With 'Back to School' decisions looming we thought it was a great time to share a fabulous article written by one of Yumbox's founders Daniella on why a Bento style lunch is so great for kids.
What takes a lot of patience, strategic thinking and planning? Feeding your toddler! It’s tough enough at home, but what about the hours when they are in daycare and preschool where you are not monitoring their eating habits? Packing a bento will take most of the planning and strategy out of the equation...notice patience is still needed! This is a great age. Kids are asserting themselves more and they really want to demonstrate all of their new skills and accomplishments. You probably can’t count the number of times your toddler says “Look what I did” in a day. A bento gives them the autonomy they are seeking when it comes to their meals and choosing what to eat.
If you are new to bentos, you will catch on quickly.
Here are 10 reasons to give bentos a try! (In no particular order).
1. Offers Variety
Toddlers like to eat a variety of foods. They like to pick and choose. Sometimes they are picky because they are disinterested in their options and sometimes just because they feel like it. Opening a bento on their own and finding a variety of yummy treats is likely to bring a big smile to their faces. Compartmentalization means foods are nice and neat, not touching other foods and generally appealing to the eye. An organized lunch with a variety of foods makes food exploration for a toddler easier and a lot of fun.
2. Encourages Healthy Eating Habits
For parents, no matter the age, monitoring your child’s diet is a challenge. Bento lunch packing makes it easier to manage your toddler’s daily nutritional intake. It also helps kids to understand what eating healthy means. What I like about using a bento-style container is that you can pack it for use at home or on-the-go. At this age, kids have a tendency to snack their way through the day. Some may argue that that is not a bad thing as long as the options are healthy, while others will disagree. You know what works best for you on a given day! When at home, consider packing a bento at the start of your day. If you have a snacker, keep taking the same bento box out and offering those healthy foods. If your child is happy to sit and eat a full meal and you’ve already packed your bento, lunch just got a lot easier.
3. Easy to adjust for Just Right Portions
Getting portions right with snack packs or prepared “single servings” may not be right for your child. Snack packs often lead to unhealthy choices, food waste and potential over-feeding. What I like best about a bento is that the leftovers come back. You can see what was eaten and unwanted. You can also gauge how much is too much or too little. If you pack 8 carrots and notice that 3 carrots always come back but that the yogurt was licked clean, your child may be looking for a little more yogurt and fewer carrots. As we all know, their eating habits change all the time depending on preferences or abilities. Maybe your child isn’t the best with crunchy foods yet and would prefer a softer option? What comes back, really tells us a lot.