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Liven Up Your Lunchbox

The old PB&J that you used to eat in the lunch room isn't making any of your kiddo's friends #jealy anymore. While it's easy to prep a sandwich and throw in a granola bar for good measure, it's just as simple to refine your tastes into a bento box, a salad, or a wrap. Here, our favorite ways to think outside the lunch box - from DIY bento box lunch ideas to fun salads and wraps:


box yourself in


The term "bento box" translates from Japanese to mean "boxed lunch" and no one does it better. Often times, you'll find takeout bento box options at restaurants, but it's just as easy to make your own at home and send it in your kid's packed school lunch.

What You'll Need:

If you don't have one, here's how you can make one of your own:

How You'll Do It:

  1. The bento box has a very distinct 4: 2: 1: 1 ratio, which means four parts carbs like rice or pasta, two parts protein like grilled chicken or leftover fajita beef, one part veggies and one part "dessert" or fruits.
  2. When you're considering what to pack in your child's bento box remember two things. First, the Bento Box always has a striking visual impact so choose bold colors like yellow squash, green zucchini, orange bell peppers, and rosy tomatoes as your ingredients. Second, you want to make sure that the combinations you craft taste good with one another. Think like a chef and toss in ingredients you often find with one another on a menu.
  3. It's especially important if you've DIY-ed your bento box to pack items tightly so they don't shift in your kiddo's lunchbox on the bus ride to school. Start by putting in about 3/4 cup to 1 cup of rice or pasta (it's completely ok to opt for brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta). Move on to proteins adding things like chicken, tofu, eggs, or beef to the box. This should take up about 1/4 of the space. Next up: fruits and veggies which you can think of as accessories to dress up your carb + protein combo.
  4. Where do those silicone containers come in? If you’re including a dipping sauce or a dressing, use them to keep wet ingredients from soaking into dry ingredients.
  5. If you do the prep work on Sunday — cut veggies, steam rice, and plan to have protein leftovers — you can compile your Bento Box in under 10 minutes.
  6. Make sure to include an ice pack in your lunch to keep foods cool until the lunch bell rings.

Go Ahead, Get Bento-utta Shape
Here, our favorite bento combinations save time and get you out of the door in the morning.

  • Rice + Grilled Chicken + Snap Peas + Strawberries
  • Mac & Cheese + Ground beef + Salad Mix + H-E-Buddy Apple Slices and dipping sauce
  • Quinoa + Turkey + Squash and Zucchini + Oranges
  • Rice + Chicken Teriyaki + Edamame + Fruit Salad
  • Multigrain Pasta + Chicken + Broccoli + Mangos


incognito salads


When you're a kid in the lunchroom, opening your lunchbox to find a salad can be as disappointing as missing recess — until now! While a leafy bed of greens might be the lunch of choice for health-conscious adults, kids might need a little coaxing to feel the same way. Luckily, it's easy to turns salads into incognito wrap and noodle dishes galore. We've got a complete guide to no-fail, kid-friendly salads and ways to make them the talk of the lunchroom.


Taco Salad Wrap

The Taco Salad Wrap
An easy way to think about what you might need to compose your taco salad wraps is to deconstruct your favorite taco recipe item by item. If you like ground beef in place of fajita chicken, use that instead. Prefer tomatoes over pico? No sweat. To get you started, we've compiled a few of our favorite ingredients here.

What You'll Need:

  • Fresh Lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Corn
  • H-E-B Pre-Made Pico de Gallo
  • Fajita Chicken or Beef
  • Black Beans
  • Cheese

How You'll Do It:

  1. Toss together the cut-up ingredients like you would for any salad that you make. If you use a dressing, you'll want to make sure that you only lightly toss it in so that the lettuce and veggies stay crisp.
  2. Once your salad is tossed, lay it out on a big cutting board. Using a large knife, carefully chop up ingredients into even smaller pieces until they look well combined.
  3. Opt for a whole wheat wrap to encase your taco salad creation. It's a smart choice in place of tortilla chips and is oh-so-tasty!

Need some inspiration? Head over to our recipes to find ways to make traditional, southwest, or grilled chicken taco salads

Asian Ramen Noodle Salad

Ramen Noodle Salad
If you want to pack lots of veggies with some powerful carbs, try this tasty Asian recipe. Your kiddos will feel like a million bucks when they see a takeout-inspired dish in their lunchbox! One of the ways to make this recipe extra healthy is to put the emphasis on the veggies, rather than the complex carbs, but by adding the slurp-worthy noodles, they'll hardly notice! Try these and other pasta-salad recipes from H-E-B for quick and easy lunchbox inspiration!

Lunch is covered. But what about the most important meal of the day? Check out HEB's easy breakfast ideas while you're here.

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