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Think Inside The Box: Healthy Bento Boxes

Back to school doesn't have to mean back to boring lunches. Gone are the days of the repetitive soggy turkey and cheese sandwich in a zip-top bag and welcome the more and more popular Bento-box lunch. Cuteness is key when building your Bento box, but getting back to basics is a great way to make healthier food choices, which, can help you meet your goals. Follow these tips to build a healthy Bento box!

1. Focus on fresh. Keep the foods you select as close to natural as possible and try to avoid processed, boxed, packaged "junk" foods.

2. Load up on colorful fruits and vegetables. Aim to fill half of your Bento box with some fruit and/or non-starchy veggies. Cutting them into cute shapes or arranging them in colorful patterns gives you bonus points.

3. Select lean proteins. Think: low-fat poultry or beef, healthy fish like salmon, baked tofu, lentils, beans and hummus.

4. Pick whole grains like whole wheat pasta, bread, crackers. Select brown rice over white rice. Or branch out and try another whole grain like quinoa, wheat berries, barley, amaranth, farro, millet, teff, oatmeal or kamut.

5. If you have dairy, chose low-fat or fat free versions of milk, yogurt and cheese.

There is endless Bento box inspiration online. Websites and Pinterest pages have been dedicated towards the art and nutrition of them. If you're new to Bento box style lunches, check them out to get some ideas. Or if you've been using them for a while, try something new inside to spice it up! We want to know what's inside your Bento box? Take a pic and post it below in the comments section!

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