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A Wild Dove, a wellness site for mamas and their children, asked us to inspire with some back-to-school lunch suggestions. We were happy to oblige with the following easy, healthy and super-fun “out-of-the-box” ideas!

Ahh, there’s nothing quite like back to school. The sweaters, the new sneakers, the smell of fresh notebooks. But one aspect of the September onslaught that we can all commiserate on is LUNCH, specifically taking time out of our busy schedules to pack a protein-packed, healthy, all natural lunch that won’t end up in the cafeteria trash can.

Enter the perfect kid’s Bento Box, which we have a major Krush on! With these Yumbox options, it is easy to incorporate healthy meals and delish snacks into your kids’ everyday lunchtime staples. What to pack? Check out our tips below:

DECONSTRUCTED BUDDHA BOWL

At Organic Krush, our kids Buddha Bowl consists of three simple ingredients: brown rice or quinoa, grilled chicken, and broccoli. There are many ways to riff off of this and the combinations depending on your kiddos’ likes and/or restrictions are pretty numerable. We suggest filling one spot with either brown rice, quinoa, a salad mix, or spinach. Another compartment can then be filled with your choice of protein. Proteins like chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu or chickpeas will hold kids through their long day at school and add great flavor. It’s also easy to grill items in batches and package them up to grab out of the fridge during the week. Just give items a quick squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of olive oil right before packing up. The same can be said for veggies: cut them up and store raw in the fridge so you can just take out what you need to do a quick steam or stir-fry as you are packing up the box. Mix in your child’s favorite…We love broccoli, sweet potatoes and edamame.

See below for an easy way to add lots of flavor to quinoa in your bento box!

Toasted Quinoa

Instructions

  • Measure the amount of quinoa you will be using. Place in a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Rinse with running water
  • When the water runs clear, turn the water off and shake out as much water as possible.
  • Add wet quinoa to heavy duty (we love Le Creuset) on the stove top.
  • Over high heat, let the quinoa dry out and “toast”
  • Use a wooden spoon to move the quinoa around the pot every few minutes.
  • Turn heat off and add the proper amount of water
  • Bring water/quinoa to a boil and then lower to a simmer
  • Follow directions on the bag of quinoa for proper cook time.

What would lunch be without a snack? Those extra compartments are just waiting for:

  • Mix of Berries and Bananas
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Popcorn with Flavor Topping

Popcorn Tip: When purchasing popcorn kernels, make sure they are certified 100% Organic, as most corn crops in the United States are now GMO-corn. This means insecticides and herbicides have been injected into the corn kernel. We do not consider GMO-corn to be safe corn to eat. Most natural grocers sell organic corn and since popcorn is such a light, healthy, high fiber snack we love recommending it to parents and children. In terms of cooking the kernels, our preferred method is the stove top Whirly-Pop. The kids can help twirl the kernels around the pot (using just a little bit of olive or coconut oil) and then they can also help shake on some fun toppings. We love this shredded coconut on Thrive Market.

P.S. We are pretty sure there is no age limit for Bento Boxes!

This article has been edited from its original form, and with permission from A Wild Dove.

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