The new school year is approaching and friends and family have reached out to get my opinion on choosing a lunch box and lunch ideas. Last year our first son started kindergarten and after lots of research I knew I wanted a bento style lunch box.
I thought I would share in a blog series why I like the bento style lunch boxes (both personally and professionally) and provide the top contenders in my decision making process (see my follow up post next week!).
“Will My Child Eat Enough at School?”
No doubt this is your number one concern if you are reading this post. Today you will find the answers (and relief) to this question and learn why I have been suggesting the bento style boxes to parents of clients, friends and family.
First let’s picture what lunchtime may look like…
A classroom of 25 kids at tables all loudly talking and laughing with distractions everywhere. Your child, maybe one of many, could be waiting for their teacher or a lunchroom monitor to help them open containers/wrappers of their food, other kids getting up and putting their wrappers in the garbage, some kids using the bathroom. Maybe they will be people- watching or talking to their neighbours and then the bell rings.
15 to 25 minutes have passed and lunchtime is finished. In the beginning of the school year, when everything is new and the kids are learning the rules and routines, it is even CRAZIER (especially in kindergarten!)
I can remember what lunchtime was like as a kid and it still seems a little overwhelming to me. The Bento-style boxes that are available now help to manage many of the barriers noted above by encouraging food intake by making food more accessible, increasing exposure to new foods (exposure leads to acceptance) and promotes a balance of foods being offered. The food is highly visible and easily accessed.
Top 3 Reasons Why I love Bento Boxes:
Makes Packing Lunch Easier.
Packing lunches is easer when you only have to pack one container and to choose food that fits into each compartment. Most bento boxes come with 3-5 compartments, which encourages a variety of foods like a starch, protein, vegetables, fruit and dairy. If you are ahead of the game and pack lunches the night before there is only one large container, a drink and maybe an extra snack container to pack in their lunch bag in the morning instead of multiple containers (less to forget and lose!).
Bento boxes help to decrease food waste by encouraging smaller portion sizes more appropriate for smaller appetites. The compartment design also encourages a litter-less lunch (some schools now implement this policy) by having food ready to eat with no baggies or wrappers. With food out of packages you can also buy some foods in bulk (think yogurt) that can save your family money. Win Win
Let’s compare a bento box to multiple lunch containers
A bento box has one lid and all their food is ready to eat and easily accessible (not difficult to open). There are no wrappers, only 1 container to open, less spills and a variety of food choices. Your child can choose what they want to eat and when or eat a little bit of this and that.
Bento boxes also offer the opportunity to provide an appropriate portion of a favourite food with exposure to new or less-favourite foods in smaller, less overwhelming portions.
A bento box is great for picky eaters, big and small appetites, slow eaters, easily distracted and overly chatty kids too. They really help to reduce the barriers and time constraints of eating at school and are economical. Once you start using them for your child many adults want one too!
Wondering which Bento is the right choice for your child. Stay tuned because my next post will be discussing the most popular Bento boxes available on the market. As an added bonus I will be comparing the benefits and What I Like specifically about each one!