Bento Boxes – Ideas for Packing a Healthy Lunch!
Bento boxes are rising in popularity as parents try to make healthy and exciting lunches. Bento boxes are traditionally a Japanese invention. They are designed to carry a nutritious, well-balanced meal to school. Our bento boxes come in a variety of different shapes in order to be fun and visually appealing. The compartments allow for a variety of different foods to be packed. Smaller compartments are perfect for items such as crisps and larger compartments are perfect for items such as fruit. Removable plastic dividers eliminate the need for plastic bags or several food containers. This makes them compact which is great for fitting into a school bag!
School lunches should be fun and creative. This encourages children to want to eat the food inside. Our bento boxes will enable lunches to be appealing, balanced and varied. Below are some ideas which may help when packing your bento box.
Four simple points to remember when constructing a Bento Box lunch.
1. It should always contain a portion of foods from each of the five food groups:
Breads, rice, potatoes, pasta – To ensure slow energy release throughout the day.
Fruits and vegetables – For a healthy immune system.
Meat, fish, eggs and beans – For growth and development.
Dairy products – For strong bones and teeth.
Fats and Sugars – Important for growth and development
It is also important that children drink enough fluids throughout the day. A child has a higher proportion of body water than adults. This needs to be maintained. The amount a child needs depends on factors such as their age, height, gender and physical activity. As a general rule, children should aim to drink 6-8 full glasses of fluids per day. It is important to encourage regular drinking. It has been shown that drinking habits continue into adulthood. So regular drinking of the correct fluids encourages lifelong good health.
2. A child’s portion is roughly the amount a child can hold in their hand.
Portion sizes grow along with the child. Large portions can look overwhelming. Pack creatively and introduce a range of interesting textures – crunchy, creamy, savoury and sweet! As a general rule, the size of your child’s palm can be used to determine how much of each food they should have. Children have smaller tummies so it may seem very little to you, but for them it is enough.
3. Involve the children and give them choices.
Children of all ages can help with menu planning, shopping and the preparation of school lunches. Children who feel they have taken part in preparing their lunch will be more likely to eat it. Maybe they can choose which food item goes into each container! Encourage the idea that all foods are healthy in small quantities. Foods which are discouraged can become foods of desire. This can encourage cravings and picky eaters. A great way to encourage involvement could be to get them to measure out food portions. All they need is their hand (see image above)!
4. Make food attractive and visual.
Bento boxes need to look attractive in order to encourage the child to eat the food. Try cutting sandwiches with animal shaped cutters and then surrounding the sandwich with colourful fruits and vegetables. This can go a long way towards making a lunch cute, appealing and something your child would want to eat.
For further bento lunch ideas visit http://pinterest.com/marbar86/bento-box-ideas/ and for menu ideas why not visit http://www.laptoplunches.com/bento-menus/.
Remember a healthy lunch will help a child to stay alert throughout the afternoon. Why not give it a go!