It's so easy to get stuck in a rut for school lunch boxes and snack tea times. We tend to have one hot meal and one snack/finger food type meal a day so we soon run out of ideas and fall back on old favourites.
The principle of Bento style eating is so simple and so rewarding for your children. They get to be more adventurous with food and you receive masses of appreciation for their meals!
Bento is all about presenting food in an appealing manner in small quantities. Perfect for little fussy fingers.
Here are my basic tips for getting started.
- Stock up your cupboards.
- Keep ideas cards like a recipe file so you don't feel pressured to think of something last minute.
- Be creative. Soon they will be too cool for school and silly notes and character or cookie cutter sandwiches. Enjoy this time!
- Keep portions small. Remember one 5 a day portion is equivalent to their fist not yours. Keep amounts of new foods limited too. If they are a success try more next time.
- Don't give up after one day. Remember baby weaning? You are encouraged by health professionals to try giving them the same food over a dozen times before you can safely say they don't like it!
- Presentation is key. Raid your plastic box drawer, find some little pots or invest in some quirky bottles and silicone cups. I bought mine on ebay for under £2!
- Think colour. Would you want to eat a plate of beige? That's what I always think when I look at party food tables. The more colour lunches have, the more attractive they are to little ones!
- Take photos. Children love to feel included in decision making, show them the photos and let them mix and match a few lunch box choices.
- Encourage feedback. I have included blank faces so Sammy can let me know how much he enjoyed it. Fingers crossed for consistent smiley faces!
- Chop on the cautious side. My boys are put off when they see a giant stick of cucumber but when it is cut up into little pieces they wolf it down.
You don't have to buy a specific kit you just need to be adventurous. Raid your storage boxes, your cake making box and use your imagination. Silicone cake cups are perfect as they keep their shape but can be squeezed into tight spaces. I have some animal plastic pots I bought in the local pound shop which make great containers.
At 5 and 3 my boys are no longer babies but the principle of Bento is an adult concept that translates brilliantly for small people hence the name Bento Babies!
I will share my Bento Babies lunch box ideas on the blog and would love to see what you create for your children.
There are some incredible ideas on the internet, you can follow my Pinterest board here, but I know that I do not have time in the morning to craft a Panda out of a Quail's egg! My ideas will be easy to copy and hopefully help your little ones experiment with new foods.
Click on my supplies kit image to see the extent of my obsession!
If you have a product you would like to be featured in a future Bento Babies post, please complete the form below. We love new ideas!