WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? – Dana Shortt Gourmet

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?

Michael went off to JK about this time last year (excuse me, there’s something in my eye…) so I started making lunches for two. John’s pretty easy, so long as I follow this cardinal rule: different foods SHOULD NOT TOUCH. Michael? It’s a whole different story.
In both cases, using a “bento box” approach has helped me tremendously. Not only does it keep John happy (no touching!), a variety of small, portioned items helps tempt Mikey’s appetite, so he can graze his way through a whole meal. As to food prep, it’s a visual reminder for me to pack a balanced meal: I’ve mentally labelled each compartment (protein, fiber, fruit & veggies), so all I have to do is fill in the blanks with what I have on hand. I’ll break out the cookie cutters from time to time (star shaped pitas, anyone?) but not on a regular basis. The point here is to keep things simple, fresh, and colourful.
If you’d like to try making a bento box lunch – pick up a cute container up at Fenigo or use paper or silicone muffin cups in regular Tupperware containers to create separate compartments. As to how to fill the compartments, here are some examples of what can be used:
Protein Section
  • cubes of cheese
  • mini meatballs
  • deli meat roll-ups (John likes a turkey slice wrapped around a dill pickle)
  • hummus or bean dip
  • hardboiled eggs
  • greek yogurt
  • scrambled egg wrapped in a slice of ham
  • cubed chicken with bbq sauce for dipping
  • ham and cheese toothpick “kebabs”
  • mini frittatas
  • bacon (serve with waffle sticks)
  • tuna salad
Fibre Section
  • pasta salad
  • quarter or half a bagel
  • tortilla chips or vegetable chips
  • crackers
  • waffle sticks
  • pretzels
  • mini pitas
  • popcorn
  • half cob of corn
  • nut free trail mix (dried fruit, seeds, cereal)
  • sunflower seed snacks (I like Somersault brand snacks)
  • low sugar, nut free granola bars
  • mini muffins (I make healthier muffins using butter flavoured olive oil)
Fruit and Vegetable Sections
  • I like to pack as much as they will eat! I try to use a wide variety of fruits and veg every week so that they don’t get bored.

Personally, I rarely put any sweets or treats in their lunch because my boys will often have dessert after dinner and/or something sweet in the morning, like banana bread or yogurt. I figure I might as well load them up with the good stuff when they are away from home, hungry and without other options.