School Lunch: Think Inside the Box

April 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

By Jennifer Jordan

 

Are you hitting the school lunch doldrums? Do you hope that your picky eater will eat at least one thing you pack? Or, do you just want to try something different? Think inside the box—the bento box!  The bento box is a Japanese-style lunch box that has gained recent popularity. Bento containers can house a variety of items, which may appeal to a picky eater. The beauty of these little boxes is that they are reusable and less wasteful than plastic baggies or disposable packages.  They also make a great way to use leftovers.

 

My family discovered bento boxes in order to suit our six year old, who wants a salad or yogurt, hummus, raw vegetables and pita bread every day.  These foods are not as easy to fit into a standard-sized lunch box as they might seem. After a month of searching for the ideal solution last spring, we hit the jackpot with the bento-style lunch.  We fit two small containers housing hummus and vegetables inside our daughter’s lunch box with her other foods.

 

At the start of this school year, our daughter graduated to a five-compartment, non-toxicstainless steel container called the Planetbox. We love the easy maintenance and sustainability of using just one container.  Bento boxes also allow you to keep lunches more economical by buying larger quantities of food instead of individual serving sizes.  There are various bento-style options available.  You can buy a pre-made set (Amazon.com has a good selection) or repurpose containers you already own that will fit your child’s lunch box.  However you choose, you can get very creative with small containers.   Turn last night’s pasta into a cold salad with cut-up veggies and dressing.  Mix some fresh fruit or granola into yogurt.  If you are looking to spice things up in your child’s lunch, try bento boxes!

 

Satisfying Ideas for Bento Boxes

 

Rolled up sandwiches or wraps Mini bagels with peanut butter

Steamed vegetables Hummus and pita bread

Fruit salad Pudding

Cubed cheese & fruit on toothpicks Hard-boiled eggs

Pasta and bean salads Raw veggies and dip

Yogurt Cheese and crackers

 

Where to Buy:

 

www.planetbox.com

$59.95 (for the lunch box shown)

 

www.amazon.com

Has numerous bento-style lunch boxes that range in price beginning at $9.99.

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