Healthy Kids’ Bento Box: Back to School with Watercress.

Bin the soggy sandwiches and get creative with these wonderful watercress recipes for kids’ lunchboxes. Not only are they simple and speedy to prepare, but they are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals which will give your little ones a much-needed boost throughout the school day.
Healthy Kids’ Bento Box: Back to School with Watercress
It can be a challenge thinking of new and exciting fillings for packed lunches, especially when your children’s favourite foods might not always be the healthiest of options. These yummy watercress recipes will help you to plan tasty, healthy lunches, that are easy to transport and which your kids will love.

Watercress is one of the original superfoods and contains over 50 essential vitamins and minerals; in fact, gram for gram watercress contains more Vitamin C than oranges, more folate than banana, more Vitamin E than broccoli and more calcium than milk. It also contains high levels of iron. This is especially important as more of our youngsters, especially teens, choose to adopt plant-based diets which generally have low iron content.
Healthy Kids’ Bento Box: Back to School with Watercress
Healthy Kids’ Bento Box: Back to School with Watercress
The iron may be in the plant but it’s impossible to absorb, unless Vitamin C is also present to change the iron into the same form as is found in red meat and easily absorbable. As watercress contains high levels of vitamin C it’s the perfect leaf to include in a plant based diet and with 46% of Gen Z girls consuming below the recommended daily intake of iron in the UK1, this is a big tick for Watercress.

But while you’re reviewing your kids’ lunchboxes, it might be worth reviewing your own. Watercress is so easy to add to quick meals; blitz it in a smoothie, wilt into pasta or a stir-fry, warm through in a soup or crunch your way through in a salad.
Healthy Kids’ Bento Box: Back to School with Watercress
Over the next few days, I have some great back to school recipes to share with you. Starting with this Healthy Kids’ Bento Box.

Healthy Kids’ Bento Box: Back to School with Watercress:

Kids will love this cute Japanese-inspired packed lunch that’s both nutritious and colourful!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Makes one lunch box

Ingredients:

  • 2 inch length of cucumber
  • Small handful cherry tomatoes
  • 100g cooked sliced chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • Handful watercress
  • 2 tbsp mixed nuts and seeds
  • Small handful grapes, cut in half
  • 3 strawberries, quartered
  • 50g sushi rice, cooked according to packet instructions
  • 1 tsp sushi vinegar
  • 1 sheet nori seaweed

Equipment Needed:

  • 1 x panda rice mould with nori cutter (or any preferred other shape, available online)
  • 1 x bento box (or use Tupperware)
  • Star or heart shaped cutter

Method:
  1. Take your rice mould and dip the main part of the mould in cold water to help prevent the rice from sticking. Pack the mould full of cooked sushi rice, making double sure that any small, detailed sections such as the ears are well packed. Take the press and dip this in cold water before using to press the rice firmly into the mould, ensuring the rice is packed tightly so that it keeps its shape once turned out. If you do not have a mould you can simply shape the rice into firm balls using wet hands.
  2. Carefully turn the panda shaped rice out of the mould. Take your nori sheet and use the cutter to punch shapes out of it. Use your fingers to carefully position the pieces of nori onto the rice so that it resembles the face of a panda. Refrigerate until needed, up to 24 hours before using.
  3. Slice your cucumber into half centimetre thick round. Take your star or heart shaped cutter and cut a shape from each cucumber round. Take your sliced cooked chicken and toss in the teriyaki sauce until well coated.
  4. Finally assemble your bento box by placing the panda rice, chicken, watercress, cucumber, tomatoes and fruit into the box in a neat and tidy arrangement.

Healthy Kids’ Bento Box: Back to School with Watercress recipe courtesy of Watercress. For more recipe inspiration and to find out more about the health benefits of watercress, visit Watercress.
Healthy Kids’ Bento Box: Back to School with Watercress
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