This post is the second installment in my series of lunchbox roundups that features different types of lunchboxes I pack for my daughters and post almost daily on my Pinterest and Facebook pages.  Because there are so many different varieties of rice and grains readily available today, there are a multitude of ways to incorporate these hearty foods into your child’s lunchbox.

When packing lunchboxes, I always try to include three types of foods:

  1. Grow food (protein+starch)
  2. Vegetables
  3. Fruit and/or dairy

I also usually include a small serving of a sweet treat, to round out the meal. I am also a big proponent of packing a small serving of a less liked or new food into your child’s lunchbox from time to time. This way, they get one more opportunity to learn to like something new!

Here are some of the earlier lunchbox-themed posts that you may find useful:

The Art and Science of Packing a Lunchbox

Lunchbox safety

Involving kids in lunchbox preparation

Sample lunchbox menus

Grain and pasta salad recipes

Pasta and Noodle Lunchbox Roundup


When I include rice in my daughters’ lunchboxes, I typically choose brown over white rice.  Brown rice is a great way for my daughters to get whole grains into their diet–a 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice equals one whole-grain serving.  It also contains more protein, magnesium, selenium, and fiber than enriched white rice.

Having a tough time getting your child to switch from white to brown rice?  Start introducing brown rice into your child’s diet gradually by mixing white with brown rice.  Another option is to mix brown rice with wild rice.  Wild rice has a nuttier flavor and contains more protein than both white and brown rice.  In my daughters’ lunchboxes, I often serve wild/brown rice with fresh salmon or beans and vegetables.

I use quinoa in a variety of dishes at home, but I like to pair it with canned tuna fish or salmon and vegetables for my daughters’ lunchboxes. Most notably, quinoa has the highest protein content of any grain and contains all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein.  Quinoa is also gluten-free and is a good source of magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous.

Here are several rice and grain lunchboxes (including pictures and ingredients) I have made for my daughters in the past.

Lunchbox #1

April 25th_annotated_small-1

  • Lunchbox #1 Ingredients
  • Rice and beans
  • Cucumbers, celery, and tomato
  • Oranges
  • Corn bread


Lunchbox #2

April 17th-1

  • Lunchbox #2 Ingredients
  • Brown rice
  • Smoked salmon
  • Mango and strawberries
  • Edamame and carrots
  • A few chocolate chips


 Lunchbox #3

May 9 2012-1

  • Lunchbox #3 Ingredients
  • Turkey-mushroom meatballs with quinoa
  • Edamame
  • Cherries
  • A granola bar


Lunchbox #4 

June 4-1

  • Lunchbox #4 Ingredients
  • Leftovers for lunch – fried rice with egg, green peas and yellow squash
  • Olives
  • Grapes
  • Cookies


Lunchbox #5

May 11-1

  • Lunchbox #5 Ingredients
  • Wild+brown rice with roasted salmon
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Grapes and dried mango


Lunchbox #6

May 21-1

  • Lunchbox #6 Ingredients
  • Mushroom risotto leftovers
  • Kale chips
  • Strawberries
  • Farmers’ Market apple cider doughnut


Lunchbox #7

March 11_small-1

  • Lunchbox #7 Ingredients
  • Black bean, wild rice and green beans salad
  • Chia seeds pudding with almond milk
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes and carrots


Lunchbox #8 

January 24_small-1

  • Lunchbox #8 Ingredients
  • Quinoa/canned tuna/edamame/tomato salad
  • Quail eggs and celery
  • Frozen cherries with fresh mango
  • Dark chocolate


Lunchbox #9

April 9th_annotated_small

  • Lunchbox #9 Ingredients
  • Lentil salad (French lentils, tomatoes and steamed green beans with some olive oil + salt)
  • Celery and oranges
  • Almond chocolate pudding (from Whole Foods)


Lunchbox #10

February 27_small-1

  • Lunchbox #10 Ingredients 
  • Quinoa, grilled salmon, carrots and edamame salad
  • Celery
  • Wholegrain crackers
  • Grapes and clementines


Lunchbox #11 

February 4_small-1

  • Lunchbox #11 Ingredients 
  • Wheat berry, sausage and carrot salad
  • Spinach with miso dressing
  • Cantaloupe and clementines
  • Homemade crepes with chocolate filling (Sunday brunch leftovers)


Lunchbox #12

April 3rd_small

  • Lunchbox #12 Ingredients 
  • Quinoa, tuna and green bean salad
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapes and strawberries
  • Mini marshmallows with dark chocolate chips


Lunchbox #13 

March 4_small

  • Lunchbox #13 Ingredients 
  • Roasted chicken, quinoa and broccoli tossed with vinaigrette
  • Half a crepe with strawberry puree
  • Hummus with carrots
  • Clementines and pomegranate seeds
  • Dark chocolate chips


Lunchbox #14

February 21

  • Lunchbox #14 Ingredients
  • Wild salmon/cous cous/green bean salad
  • Carrot/red pepper flowers
  • Blue tortilla chips with hummus
  • Blueberries and a gummy heart


Lunchbox #15

February 13_small

  • Lunchbox #15 Ingredients 
  • Grilled salmon+broccoli+rice salad
  • Tomatoes and carrots
  • Hummus and purple corn tortilla chips
  • Clementines and dried apricots


Lunchbox #16

NOvember 17-1

  • Lunchbox #16 Ingredients
  • Leftover salmon and brown rice (my kids eat them cold)
  • Homemade pumpkin muffin
  • Grapes and yogurt


Lunchbox #17

October 22

  • Lunchbox #17 Ingredients 
  • Left over grilled salmon with quinoa
  • Edamame with a little soy sauce
  • Clementine pieces
  • A granola bar


Lunchbox #18

October 26

  • Lunchbox #18 Ingredients
  • Mushroom risotto balls (dinner leftovers, shaped with wet hands)
  • Edamame
  • Blueberry pancakes leftovers from breakfast
  • A clementine


Lunchbox #19

September 25

  • Lunchbox #19 Ingredients
  • Chicken with rice and carrots in a thermos
  • Clementines with a funny face I made with a sharpie
  • Carrot “coins” and a special treat – sweet kefir drink


Lunchbox #20

May 31

  • Lunchbox #20 Ingredients:
  • Black bean puree with quinoa
  • Ham and bread flower
  • Carrots, hummus and kiwi


Lunchbox #21

April 26 - Huynsuk-1

  • Lunchbox #21 Ingredients:
  • My friend Hyunsuk sent me this wonderful picture of her daughter’s lunchbox:
  • Korean rice balls with Korean toasted seaweed and sesame
  • Watermelon & strawberries
  • A piece of brownie and boiled egg
  • Three little gummy bears


Lunchbox #22


  • Lunchbox #22 Ingredients:
  • Brown rice/salmon/broccoli salad
  • Grapes, tomatoes and carrots
  • 1/2 choc muffin and dark chocolate


Lunchbox #23


  • Lunchbox #23 Ingredients:
  • Slow-cooker black beans, with chopped garlic, onion, cumin, and rice
  • Grapes and carrots
  • Granola bar


Lunchbox #24


  • Lunchbox #24
  • Brown rice with canned tuna
  • Grapes, guacamole, corn chips
  • Leftover halloween candy.


Lunchbox #25


  • Lunchbox #25
  •  Mushroom risotto
  • Carrots with hummus
  • Grapes, pomegranate, and an oreo cookie.


Lunchbox #26


  • Lunchbox #26
  • Brown rice and canned beans (heated) in thermos
  • Grapes, steamed broccoli leftovers and graham cookies


Stay tuned for more lunchbox round-ups! 

Tell me what is your child’s favorite lunchbox item?