Making creative lunches and snacks for your children, does not need to be complicated or time consuming and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Creating a bento style lunchbox has quickly become a healthy, fun way to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five groups every day.
What you can use to create fun lunches with items you may already have in your house:
Lunchboxes: There are so many different lunchboxes out there, in-store and online. One with compartments or two or three tiered are great, because you then don’t have to use silicone cups to separate the lunch. Plus it is always a surprise to the child to open up and see what they have today!
Plastic containers: Use these to as lunchboxes – put a silicone cup (or patty pans) inside to use as dividers.
Muffin Trays: Instead of using lunchboxes or plates at home, why not put lunch in a 6 muffin pan tray – pick and mix style!
Food Picks: Can be used instead of forks to in fruit salads, or to be used as a mini fruit/meat kebab stick.
Silicone Cups: Can be used in a container to separate food (sandwich, fruit, trail mix, cheese, meat, sauces).
Cookie Cutters: Can be used to create bite size food from sandwiches, cheese, meat and fruit, or put down on the plate and use it to squeeze a patterned of sauce for dipping.
Sandwich Cutters and Stamp Sets: These are larger than cookie cutters and usually take the whole slice of bread. The different shapes you get can be the basis of inspiration for the rest of the lunch – fairies, dinosaurs, shapes, stars, holiday themed.
Chopsticks: For noodles, rice (especially rice balls) or even sandwiches cut into small pieces– your child will have great fun playing with these and develop their minor motor skills.
Having on hand a list of items they can have for snacks is always a good idea, they are also good for the school lunchbox or to take on picnics or to the park.
From the Freezer:
Pikelets (great for freezing in bags for 6)
Muffins – Sweet and Savoury – Big or Mini
Mini Veggie Frittatas
Frozen Fruit Pops (kiwi fruit, banana, grapes)
Cookie Dough – in a log – so easy to take out and cut up and pop in the oven!
Cheese and Bacon Scrolls
From the Fridge:
Hard Boiled Eggs ( can last hard boiled in their shell or in a mold for up to 5 days)
Dips (use with vegetables made into sticks)
Snowpeas/Sugar Snap Peas
Yoghurt (As dip with Fruit made into sticks)
Grapes (pre-frozen in the Summer months)
Deli Meats (Ham, Chicken, Salami, Sausage)
From the Cupboard:
Muesli Bars (make your own)
Trail Mix (Cereal, Nuts, Raisins, Popcorn, Mini Pretzels – you can add anything)
Popcorn (air popped popcorn is so healthy, and make your own caramel popcorn, or sweet and spicy popcorn)
Sweet biscuits (like tic tocs or teddy bears)
Various Muffin Flavours:
Lemon and Raspberry
Banana and Weetabix
Pumpkin Choc Chip
Breakfast Style (Egg, Bacon, Red Pepper, Onion, Spinach)
Banana and Bran
Tomato and Cream Corn
Oats and Apple Puree
Carrot and Apple
Spinach and Bacon
Blueberry and Maple
Berry and Mango
Banana and Yoghurt
Written by Yvette Bowyer – Owner of Little Bento World. Yvette began making Bento style lunches for her daughter three years ago when she noticed that separating the foods helped her daughter eat more than just a nibble of a sandwich. From there she opened up Little Bento Shop where she now sells lunchboxes, sandwich cutters, reusable pouches and food accessories to help encourage healthy eating.
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