Bento boxes - Make healthy lunch more appealing

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Playground Bureau, Mealtime

Our school lunch menu goes like this: Monday -- pizza and french fries. Tuesday -- hot dog and french fries. Wednesday -- sloppy joe and french fries. To say that I was disappointed to discover this is putting it mildly. Though schools across the nation are slowly starting to offer students more nutritional meals that are far lower in fat and salt content than those listed above, it's a huge system that will take time to overhaul.

The obvious solution is to pack a lunch instead, and many parents have turned to the kid-friendly idea of bento boxes. Bento, which originated in Japan, is a single portion meal consisting of rice, fish or meat, and vegetables, packed in a box in an often visually appealing manner. Though parents can choose foods their kids like to put into their own bento boxes, the idea is to make food fun, finger-friendly, and nutritious.

Parents of younger children can find plenty of inspiration on Mary Mia's (of Do They Have Salsa in China?) Flickr set. Mary has two-year-old twins and spends time experimenting with bento-style meals for her girls. Her results are fun, interesting, and easy for her toddlers to eat.

Kids of all ages, as well as moms and dads too, might like the recipes Biggie has at Lunch in a Box or some of the meal ideas from Laptop Lunches. Other popular sites include Vegan Lunch Box and What's For Lunch at Our House. Don't have time to read and research recipes? Get handy tips from BentoTV instead. And if you're going to give bento boxes a try, try not to miss Biggie's top 10 tips, sure to make your transition go much more smoothly.

Finally, Maggie over at DIY Life has some how-to tips to help you get started. Your kids will look forward to lunch when you use these creative ideas, and you'll have peace of mind that they're getting solid nutrition every day.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.