approach to make a meaningful impact. With so many people in need, we know this effort is more important than ever. We’re starting by donating more than $1 million in product to food banks in both the US and in Canada. And we will be looking for more opportunities to make a positive difference in the days to come.

Finally, I want to thank you, our loyal and new customers, for your support. We hope you find the recipes on our website helpful and easy to prepare. I also want to send a sincere thank you to our Bumble Bee Team and our valued supply partners around the world for their tireless efforts, particularly those working in sales, manufacturing, distribution and all our support roles, ensuring we can keep store and pantry shelves stocked.

Please continue to do your part to keep yourselves and your families safe during this truly unprecedented time.

With Gratitude,
Jan
CEO, Bumble Bee Seafoods