My daughter has always been pretty good with food. But in the last year, since she started preschool, it’s been hard to get her to eat everything on her plate. Sometimes she just doesn’t want to eat, which is fine I don’t force her. But other times, she just doesn’t want to eat what I made and insists on eating something like ‘fries and pizza’. I do make healthy pizza with small bits of green bell peppers, onions, loaded with garlic in the sauce and even olives, but I can’t make pizza every night. I had to think of a way to get her to eat her meals, good healthy meals that encourage her to try the food even if it’s not pizza and fries.
Then I discovered the bento lunch! It’s a concept in a lot of countries, China, Japan, India to name a few! But Japan’s bento for children is especially wonderful! It’s cute little food characters, appetizing arrangements and tons of colours and textures! I thought this might be it, this might help her to feel excited. And that’s just what happened! She was excited to show her friends her bento, and excited to eat it!
Food should be excited and appetizing! With awesome idea’s on pinterest and selection of different tools and tricks to help you make them, these bento’s are easy and fun to make and eat! I honestly find it relaxing to craft these bento’s for her because it got my creative juices flowing, and with awesome recipes online, it’s made packing her lunches easier then ever! It doesn’t take a ton of time as one might think.
Above is left over thin crust pizza I made with green bell peppers and pineapple and cheese, with baby carrots and cut up pieces of peach. That was my first time making one. Now I do more complicated stuff, rice stuffed inside with chicken, cheese, eggs, and whole slew of amazing stuff!
You can go on pinterest and see tons of great idea’s and recipes to make healthy lunches. Use leftovers from the night before and just revamp ’em to make cute, healthy and wonderful bento’s!
Some tips I recommend!
1) Use stainless steal, not plastic.
I’m not like a plastic nazi, but if you want to pack hot lunches, then go stainless steal. I got this one for my daughter and this one for me.
I didn’t like the Hello Kitty one to be honest. Because it’s not already sectioned into compartments like the one I got for myself. I have to use cup cake liners to make the compartments- it is cute but I prefer it to be sectioned. I love mine, because it’s perfectly portioned and is great for if you want to stick to a diet! Also encourages you to pack a wide variety of fruits and veggies, and side dishes for a more complete and balanced meal.
2) Make awesome details!
Use small cookie cutters, bread molds and rice molds to make beautiful details! It doesn’t have to be fancy, if you have dollar store near you or better yet a Daiso store, it’s pretty affordable at 2 bucks a package. Or you can always try ebay or amazon. Tons of options here
3) Use your leftovers.
Set aside a small portion of whatever you make for dinner to make your bento’s. It makes life a little easier. Made meat and potatoes last night? No problem, cut up the meat into cubes or pieces, cut up the potatoes, add some fun shaped pieces of cheese, carrots, broccoli florets. Cut up some fruit into cute shapes and BAM BENTO done!
4) Don’t throw the scrapes!
After you’ve cut your cheese, fruits or veggies into cute shapes, you always have pieces left. Don’t toss it, just eat it! No guilt at all! I always eat the pieces left over. I cut up some cheese and fruit and then chomp down on the little bits left. Yummers! 🙂
5) Get your kids involved!
Give them slices of cheese and have them cut the pieces out. Got a bread mold, let them press the bread shape. There is always a small job they can do. I have my daughter wash the fruit, or pat the cucumbers dry etc Give them some responsibility for their food.
And have fun! I learned to really appreciate food and relax. It’s creative, fun and healthy- both mentally and physically! You are what you eat and I want my daughter to be cute and healthy 😉