Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lunch - Bento Style

This week I have been totally inspired by Ang, my friend who also blogs over at Jolinta Jotter. She has been posting about the new back-to-school lunch trick she is using to improve the nutrition of her kids' lunches, and to make eating exciting! (She can also remodel a bathroom, build a cute bed from scratch, kick butt in the gym, and is a photographer. So when she starts a new project, I usually listen closely. I can't even begin to remodel a bathroom, but when it comes to food, I might be able to learn something!)

Bento, or obento, is Japanese for a boxed lunch - literally, a lunch served in a box. There are all kinds - very elaborate fancy-pants meals, picnic meals, and super-creative meals usually involving making cute things for kids.

This kind is much simpler - just a boxed lunch, really. Part of the point is to serve smaller portions of more things. The main goal is to up the nutritional value of what we are eating. Smaller portions gives the chance for greater variety. Smaller portions means you can slip something unusual in there, and since there is just a little bit, maybe it will get eaten (or at least, tasted). Think more color and less processed items.

I have started looking around, and there are so many sites to learn more about bento lunches, and to get great ideas. I am excited about this new way of thinking about lunch. It will take a while to learn more, but it will be worth it! The boys are super-excited, too! They love the whole approach. Every bento feels feels a little like a buffet - so many choices!

While we homeschool, we are not always at home. I hope to use bento lunches for our coop days, among other things.

I purchased some Ziploc Fresh Portions On the Go containers. They have one large compartment, one small one, and one medium. I also bought paper muffin liners to help hold smaller items, like raisins or nuts.

For our lego meeting tomorrow, the kids all have to bring a lunch. Although it is at my house, I will not have time to prepare lunch at noon, so I did it tonight. All I have to do is whip them out tomorrow!

I started with deli ham and a slice of cheese in a tortilla. I rolled it up and cut it into 4 smaller sections.One serving of grapes went into the medium section. The small section is filled with yellow pepper, a few slices of cucumber (we will see if those get eaten), and a few grape tomatoes. I did put in some Oreo Cakesters this time. Cookie Boy, the vegetarian, and the Mad Toddler each have a similar box, but they got peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches cut with cookie cutters into fun shapes.

Obviously, this one is not terribly creative. Just a basic lunch. The other night after Highland dance class, the Young Adult was starving, so I served him a bento-style dinner. I presented him with 6 muffin liners. One had yogurt, one had raw orange peppers, one had spinach leaves, one had pizza rolls, one had grapes, and one had two small cookies.

Here are some more great places to look and get inspired. Every site can have a slightly different philosophy or take on it. Like anything else, read, absorb, and make it your own!
Just Bento
Lunch in a Box
LapTop Lunches


Judy said...

I was just looking at these the other day - this lady has way too much fun designing lunches for her kids LOL

Ang said...

Hey now, listen here, that was very creative of you! Great job and I am so happy that little ol' me actually inpired someone! Great job!! I bet the kids LOVE it!

Anonymous said...

That's what we took to school 30 years ago when I was little: a sandwich, some veggies, a fruit, a yoghurt, sometimes a little sweet.
(Only we did not have plastic boxes, but wrapped the sandwich in butcher paper)
Amazing how old fashioned things make a comeback as something brand new :-)