This is the third installment in my series of lunchbox roundups that features different types of lunchboxes I pack for my daughters and post almost daily on my Pinterest and Facebook pages.  When packing lunchboxes, I always try to include three types of foods:

  1. Grow food (protein+starch)
  2. Vegetables
  3. Fruit and/or dairy

I also usually include a small serving of a sweet treat, to round out the meal. I am also a big proponent of packing a small serving of a less liked or new food into your child’s lunchbox from time to time. This way, they get one more opportunity to learn to like something new!

Here are some of the earlier lunchbox-themed posts that you may find useful:

The Art and Science of Packing a Lunchbox

Lunchbox safety

Involving kids in lunchbox preparation

Sample lunchbox menus

Grain and pasta salad recipes

Pasta and Noodle Lunchbox Roundup

Rice and Grain Lunchbox Roundup

Like most mothers, I’m always trying to incorporate more whole grains into my daughters’ diets and lunchboxes.  Whole grains are loaded with important nutrients such as selenium, potassium, and magnesium.  They also contain dietary fiber, which helps to keep my daughters full at school.  As an alternative to making sandwiches out of whole wheat bread every day, I like to mix things up by making sandwiches out of whole wheat bagels and english muffins.  One of my go-to lunchbox favorites is wild smoked salmon with reduced-fat cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel.  You can also make simple quesadillas using whole wheat tortillas that are filled with ingredients like cheese, egg, chicken, and spinach.

Whole grains are unrefined grains that haven’t had their bran and germ removed by milling.  Any bread labeled “whole wheat” must be made with 100-percent whole-wheat flour.  It’s important to remember that even if bread labels advertise “seven-grain” or “multigrain,” they are not necessarily whole grain products.  Check the Nutrition Facts Panel to make sure whole-wheat flour is listed as the first ingredient.  Overall, for everyone ages 9 and up, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming 3 to 5 servings or more of whole grains every day.  Younger children can consume slightly less–about 2 to 4 servings for girls and 2.5 to 5 servings for boys.  In general, one serving of whole grains is equal to 16 grams of whole grain ingredients.

So, instead of grabbing the whole wheat bread next time you’re in the grocery store, choose the package of whole wheat bagels, tortillas, or english muffins as a way to keep your child’s lunchbox interesting!

Below are several quesadilla, bagel, and english muffin lunchboxes (including pictures and ingredients) I have made for my daughters in the past.

Lunchbox #1

September 16_small

  • Lunchbox #1 Ingredients
  • Ham and cheese on whole wheat english muffin
  • Tomatoes, grapes, apples
  • A cookie (store bought) and dried cranberries

 

Lunchbox #2

June 6_small

  • Lunchbox #2 Ingredients
  • Cheese quesadilla
  • Grilled corn
  • Blueberries, oranges and mini marshmallows

 

Lunchbox #3

May6_annotated_small

  • Lunchbox #3 Ingredients
  • Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon
  • Grilled asparagus and a boiled egg
  • Strawberries and a slice of almond chocolate cake

 

Lunchbox #4

April 19th_annotated_small

 

Lunchbox #5

April 16th_annotated_small

  • Lunchbox #5 Ingredients
  • Mini whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and wild smoked salmon
  • Tomatoes
  • Blackberries and plain yogurt with granola and some maple syrup

 

Lunchbox #6

April 4th_small

 

Lunchbox #7

February 20_small

  • Lunchbox #7 Ingredients
  • Whole grain bagel with smoked salmon
  • Mozzarella cheese with tomatoes
  • Dolma with hummus
  • Clementines and blueberries
  • Half a mini croissant and dried cranberries

 

Lunchbox # 8

February 5_small

  • Lunchbox #8 Ingredients
  • Cheese and chicken whole wheat tortilla
  • Carrots and cucumbers
  • A mini slice of cherry pie (dinner leftovers) and clementines

 

Lunchbox #9

January 10

  • Lunchbox #9 Ingredients
  • Whole wheat chicken quesadillas
  • Apples, carrots and tomatoes
  • Home made whole wheat banana bread

 

Lunchbox #10

December 11

  • Lunchbox #10 Ingredients
  • Ham and cheese quesadilla
  • Broccoli, carrots, grapes
  • Chocolate pudding

 

Lunchbox #11

October 18th

  • Lunchbox #11 Ingredients
  • Egg quesadillas made by my second grader
  • Some green beans with ginger miso sauce
  • Grapes and a granola bar

 

Lunchbox #12

March 5_small

  • Lunchbox #12 Ingredients:
  • Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese
  • Canned tuna and edamame tossed with olive oil
  • Tomatoes and blueberries

 

Stay tuned for more lunchbox round-ups!

Tell me what is your child’s favorite lunchbox item?

 

References:

http://www.eatright.org

http://wholegrainscouncil.org/

 

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