Whether you’re a first-time school parent or a seasoned school veteran, the lunchbox battle can get the best of anyone.
Nailing that winning formula of tasty treats you know they’ll devour, the good stuff they need and enough to fill them up is tough, especially when you need to magically pull it all together while making brekkies, plaiting hair and reading teachers’ notes that have been smooshed in the bottom of school bags.
So if you’re looking for a way to solve that lunchbox riddle, maybe it’s time to take a tip straight out of Japan that’s filled with goodness and big on YUM!
Embrace the bento
The bento box has a lot more going for it than looking great. It can actually be your secret weapon to increasing the variety of foods your kids are eating, by popping something different in each section.
Five compartments are perfect for ticking the five food groups and the kids won’t even realise it. For them it’s all about the fun and choosing what section to eat first. It’s particularly good for little fusspots who don’t like their foods touching.
For a balanced bento why not try:
- Wholegrain sandwich (grains)
- Grapes, berries or mandarin segments (fruit)
- Cheese cubes or yoghurt (dairy)
- Hummus dip, mini lentil patties and veggie sticks (veggies and protein)
- Bliss ball or mini fruit and grain muffin (wholesome treat)
The small compartments in bento boxes are great for using up leftovers and the odd bits of fruit and veg in the fridge, like those last few strawberries.
Focus on fresh. Try to find in-season fruit and veg. Not only will it save you money, you’ll be getting the produce at its best. Think sweet summer stone fruits or crisp winter apples. The kids will love the taste and the environment wins too—fresh fruit means minimal transport and packaging.
Cut the chopping. A recent Australian study showed kids are likely to eat more veggies when they are given to them whole. For the lunchbox think mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes or whole carrots. Less work and they’ll eat more veggies—we love this!
Be water wise. Every lunchbox needs some liquid and you don’t need to look any further than fresh water. Juices, sports drinks and cordials can often be havens for hidden sugar. Why not try freezing the water with fresh fruit pieces for a cool flavour burst on a hot day?