Toddler “Bento Boxes”

Another toddler food post today.  Honestly, I never realized how much of my time would be consumed with trying to come up with creative ways to get V to eat healthy meals.  And I’m not even talking about “organic, whole grain, GMO-free, kale chip, etc” kind of healthy (although you parents out there who can do it, I am NOT making fun, I am impressed).  I’m talking about eating chicken, vegetables, or even a sandwich rather than macaroni and cheese and goldfish crackers for every meal.  Don’t get me wrong, on the other end of the spectrum I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little mac ‘n cheese every once in awhile, but if V had a choice, it would be all day, every day.  I really just try to aim for balance.  To that end, I have been reading a lot of other blogs that talk about toddler lunch ideas, especially for the days she goes to daycare, and I see a lot about bento boxes.  I think they’re pretty neat.  I think some of them can be intense – I do not have time to make food landscape artwork – but I like that they are supposed to teach food variety and portion control.  Also, especially for a one year old, the right bento box can provide a lot of different foods to choose from.  So with that in mind, I picked out this bento box from Pottery Barn Kids.  I like it because the plastic looks (and is) very durable, its dishwasher safe (YAY!), and it doesn’t have any of the “bad stuff that kids can get from plastics” (BPA).  So I thought I would share some of my meal ideas, in the hope that they will help out someone else in need, and also because the bento box has made it through at least 6 washes so far and has held up very well, which I find impressive.

So here they are.  Since V only goes 2 days a week this represents 2 weeks worth of lunches.

photo (7)Meat and cheese tortilla roll-ups, yogurt pouch, cut up nectarines, veggie straws, shredded cheese, 2 mini blueberry muffins.  I also usually include a fruit and veggie “squeeze pouch” in her bag in case she is still hungry or particularly picky.  V will eat nearly any variety of squeeze pouch.

photo (9)Meat and cheese roll-ups (V prefers these to the tortilla roll-ups), yogurt pouch, gold fish crackers and broccoli chips, grapes (cut in half), carrot chips and ranch dressing.  I put cling wrap over the ranch dressing, and the compartment closes pretty securely.  Have not had reports of leakage yet!

photo (8)Pizza Roll-Up (recipe here), string cheese, yogurt pouch, apple and banana dipped in peanut butter and decorated (see here), veggie straws, raisins, and rolled up lunch meat.  Apparently I thought V was going to be starving on this day!  That’s a lot of food!  It was also after a particularly creative streak for cooking.

photo 4 (7)Meat and cheese roll-ups, goldfish and broccoli chips, shredded cheddar cheese, banana, yogurt pouch, in the closed container is carrot chips and ranch dressing.

So some repetition in the lunches, but still a variety every day, and only 1 compartment per day full of crackers, chips, etc so I think it’s an improvement.  It has made my lunch packing easier in the morning, I only have to come up with 5 different food groups and I know I probably have enough food for the day.

So that’s my daycare lunch packing routine!  Oh, and guess what?!?!  I got the e-mail today…my first Stitch Fix box should be coming on Saturday!  Be prepared for pictures.  I really hope it lives up to expectations!

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