I absolutely love back to school season, so I was really excited this month when Gay Lea challenged me to come up with a fun lunch idea using one of their products. Back to school time always feels like a second new year and it’s a chance to have a fresh start, try to do a little better than the last year, and really vow to be extra organized this time around.
I have to admit that making school lunches is probably the most frustrating part of the whole school experience for me, probably because it drives me crazy to spend all that time putting together all those fun and healthy snacks, only to have most of it come home uneaten a lot of the time. I know I’m not alone in this, but it still drives me crazy!
One of the ways we’ve tried to be extra organized this year is by ordering Kennedy’s new backpack, lunch pail, and lunch accessories really early in the summer, when there are still lots of different patterns available and she can get something she really loves. In past years we’ve ordered them a few weeks before school starts and had a really hard time finding something that she liked. One of the things we picked up earlier this summer was this fun bento box, so I thought it would be neat to take it for a test run and play with a few ideas for all the school lunches I’ll soon be making.
Food on a Stick
This is a great way to encourage your kids to eat super healthy. Any kind of food seems more fun when you kabob it! I love the idea of loading up on the veggies for the kabobs and then adding in a “dessert” that’s also secretly pretty healthy. These Gay Lea Nordica Smooth Salted Caramel Cottage Cheese cups taste like the most indulgent yogurt/pudding, but they’re loaded with protein for extra energy.
Make Your Own Parfait
If going super healthy isn’t working, you can make the whole lunch seem like a big dessert by creating a “make your own parfait” bento box. Start with the salted caramel smooth cottage cheese, then add in a bunch of different toppings and “sprinkles” that are also actually nutritious. You can create a fun caramel apple parfait by adding in tiny chopped apple pieces, seeds, raisins, and shredded coconut. Kids can create the parfait right in the big compartment of the bento box! Gay Lea has a new plain version of the smooth cottage cheese arriving in stores this month too, so you can use that to create any flavor of parfait that you can dream up!
Who doesn’t love to be babied? This is actually probably the way my kids eat most often, and while it seems strange for older kids to eat this way, it’s actually pretty healthy because it encourages healthy eating in smaller, more appropriate amounts than what we’re used to eating in the standard American diet. This type of lunch involves lots of small food items made just the way your kids like them. Tiny pieces of cut up fruit, sandwiches with the crust cut off and things like containers of high-protein cottage cheese that are already opened are hallmarks of this type of lunch box. But seriously, what is it with packaged foods? They always suddenly seem so much more exciting to my kids when I serve them already opened to my kids. If your kids have this aversion to opening their own packages, this type of bento box is for you! 🙂
Do you ever create bento box style lunches for your kids? What are your favorite items to include?
I’m excited to announce that Gay Lea has yet another fabulous giveaway going on this month too! This time around it’s a Ninja Supra Kitchen System, which is definitely something I wish I could win! Good luck to all those who enter! 🙂
(Giveaway runs from Tuesday, August 8th until Monday, September 4th)
Gay Lea Ninja Supra Kitchen System Giveaway – August 2017
I created this blog post as a paid ambassador with Gay Lea Foods and PTPA. All opinions and advice are my own as always!