Beating The Lunchbox Blues: Bento-Style Nachos


School will be back in session before we know it. For many parents, that comes with the challenge of packing healthy lunches your kids will actually eat. Say goodbye to boring PB & J sandwiches or pre-packaged sodium-packed lunch kits. A little creativity and some fun packaging make this bento-style nachos recipe a lunch option that kids will love diving into.

You can customize it to your child’s tastes or dietary needs, of course, by substituting ground vegetable protein, lean ground turkey or lean ground beef for ground chicken or swapping the veggie and fruit choices for their favorites.

Bento-Style Nachos

Yield: 2 servings


1 teaspoon canola oil
1/3 pound ground chicken breast
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
6 cherry tomatoes
14 multigrain tortilla chips
1/2 cup grapes
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup sliced cucumber Other supplies:
2 bento-style containers with 3 compartments
4 small silicone cupcake holders


Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add meat and cumin powder, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder. Crumble with a wooden spoon. Cook meat 5 minutes or until browned (165º F).


Nacho Compartment:
1. Place two silicone cupcake holders into the large compartment of each bento container.
2. Place half of the ground chicken into one of the silicone cupcake holders in each bento container.
3. Place 1/4 cup shredded low-fat cheddar into the remaining silicone cupcake holders.
4. Place 3 cherry atop the shredded cheese in each bento container.
5. Place 7 whole grain chips into remaining space in each compartment.

Fruit Compartment:
• Place 1/4 cup grapes, 1/4 cups strawberries and 1/4 cup blueberries into one of the smaller compartments of each bento box.

Vegetable Mix:
• Place 1/4 cup sliced carrots and 1/4 cup sliced cucumbers into the remaining small container of each bento box.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING: 420 Calories; 18 grams Fat; 4 grams Saturated Fat; 70 mg Cholesterol; 370 mg Sodium; 42 grams Carbohydrates; 18 grams Sugar; 7 grams Fiber; 25 grams Protein

Looking for more ideas for healthy eating? Check out our EatWell section for ideas and our special LiveWell Wednesdays recipes and video cooking demos.

Categories: EatWell