With a new baby in the family, times have gotten even busier because life doesn’t slow down with a toddler in the house! I need to be healthy and organized to stay on top of everything, which includes creating summer Bento boxes I can take on the go with us for either lunch or snacks with some help from Jewel Osco and Townhouse® Crackers, Club® Crackers, Cheez-it® Crackers, and Carr’s® Crackers!
This post has been sponsored by Kellogg’s®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
PREPARING SUMMER BENTO BOXES FOR ON-THE-GO ADVENTURES
When I had Liam, I had the freedom to create my days as busy or lazy as I needed them to be. I had this sweet newborn that was happy to snuggle all afternoon if I wanted after a rough night’s sleep but was just as happy to be wrapped up in the moby, running errands on the days I had energy.
Those days are gone. Baby number two comes with a toddler who has his full energy, regardless of how the baby and I slept the night before.
Which means I need to be organized to stay on top of everything because it’s really easy for me to fall into bad habits and snack on junk food or run through a fast food lane.
The first step was making freezer meal dinners before Parker ever came. It keeps me from calling Bryan and telling him to pick something up on his way home.
The second step is prepping these summer bento boxes that we can take with us when Liam wants to head to the park or I decide to venture out to the children’s museum. We spend a LOT of time at the park!
By prepping these ahead of time, I can stay on track without much thought—even on the hardest of days. And there has definitely been some of those!
So when I dropped into Jewel-Osco to pick up the week’s necessities, I also picked up food that I thought would be great for us in our summer bento boxes. Things like raspberries (which Liam LOVES), carrot sticks, cheese, salami, and, of course, crackers!
Liam never says no to crackers and neither do I, so it’s a great place to start in crafting your own bento boxes! I picked up a box of all our favorites: Townhouse Crackers®, Club® Crackers, Cheez-its®, and Carr’s® Crackers.
Next time you are at Jewel-Osco, make sure you head over to the cracker aisle to stock up! And don’t forget to check out their mobile app or the coupon offer to make your summer bento boxes even more affordable.
HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT SUMMER BENTO BOXES
Creating the perfect summer bento boxes comes down to a few key elements for me:
- Have options that can handle heat or be easily insulated
- Have options that can easily be both lunch or snack because some days get away from us and I want to be able to feed Liam “lunch” while on the go.
- Have options that make me and my toddler happy, plus my husband when he is around!
- Oh, and they have to be easy!
The hardest part is really where to start, so I’m going to share with you all some of the key elements I like to add to each box and some of my favorite pairings. Hopefully it will give you a place to start making your own on-the-go snacks and lunches to at least make that part of your life easier.
TIPS FOR CREATING YOUR SUMMER BENTO BOXES
First, gather everything you need at one time out on the counter. Easy is always essential for me—as I’m sure it is for you, too. When everything is out in one place and visible, I can quickly assemble one or two week’s worth of summer bento boxes.
Second, make sure to mark which of your boxes will need to be insulated with a sticker or different container color. Doing so now will make it easier to not make a mistake when you are heading out the door.
For example, when I include something like tuna salad or hard boiled eggs, I would rather tuck it into an insulated cooler to stay chilled.
Third, keep a short list on hand that breaks down your ingredients by category to make sure you have everything covered in one box or at least almost everything. Protein? Check. Starch? Check. Fruit and/or veggie? Check! Snack item? Check!
It’s okay if not every food type is covered, but the goal is to include a diverse selection in each box.
WHAT FOOD TO INCLUDE:
I like to hit as many of the food groups as I can in one bento box. It makes the on-the-go snack or meal more balanced and filling!
My favorite carbs to add are crackers like Townhouse Crackers, Club Crackers, Cheez-its, and Carr’s Crackers. They stay delicious in the bento box no matter what and I know my toddler will always eat them! Crackers are an easy win for him.
Other carb choices include:
- English Muffin
My favorite pairing for this category is doing a quick roll up with a tortilla and lunch meat paired with Cheez-its! Shared as seen in the photo below, it’s a great snack for Liam and I; individually, it also makes a pretty great lunch!
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
I prefer including fruits and vegetables that are easy finger food and toddler friendly. Those include:
- Baby Carrots
- Bell Peppers
- Celery Sticks
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Grapes (halved for my toddler)
Small salads also make a great addition to summer bento boxes! I like adding one in if I think I might be feeding Liam lunch from what I packed as the small salad works as a healthy “appetizer” for me to eat on the go before getting my lunch at home.
All good snack and lunch boxes need protein! It’s essential to keep us going and feeling full.
- Hard Boiled or Deviled Eggs
- Cooked Bacon
- Leftover Chicken
- Lunch Meat/Pepperoni
- Peanut Butter
- Tuna Salad
My favorite combination for this category is definitely torn between two choices.
First, I love adding in some prosciutto, cheese and Club Crackers! Club Crackers are a delicious, buttery cracker that I love paired with a classic meat and cheese combo. Easy and tasty!
Second, Townhouse Crackers have always been my favorite cracker for tuna salad, so they, of course, make it onto my summer Bento Box list!
EXTRAS FOR BENTO BOXES
What kid doesn’t love to dip? Or even adult actually? Adding in dips or a spread are great for enjoying alongside crackers but especially Carr’s Crackers!
My favorite Bento Box combination is probably Carr’s Crackers, goat cheese and raspberries! It’s a tasty pairing all together. You should definitely try it!
Other dips and spreads to add are hummus, salsa, guacamole or ranch.
Additionally, you could add in nuts, pudding, olives, chocolate chips or dried cranberries.