The bento box is a lunch time lifesaver for a variety of reasons: it provides your child with variety, secures your child's food, and encourages healthy, mindful eating. Here's how it can help:
Charcuterie for the Under 18
Charcuterie has become very popular in the last couple years for a few reasons. Firstly, it is a low-effort and appealing meal, which simply requires you to throw all the things you like to eat on a board and eat it! A well thought out charcuterie encapsulates many nutritional needs including protein, carbs, fats, and fibre. Just because it doesn't look like a complete meal, doesn't mean it isn't! The same rule generally applies to your kid's lunchbox, too. There's crackers, cheese, fruit and a muesli bar or nut bar. Bento boxes make a difference here by helping with storing and protecting food, portioning and grouping paired foods (say, the crackers and the cheese). The bento box can take it a step further though, by including an interactive element.
The New Lunchables
Lunchables is a popular lunch option in America because it imitates the cooking and preparation element of a meal. There are many benefits to this interactive, building element of lunchables including preparing children for the process of "adulting", as well as entertaining the child and creating mindful eating, recognising the ingredients and how they interact. They taste elements individually and as a group to understand their tastes. The bento box can emulate a similar practice, where each section of the box can contain different elements of a building meal. For example, a bento box which contains tortillas in one compartment, lettuce and tomatoes in another and leftover mince, can give your child the opportunity to build their own preferred tacos, mindful of each bite and what they like to eat.
Save Time and Food
The best thing about a bento is that it is perfectly suited for leftovers, whatever they look like. Instead of having to make a cohesive lunch like a sandwich, a salad or a bake, you can use the leftovers from last night's dinner or the last bits of fruit from last week's grocery shop. Further, rather than having to pack a loose lunchbox full of containers which you then have to clean and repack every morning, a bento comes with clear compartments for packing. Leftover chicken strips, the last lot of crackers in the box, some fruit and some pasta. The bento box gets washed in one go and is ready for tomorrow! By packing leftovers and avoiding having to wash a dozen containers, there's more time to spend with your family (or scrolling on your phone — self-care is important, after all!).
Depending on the type of bento box you get, you have many options for making lunchboxes simpler, cheaper, more delicious and interactive for your child. Check out bento boxes that are stainless steel for more secure and safe transportation, or use BPA free plastic or wheat straw plastic to protect the nutrition and safety of your child's food.
P.S This is a great idea for adult lunchboxes too! Make time during lunch to step away from work by mindfully constructing lunch bites.