WHY EVERYONE SHOULD BENTO!
So why all the fuss over bento lunchboxes? What's so good about them that has people so excited? There are numerous benefits for both adults and kids.
First off they're great for balancing our food intake. Whether you're a healthy eater already and want to keep track of portions, or you've the desire to become a healthy eater, bento style lunchboxes are perfect for both portion control and balancing macronutrients. With the individual compartments, it's easier to take a more structured approach to ensuring you have all the necessary food groups covered.
When I pack a lunch box I like to ensure I have sources of healthy fat such as salmon, nuts, olives or avocado, protein such as hard boiled eggs, leftover cold cuts of meat, or coconut yoghurt and of course carbs in the form of lots of leafy and colourful veges!
Children love bento as well! Children can be fussy eaters at the best of time, but bento allows for kids to try new foods, encourages it even. It provides for more variety and makes things look appealing in the process. Presentation is often key as kids are visual!
Another added bonus is that the compartments stop food touching (a common complaint from kids, as we discovered from our last Facebook promotion!) and the Kiwi Box doesn't leak between compartments, which means food is separated and those soggy crackers are a thing of the past!
Back to the more adult benefits, bento means money saving! With a bento style, you've got the ability to buy in bulk and portion out individual serves of food such as yoghurt, nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc. There's no more need to rely on individually wrapped (often poorly portioned) food items, that cost significantly more.
As well as costing less, bento means less waste! So for all those who want to do their bit for the environment, bento is amazing for completely removing the need for plastic wrap, commercial packaging and snack packs from your life completely. Again this in itself is cost cutting on the grocery bill! Double win!
TIPS ON HOW TO PRACTICALLY PACK A BENTO LUNCH BOX
So now on to the practical side. How do you actually pack a nutrient dense bento you ask?
My advice is to start with a food item from each macronutrient group and then add from there.
For example, you may have had meatballs for dinner the night before, so a few of these will be your protein source (or left over roast chicken, drumsticks, rolled ham etc).
Next you add some healthy fat, which could perhaps be avocado slices or some raw mixed nuts or cubes of cheese (also adds protein).
Then the healthy carbs ie. veges such as some homemade vege 'chips' or starchy roast veges, salad ingredients, celery and carrot sticks or to make it fun you might spiralise a zucchini for 'noodles'.
Next come the added extras. Depending on your taste buds or your child's palate and their developmental age, you could pack some hard boiled eggs, brazil nuts, cubed cheddar or feta, slices of avocado, coconut yoghurt, olives, cherry tomatoes, fresh berries, apples slices with almond butter, fruit kebabs, sauerkraut, gelatin gummie lollies, dark chocolate or even a sweet treat such as a slice of baked loaf, slice, brownie or bliss ball (sugar free and grain free preferably!). Options are endless.
There are some amazing creative ways to make lunch boxes fun and make lunchtimes a thing to look forward to.
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