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Kids’ Creations Bento Lunches

Under-The-Sea Bento Box

Back to school means packing lunches. For parents that means nutritious foods. For kids, well, they like fun! The theme of these Japanese style Bento boxes is dried fruit that can become any variety of creatures or creations.

Snaily Garden Bento Box

It can be debated if food needs to be fun and games to encourage healthy eating. (Read more about a recent competition of Food-Focused Video Games part of  Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.) When my daughters were young, we encouraged age appropriate involvement with family cooking as well as freedom in the kitchen (along with rules for cleaning up) to help them gain cooking confidence and enjoyment in healthful foods. And there’s no substitute for a child’s pride in their own accomplishments in the kitchen. Not to mention being the envy of the school lunch table with their own version of a Bento box!

Does food need to be fun and games for kids to eat right? Leave a comment with what you think.

Original recipes created for Sun-Maid Growers by Rosemary Mark
Photos and styling by Kelly Burgoyne

Print This Recipe
UNDER THE SEA BENTO BOX

‘Fish’ Sandwich
            Sliced white or whole bread
Peanut butter or sliced cheese
Butter or mayonnaise, optional
Natural Raisins and Dried Apricots

Using a potsticker crimper:
Cut bread the diameter of the mold. Place bread round in mold.  Put a teaspoon of peanut butter or a few pieces of cheese in center of the bread; add a few raisins. Press mold firmly closed. Release and remove sandwich. Attach raisin eyes and apricot fin with a dab of peanut butter.

Using a fish or balloon shaped cookie cutter: Cut two pieces of bread and slice of cheese with cutter. Sandwich cheese between bread slices, with butter or mayonnaise if desired. Attach raisin eyes and apricot fin with a dab of peanut butter. 

Fish Food: Combine equal parts of Sun-Maid Natural Raisins and Golden Raisins, and choice of nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. Place mixture on one part of the box and set fish sandwiches on top.

Bumps on a Log: Spread celery sticks with peanut butter or cream cheese. Add a row of Sun-Maid Natural Raisins, Golden Raisins or Cape Cod Cranberries. Place in a muffin cup or one section of the box.

Click here for SNAILY GARDEN BENTO BOX recipe.

Tips:

-Instead of a bento box, use plastic containers with tight fitting lids, and muffin papers or silicon muffin cups to separate the ingredients.
-Place the container in a lunch bag with an ice pack if fresh ingredients need to stay cool.
-For many more creative bento lunch box ideas go to:  http://lunchinabox.net/  or http://justbento.com/

 

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One Comment

  1. Areta Held-Masters
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    Fun and games is fun, but a lot of work for Mom, so I save it for special occasions. The same goes for processed foods and snacks (keep them out of the house, except for special occasions). These Bento Boxes would make a great first-day of school or birthday lunch!

    Some other suggestions for teaching kids to eat right:

    It’s not necessary to get fries and soda when dropping by your local fast food venue–whenever possible, stick to sandwiches as a snack until you can get home for a supplemental meal–save the extras for an occasional treat.

    Cultivate a taste for quality by offering a wide variety of foods, prepared in different ways. I abhor cooked spinach, but love it raw, hate peas, but love pea soup (and can handle them tucked sparingly into a one-pot meal), while some things I completely detest in any form–kids are no different.

    Discuss the flavors and feel of the foods you eat–kids quickly learn to recognize that salt and fat (as tasty as they may be) are often used to camouflage poor quality foods, while parents learn what textures and flavors their kids prefer.

    Get in the habit of reading labels with your kids (and critiquing the claims), so they learn to make trade offs! For example: chocolate bars have a lot of fat, a bowl of cocoa crispies is a great alternative; “reduced sugar” is great, but not when the substitute is an artificial sweetener.

    Shop the edges of the grocery store and indulge your children when they ask for things like star fruit or artisan cheeses!

    Finally, for the aspiring vegetarian parent, the easiest way to convert a kid is to have them participate in meat handling! My kids love meatballs and hamburgers, but won’t touch raw ground meat for anything. This makes them much more open to alternatives like beans and tofu (another trade-off scenario…less “icky”, less germy food prep).

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