Lunch is an important way to refuel your body mid-day. Here’s a handy, reusable lunch container that makes packing a variety of healthy, satisfying choices easier — and keeps them organized, too: a bento box!
Just fill the bento’s compartments with nutritious building blocks (from the USDA’s Choose My Plate) for your healthy diet (clockwise from upper left):
- Protein – Our box has some sunny hard-boiled eggs, but choose your own favorite: lean meat, poultry or fish, beans and peas, even soy products, nuts and seeds. These foods deliver vital amino acids and other nutrients that help your body build and repair tissues, release energy, carry oxygen to cells and keep your immune system running properly.
- Fruit – We love ripe summer berries, but let your taste buds be your guide: apples, grapes, bananas, kiwis, stone fruits, you name it. Go for whole or fresh-cut fruit; in addition to delicious sweetness, you get all the vitamins, minerals and fiber that Nature intended.
- Whole Grains – Whether you eat wheat or stick to gluten-free alternatives, there have never been so many delicious choices for getting your dietary fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Choose your favorite form of whole grains (we’re having tasty quinoa in our box), from pastas, noodles and pilafs to breads, pitas, crackers and tortillas.
- Vegetables – Feed your eyes and your taste buds with a colorful array, in a salad like we’ve done, or with a selection of cut crudités, a stir-fry or roasted veggies — whatever crunchy, crispy or tender textures you like. Choose lots of colors to get a variety of important vitamins and minerals.
- Milk – Be it dairy or non-dairy (like almond, rice, coconut or soy), milk can be a healthy drink choice, especially for growing kids; it delivers calcium, vitamin D and minerals for strong bones and teeth. Yogurts and cheeses are good options, too — consider low- or nonfat versions to keep calories down.
Always consider the foods you’ll be packing when you select any lunch container. Fresh foods and cut produce need to be kept cold to maintain food safety. If you can’t put your lunch in a fridge as soon as you get to work or school, be sure you use cold packs to keep your food at the proper temperature until you’re ready to eat.
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