Bento-Style Lunches: Week 2

Let me just start off by saying that there will be something EXCITING happening and you don’t want to miss out! So make sure you check back this time next week to see what it is…I know the suspense is killing you!

My Five Tips to Shopping Smart

1. The golden rule: Keep it simple! Don’t over complicate the process, keep your lunch simple.  Let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for the over-the-top lunches we see on Pinterest.

2. Shop smart: Plan your shopping trip. I shop for two weeks at a time, and I plan every breakfast, lunch and dinner (around what is on sale). This not only helps you to keep costs down, but also helps you to plan and never feel like you don’t know what to eat or pack for lunch.

3. Know your store: I actually did an “experiment” and bought groceries at all of our local stores, and some of them tout they have the cheapest prices, but no one was able to beat the prices I get for groceries at Safeway by downloading coupons to my card and using the Just 4 U program. By knowing Safeway, I know what isles I need to go down, and what isles will trap me into wanting to buy snack foods, or cake mix for only $0.99. So, I stick to the perimeter of the store, which houses the produce, deli, dairy and meat departments, and only go down the isles that have additional things I need, like frozen veggies and tortillas!

4. Don’t shop hungry: Hunger makes us do bad things sometimes 😉 So make sure you eat beforehand so that you don’t end up making impulse purchases on lunch goodies that look appealing…which brings us to the final tip…

5. Don’t fall victim to marketing. Commercials and branding can make us feel like we NEED to buy special items for ourselves or our family, whether products are touting health benefits or appealing to our kids. Pass up the granola bars dipped in chocolate, and make some at home. Better yet, get your children involved in making snacks and goodies for their lunches, they will feel like they are getting something just as special, if not more.

This weeks Bento-Style Lunch:

DF Laptop Lunch Ideas

1)  Mandarin orange and peas.

2) We love bananas in this house!

3) A turkey sandwich. I pick up cookie cutters when I find them on great deals. A dino sandwich is much more fun 😉

4) Earth Balance makes vegan cheese crackers, saaayyy what?! We had to try them because I may or may not have had an addiction to Cheez-its in my younger years.

5) Sunflower seeds mixed with some dairy-free chocolate chips for a treat.

Enjoy! 🙂

More Bento-Style Lunches and Tips:
Five Tips to Packing a School Lunch

Check out Laptop Lunches BentoWare!

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Bento-Style Lunches

It’s time to start thinking about school lunches again! I’ve fallen in love with bento style lunches, and these containers from Laptop Lunches Bento Ware; which are BPA free and they offer a lot of selections in cute colors, plus extras to make lunch time more exciting. They make it so easy to portion out foods, and make it fun for the kiddos and grownups. I wanted to share a few of my tips to make packing school lunch easier, and that will surely encourage your kiddos to gobble up all their food rather than wanting to trade with their friends!

 

My Five Tips to Packing a School Lunch:

1) Get your kids involved. Let them pick out something for their lunch at the grocery store, or give them options from what you have around the house to pack in their lunch. This helps to empower them, and this is a great teaching opportunity for making healthy choices!

2) Choose easy to eat foods. Make or pack bite sized food and/or food that is easy for little hands to pick up and eat.

3) Variety. It can be boring eating the same sandwich for lunch. Add in different fruits and veggies that are in season.  You can make sandwiches more exciting by making “sushi” or cutting them in into fun shapes…or get creative and choose something that isn’t a sandwich at all!

4) Make homemade snacks and treats. By making homemade foods you can get your kids involved and excited in the process, plus this is often more cost-effective compared to buying prepackaged foods and most importantly you control the type and quality of the ingredients. Muffins, granola bars, and cookies are great options!

5) Buy in bulk. Buy foods in bulk, such as snacks, veggies, vegetables and yogurt. You can portion out these foods into individual servings so they are easy to grab and pack into a lunch. While go-gurts are fun, they are often more expensive than buying a big container of yogurt for the whole family and portioning it out for everyone’s lunch.

This is the first of many weekly lunchbox ideas that I will be sharing with you, that are of course dairy-free!

 Dairy Free Kids Bento Style Laptop Lunch

1) Peanut Butter and Blueberry “Sushi” rolls. Take a piece of bread and roll it flat. Spread a layer of peanut butter. Add blueberries and roll, roll, roll. Then cut into three or four pieces. Viola “sushi”!

2) Barbara’s Animal Cookies

3) Cucumbers.

4) Banana.

5) So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt with blueberries on top.

 

Dairy Free Bento Style Laptop Lunch

 

1) Quinoa Salad. Cook quinoa; once cooled add in chopped cilantro, avocado and tomato. Squeeze fresh lime and salt and pepper to taste.

2) Limes for quinoa salad, or to even put into your bottled water.

3) Banana

4) Cucumbers and yellow pepper strips

5) So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt with blueberries on top.

Enjoy 😉

More Bento-Style Lunches and Tips:
Five Tips to Shopping Smart

Check out Laptop Lunches BentoWare!

P.S. Review and opinions are all based upon my experience and thoughts. 

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free: Toddler Lunch

Hello my lovely readers!

I’ve shared a dairy-free and gluten-free toddler breakfast and dinner, so I figured I should share a lunch too. I was talking with one of my girlfriends on the phone earlier today and she told me about this delicious turkey sandwich that she has been making for lunch, so I just HAD TO HAVE a turkey sandwich too…I’m sure you know how that is!

So, I kept our lunch fairly simple today. I let the toddler pick out his fruit and veggie of choice, which happened to be an orange and some carrots; I cut the carrots into chunks and sliced up the orange (he likes his orange still attached to the peel). I toasted his bread, I always do this to make it a little softer, then added some avocado, turkey and lettuce; I even cut it into a train shape with my amazing skills, just kidding, I used a cookie cutter! Then to finish it off, I added a little coconut milk yogurt, it gets some good bacteria into your body and some calcium too.

Dairy Free and Gluten Free Toddler Lunch

The raw fruits and veggies are naturally dairy and gluten free, as well as the coconut milk yogurt. Apparently some lunch meats have gluten, so make sure to check the ingredient lists, and leave out those nasty nitrates and nitrites too! Last, but not least, I used the Franz 7 Grain bread again, it has basically become a staple in my home because it doesn’t have gluten or dairy (I am still a big advocate for Dave’s Killer Bread, but it isn’t gluten free).

I always share the before photos of our meals, but I thought I would show you the after photo…well, because toddlers will be toddlers and they don’t always eat what all you serve up! If the left overs are salvageable you can always save them for another meal or snack, eat them yourself, feed them to your dog (as long as its okay for them to eat), stick it in the compost…or throw it away.

I think most toddlers refuse food at some point in their young lives, and it is totally normal! I know a lot of parents worry, as do I, about your child getting all the nutrients that they need. This is when smoothies seriously come in handy, you can shove all sorts of things in the blender and make something that tastes awesome and not healthy…hehe…little do they  know, that it is.

DF GF Toddler Lunch

Happy Munching 🙂