Life Lesson for Mommy #146:

lunchbox

Bento Lunches!

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!

The first bento I made for my daughter!
The first bento I made for my daughter!

 

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!

Eat me, I'm yummy!! >_<
Eat me, I’m yummy!! >_<

 

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

Cute details with seaweed and toothpicks!
Cute details with seaweed and toothpicks!


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 😉

Good Luck!
😀

Life Lesson for Mommy #10:

Routines.

You might be tempted to give your toddler the freedom to wake up whenever they want and do whatever they want when they want. But as I learned very painfully, that they crave routines!

Structured days, structured activities and structured lives is what they want and it is so good for them. It’s important to give them creative freedom, and mental freedom is also essential, but you must have a good routine in place. This will keep their lives in order, and their behavior from being all over the place.

For example, when they wake up, when they get their naps, when they sleep at night- those are the important things to have it routines.

Everything else in between those is flexible, but having a time for reading, a time for watching a tv or playing a computer game, learning an instrument should be also be at a specific time- so they get used to it like they would have to at preschool or kindergarten.  And of course don’t go overboard, if you’re late 20 minutes to give your toddler reading time, it’s no big deal, let them be in some control of what they want to do. What they want to read, what they want to draw or colour, how they want to play with their toys; that’s all them, let them express and imagine.

So if you don’t already have one, start a routine.

Of course things change. Sometimes we go out, sometimes she goes to the park or mall so we don’t always do everything on time and perfectly. We are flexible with our lives because our toddler is not a robot and she’s expressive and full of energy- and of course life happens 🙂

The key is to create structure, let them know what you’re going to do today, or what’s going to happen next so they get an idea of how to plan their day as they grow.

Good Luck
😀