Bento Box Bliss Part Two

Balanced Bento Box = Lunch Time Bliss

Or in my world it does! A few months ago, I shared my tips and tricks for building a better bento box from the inside out. Having a non-toxic, multi-purpose bento box is an essential addition for busy days when a traditional meal is not feasible. Do you remember the formula? 

  • Start with some V (vegetable)
  • Add a P (protein)
  • Follow with an F (fat)
  • And finish with C (carbohydrate)

Before we move forward; I need to address something. There is a common misconception that because I’m a Registered Dietitian and because I teach the importance of balanced blood sugar that I simply don’t consume or allow for sugar. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In the clinic, I actually see that my patients begin to eat more treats, have more diet diversity and feel confident in their choices with a strong education as their foundation.  

But of course, when I head out to get a scoop of gelato or a warm cookie with friends, I am looking for swaps that don’t contain inflammatory oils, outrageous amounts of sugar and sugar alcohols that could cause damage to the lining of my gut. shelf stable treats that we throw into lunch boxes are full of ingredients linked to poor blood sugar and an increased risk of diabetes. Even the treats that pose as”better for you” are ridden with harmful ingredients. A Fiber One brownie? Yeah, sure, it has 6g of fiber and is less calorie than the original, but have you ever taken a glance at the ingredients? Two different inflammatory oils, six different sweeteners and bleached flour. You’re better off eating the real brownie.We can even modify the effect it has on your blood sugar with our tried and true balanced bento box method!

Do you pack lunch for the whole household? If you do, kudos to you, your family appreciates it! But don’t put your own lunch on the back-burner due to lack of time or supplies. Your lunch shouldn’t be complicated or filled with foods that don’t keep you feeling energized all day long. Bento boxes make it easy to check off the good-food to-do list; with each nutrient having its own little nook with a partner to pair it with. Prioritize the veggies and protein first, but save plenty of room for carbohydrates and fat. This could include crackers with cheese, toast with peanut butter or even sweet potato chips and guac. But, if you’re looking for something perhaps on the sweeter side, I recommend you take a look into Otto’s Naturals Grain-Free and Gluten-Free products. 

ottos bento box

I discovered Otto’s when I was looking for a starch replacement for summer baking recipes! Admittedly, I’m a little embarrassed at how long it took me to find cassava flour, considering what a popular swap it is in the celiac community. Cassava flour, the main ingredient in Otto’s products, is a dried and ground form of the yuca root. Cassava (or Yuca) flour is naturally gluten-free and grain-free making it an excellent option for the allergen community or anyone following AIP, paleo, or simply looking for a nutrient-dense alternative to whole wheat flour.  Fortunately, cassava flour works as a 1:1 alternative to traditional white flour by weight, making the chance of a pinterest-fail very low. Plus, in comparison to white flour, cassava flour actually contains a small percentage of potassium, fiber and calcium!

While I love cooking with Otto’s cassava flour (these grain-free chicken tenders, are a dinner favorite) I’m an even bigger fan of their cookie and brownie mixes. Both mixes are non-GMO, organic, nut-free and of course, grain and gluten free. The mixes are made with organic cane sugar and contain only ~ 8-9g of sugar per serving. My secret ingredient when I bake with Otto’s? I swap the butter for half coconut oil, half nut butter. I also add in some chopped nuts for additional healthy fats and crunch. Instead of binging on peanut butter or calling a granola bar “dessert” Otto’s cookies and brownies make for a better lunch box treat. 

You can find Otto’s at Whole Foods, Central Market, Sprout’s and Natural Grocer in the baking aisle among the allergen-friendly options. Looking for some other dietitian approved lunchtime sweet treats? Try a few of these gut-healthy choices when you don’t feel like baking.

  • Simple Mills Sweet Thins made with seed flour
  • Dalci brownies made with probiotic and prebiotic ingredients. 
  • Trupo vegan chocolate made with heart healthy coconut milk. 


Whether you call it a mini charcuterie or call it an adult Lunchable, keep it balanced with our bento box formula! Need nutrient-rich ideas for your Bento Box? Schedule a virtual grocery tour to improve your grocery shopping habits and ensure lunch has the most nourishing of options!

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