Modernize Your Bagged Lunch

by in Back to School, September 7, 2012

lentil quinoa salad
With back-to-school season in full swing, talk of bagged lunches is a regular most mom-groups. As many of us do, we put more time into our kids and what they are eating and let our own diets fall by the wayside. Well, bagged lunches are not just for little ones. Planning and packing your own lunch is a sure-fire way to control the types of foods you are eating and the portion size. If you’re like me, you might need a little motivation. When my work-out gets dull a new sports bra or pair of sneaks often does the trick. Next thing you know I go from barely running a block to feeling like I could run a marathon with my new kicks on.

So, here are some really fun lunch-packing goodies to get you motivated to join the brown-bag movement. Hey, a few of these items may appeal to your kids as well and get them psyched about that extra piece of fruit or healthier snack you packed for them!

If you ask me, an important component of the bagged lunch is in fact the bag — the vehicle that totes from house to school, office or wherever. Sure, a brown bag works but there are so many cool, cute options available. It’s important to note that re-usable lunch bags are more earth-friendly than the brown bag. Who can argue with stylish and green? Built NYC has been my go-to company for cool re-usable totes. The patterns are bright and fun and the kid’s totes are adorable.  Looking to channel you inner child? Dabbawalla bags are great and their lunch purse that fits snuggly around your wrist is a unique twist to a traditional bag.

A cool, new trend for packed lunches is the bento box. Bento boxes were traditionally used in Japan for packing single-serve meals. It’s a box with partitions to separate the components of a meal. There are several modern options available for kids and adults alike.  The compartments make planning a meal exciting. I am envisioning a grain or noodle salad in one compartment, some fruit or raw veggies in another, a protein like chicken or edamame in another and lastly, dessert to round out the box. Skip Hop makes a colorful version perfect for parents and kids. Check out these cute animal “boxes” by Kotobuki or this adult-friendly box by laptop lunches that portions your meal to fit the USDA healthy plate guidelines. With all the talk to green lunchware I should mention there are tons of reusable sandwich and snack bags available as well.

So you packed you lunch and toted it to said destination in a cool bag. Now, how do you prevent the class bully or nosey co-worker from stealing your grub? Try these cool lunch bags that make your food look moldy. Mold or the bugs would keep me from tasting even the tasty looking meal in the fridge. Added bonus: these bags are great conversation starters and have the ability to lighten the mood in the most serious lunchroom.

OK!  We should be set on the lunchbox. Now, how about a few great recipes to jump-start your packed lunch routine?

Lentil and Quinoa Salad (above)

Soba Noodle Vegetable Salad

Mango Cucumber Rice Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Shrimp Salad with Cucumber and Mint

Soft Asian Summer Rolls

TELL US: What’s in your lunchbox today?

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