Lunchbox Inspirations for the New School Year

When I was in high school, I remember pining for the hamburgers and french fries in our cafeteria. My parents instead packed me lunches, which was seriously uncool. Now that I have to pack my own lunches, I have a new appreciation for their dedication to health and frugality. Here are some cookbooks I have personally used to get out of my lunchbox rut. And since September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to try some new healthy recipes. Don't forget to pack an encouraging note!

If you've spent any time on the Internet, you've probably seen cute bento boxes with perfectly cut carrot flowers and sandwiches that look like teddy bears. The Just Bento Cookbook (by Makiko Itoh, founder of the Just Bento website) is a more practical guide to lunch, with preparation plans and unique recipes to give any lunchbox extra flair. Try more traditional Japanese flavors like soba noodles and onigiri, or branch out to French and Mediterranean-style bento boxes.

Beating the Lunch Box Blues isn't a cookbook in the traditional sense. Instead, it has lots of ideas for surprising and interesting combinations that make lunch fun. It even suggests dinner recipes that you can repurpose for lunch the next day and interesting themes, like all round food items. Talk about advanced planning!

Written by Katie Sullivan Morford, a mother and dietitian, Best Lunch Box Ever is focused on healthy lunches that taste great. This book focuses on organic, in-season produce and wholesome twists on old lunchbox favorites.

Best Lunch Box Ever is available in other formats.

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