It’s back to school and that means, back to packed lunches! Lunchtime can be a huge struggle for all families, especially families coping with food allergies. Creativity is the name of the game when it comes to packed lunches. The school year is long and lunch can get boring! We are here to help, with some interesting, kid-friendly ideas. To keep things fun, we love bento-box style lunch containers for a few reasons:

  1. They keep foods separate- this is a big deal for many kids!
  2. They help remind us to pack a variety of food groups. If you think of each section as a food group, you’re sure to pack a well-balance meal.
  3. They encourage you to think beyond the sandwich and get creative.

Bento-style lunches are all the rage, so the ideas on the internet are endless. If you type “kids bento box lunch” on Pinterest or into Google, you’re sure to find ideas that can last all year long. When packing a lunch, whether it’s a bento-style lunch or a regular brown bag lunch, focus on foods that will help keep the kids full, focused and ready-to-learn. Foods containing protein, healthy fats, and fiber do the trick.

Part I of this two part video series includes a fun recipe for a wild rice salad that kids LOVE! It’s full of fall flavors, like apples, cranberries and butternut squash. It contains all of the focus foods listed above: fiber (from the butternut squash, apple and fiber-rich whole grain rice), protein (from the seeds and cheese) and healthy fats (from the olive oil and seeds) Check out the video and recipe below!

How do you think outside the [lunch] box?


Print Recipe
Wild Rice Harvest Bowl
This delicious whole-grain salad combines all of the great flavors of fall! It makes a beautiful side dish and works well in packed lunches!
Servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1/2 cup Gerbs Wild Black Rice
  • 1/2 cup Gerbs Whole Grain Basmati Rice
  • 2 cups Water or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 cups butternut squash peeled and diced
  • 1/2 Lg. Red Apple cored and diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Gerbs unsalted, roasted sunflower and pumpkin kernels
  • 1/2 cup Gerbs Dried Cranberries
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley chopped
  • 3 oz. cheddar cheese cubed (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Dressing
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup 100% Apple Juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Gerbs Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1/2 cup Gerbs Wild Black Rice
  • 1/2 cup Gerbs Whole Grain Basmati Rice
  • 2 cups Water or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 cups butternut squash peeled and diced
  • 1/2 Lg. Red Apple cored and diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Gerbs unsalted, roasted sunflower and pumpkin kernels
  • 1/2 cup Gerbs Dried Cranberries
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley chopped
  • 3 oz. cheddar cheese cubed (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Dressing
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup 100% Apple Juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Gerbs Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook rice per package instructions. Feel free substitute 3 cups of cooked leftover rice or prepare rice in advance.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a half sheet pan with foil then spray with nonstick spray or coat lightly with oil. Add butternut squash cubes, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper then toss to evenly coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until squash is tender, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool. This step can also be done in advance.
  3. In a large bowl combine cooked rice, cooled butternut squash, apples, cheese, seeds, and cranberries.
  4. Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl or jar with a tight fitting lid then whisk or shake to combine. Taste then add more salt, pepper, or seasoning if desired.
  5. Pour 1/2 of dressing onto salad and stir to coat. Add more dressing, if desired. Enjoy!
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Written by Sennen Conte

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