When you and your child make fun, bento-style lunches together, chances are she'll treasure every bite! Small portions of nutritious foods creatively arranged characterize bento lunches. Children love them! Prep and pack together the night before, or let your child finish packing independently in the morning.
What You Do:
1. Fruit "Flowers": Invite your child to arrange round fruit around edges to form "petals." Next, your child can fill the center: half a mandarin orange, one new potato, a garnish container (with lid) filled with yogurt or peanut butter, one big strawberry. Next, more small fruit can be tucked in (raisins, berries, tangerine wedges) to fill container to the top. Lid should press snugly against top to hold fruit in place.
3. Shapes: Think easy! Handle the first trim yourself to set length, then show your child how to finish. Your can cut your thick melon rectangles smaller into cubes. Your long veggie slices can be cut smaller into sticks. Children love cutting cookie-cutter shapes from your fruit and veggie chunks! Show your child how to make melon ball spheres. Shaped crackers or bread finish the theme.
4. Match-wich: Several stacks of slices, the same shape and size. Squares, triangles and rounds are easy. Once your child can handle a cookie cutter, all kinds of fun, seasonal match-wiches are do-able. Stackable slice foods: jicama, cucumber, summer squash, bread, crackers, cheese, lunchmeat, tofu, hardboiled eggs, apples, melon. Help your child wrap foods individually to assemble on the spot at lunch.
5. Re-use! Interesting food-grade containers are fun for your child to pack and unpack. Slim cylinders (from candy) make a finger-exercising nut holder. Tiny garnish containers from to-go foods are perfectly sized for yogurt, dip and peanut butter (or just one perfect strawberry!). Have your child open and close lid before you pack to make sure she can.