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With the kids in camp this week, I’ve started my back to school lunch box supply shopping earlier than planned. Camp only provides one snack, so we send them with a morning snack and lunch. Over the weekend, we hit Hmart, our fave Asian grocer, to stock upon lunch box snacks.
My kids are moderately adventurous eaters. I encourage them to try new foods by taking them grocery shopping with me. Hmart has a beautiful produce section and fruit is abundant this time of the year. If there’s a new fruit or veg they want to try, we’ll buy a small amount. Some are new to me as well (like the Korean melon below) and turn into a family favorite.
I hope you’ll be inspired to try some of these tasty (and nutritious) foods that we often pack in my Sophia and Jaxson’s school lunches.
Our Favorite Asian Lunch Box Snacks
These gorgeous tropical lychee is sweet, fragrant, and juicy. Just peel the skin off this 2″ round fruit and pop it in your mouth. They’re very light and refreshing. We always buy some when they’re available. You can purchase canned lychee fruit, but it’s not as good. There’s a big pit inside (larger than cherry stone). When I was little, we saved the pits and played games with them (like marbles). Look for lychee that is slightly firm, but not to squishy.
No, these are not aliens from another planet. Rambutan is another tropical fruit. They are related to lychee. The skin has these hair-like spikes that are actually soft. In fact, they’re called chôm chôm in Vietnamese, meaning messy hair. Like the lychee, it has a juicy white flesh. Ripe rambutans that have little to no black forming on the soft tips of the spines.
Korean melons are about the size of large baking potato. It looks like a miniature watermelon that happens to be yellow. Its fragrance reminds me of honeydew or cantaloupe. The flesh is crisp and light, much like a honeydew but not as sweet. Just peel the yellow skin and scoop out the seeds before cutting up into bite sized pieces.
I first learned about Japanese furikake from my sister. There are different types of furikake. The one above contains bonito (dried fish), dried egg, sesame seeds, seaweed, salt and other seasonings. The topping is crunchy, salty and full of umami and turns rice into a flavor and textural explosion. When we have no idea what to make for lunch, we set the timer on our electric rice cooker the night before. Then pack a small container of the the furikake for the kids to add on top right before they eat it.
Amazon sells a furikake variety 8-pack that is a better value than what we buy at Hmart.
Another beloved snack that my sister introduced me to: roasted seaweed sheets. You might have seen the Annie’s brand at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. My kids eat these like potato chips–but they are much more nutritious. They’re naturally gluten free and high in proteen. of If the idea of seaweed sounds weird, just call it nori (Japanese for seaweed). We buy these in bulk from Hmart, but you can also purchase roasted seaweed snacks on Amazon.
I grew up shrimp chips, but this version is my favorite. Most are shaped like sticks, but I love the airy texture of these. I know the idea of shrimp chips sound weird, but I love salty snacks. The kids and I can easily eat an entire bag in one sitting. Shrimp chips are not nutritious at all, but it’s good to treat yourself every now and again.
What are your kids’ favorite lunch box snacks?
Check out my fellow #AsianMomBloggers’ back to school traditions, tips, and resources:
- Maria at Bicultural Mama: 5 Picture Books by Asian American Authors for Back to School Reading
- Phyllis from Napkin Hoarder: Back to School: 5 Tips for Starting a New School
- Stephanie from Frankly, My Dear: Back to School Tips and Tricks
- Thien-Kim at I’m Not the Nanny: Our Fave Asian Lunch Box Snacks