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« Stuffed Asiago Mushrooms - it's Time to Party! | Main | Hard Boiled »

A “Bento” Mentality

By Marilyn Hunter

Let’s face it, making lunch for two boys five days a week can be pure drudgery, for us and for them. The risk is feeding our kids the same uninspired foods, day after day after day, thus creating uninspired eaters.

So in our house, we’ve adopted a “bento mentality.”  We went to a Japanese hardware store and bought reusable bento lunch boxes with snap-on lids. They’re great for portion control, waste reduction and safe eating adventures.

The little compartments inside the bento box provide defined squares to pack different foods.  There’s only room for a small amount of each item, which gives the kids what they want while not allowing one item to dominate their lunch. The boys are willing to try new and unfamiliar things as well, because they know there are only a few bites of each. Their favorites are turkey, cheese, edamame, carrot sticks, lots of fruit, half a sandwich and other crispy, crunchy things.

Our school has a commitment to teaching sustainability with an all-green, “no waste” lunch policy. This means no paper or plastic baggies … only reusable containers, thermoses and cloth napkins are allowed. Since they don’t throw the box away, we get to monitor the leftovers and switch things around if they’re not eating one thing or another.

Hey, we live in LA, so the boys learn something about the environment while eating interesting lunches with a healthy balance of colors, textures and flavors.

Special Fork bloggers blog Monday through Friday. For more recipes and ideas on your smartphone, check us out at Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @specialforksndy.

Reader Comments (10)

That looks awesome!!! Wish you could come make my lunch.

Hey - and could you talk to your God Children.......they could certainly learn a few things from their younger cousins.

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusie Mayes

Hi Marilyn! What a wonderful idea for your children and their lunches. Would love the same for myself. Your children are so lucky to be n this wonderful world of food. Hugs

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJean Darland

Marilyn, how do you keep these chilled with perishable meat in them?

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

This is awesome Marilyn! Your Blog is wonderful and so informative!

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTonya Agenor

Thanks for following Special Fork Tonya!

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

Great question Debbie, thank you! I place a mini blue ice pack inside their lunch boxes. You can usually find these in the camping section of discount stores.

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

Thanks for following our blog Jean!

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

Thanks Susie. I'm sure my godchildren are eating well!

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

Good Morning Marilyn. Think your blog is just wonderful. Do wish I'd known all this great stuff when your husband and our other kids were growing up!

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Hunter

I saw those Bento Boxes being prepared when visiting. Am just thinking those little guys just don't realize how lucky they are. Save these blogs so they can read them someday when they will appreciate them more.

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatsyMcAdam

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