Beating the Lunch Box Blues with Yumbox

J.M. Hirsch packs Yumbox with delicious results.

The bento-style approach of the Yumbox lunch box is perfect for kids big and small. Dividing a lunch into lots of smaller options not only ups the appeal of the food, it also breaks it into more manageable portions. Kids are more likely to be overwhelmed by a single large serving than by multiple smaller servings, even if the overall amount of food is the same.

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For my Yumbox lunch, I started with the dairy – low-fat cottage cheese topped with a dollop of no-sugar strawberry jam. Sounds odd? Try it. It will make you – and your kid – think of cheesecake.

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For the grain, I went with graham crackers, a healthy whole-grain cracker (be sure to read the labels) that can be eaten as is, or used for scooping up the cottage cheese and jam.

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Kids love food that comes in funky shapes, so for the fruit I went with star fruit. It’s easy to prep – just slice it – and has a naturally sweet flavor similar to a cross between a red grape and a kiwi.

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For the vegetables and protein, I decided to combine them into a delicious ham and cheese “sandwich.” These stuffed cucumbers are easy to make. Just cut off a 2-inch length of English cucumber, then slice it in half lengthwise. Now use a spoon to scrape out the seeds from each half. Spread a bit of cream cheese into the cavity of each cucumber half, then top with sliced ham (or turkey or chicken), then assemble as a sandwich.

For a treat? How about a mix of dried cherries and mini chocolate chips. Just enough to keep them happy.

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Beating the Lunch Box Blues is an idea book to inspire anyone daunted by the daily ordeal of packing lunch. Jammed with nearly 200 photos and more than 500 tips and meals, this book is designed to save families time, money, and their sanity. We're a fan!

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