Getting children to eat lunch at home is one thing, getting them to eat in a classroom full of distractions is another. Bento style lunch boxes are sustainable food containers that open up to house several smaller containers. These Japanese-style lunch boxes are often colourful, reusable, recyclable, and dishwasher safe. The goal of Bento style presentation is to see children eat a well-balanced lunch that sustains their energy level throughout the day, as opposed to throwing their lunch away, then nodding off through afternoon classes. Bento style lunches are nutritious and present food in such an attractive, colourful way lunch can be seen as edible art.
Mrs. Tiggie Winkles is a boutique educational toy store with five locations across Ottawa. Along with toys Mrs Tiggie Winkles sells quality children’s accessories, including Bento style lunch boxes. “This system is different from a conventional lunchbox because it contains several small containers, housed in a tray, along with utensils. It comes in two parts, the actual containers and then the lunchbox component the containers slip into. Everything is in one place, easy to find, and it all fits together. There is no struggling to find a spot for everything,” said Halima Anisman, Product Buyer for Mrs. Tiggie Winkles. There are many styles available. “Parents have been asking for this product and the schools appreciate it because there is so little waste involved. Children love the bright colours and patterned lunch bags the Bento boxes slide into.”
Children grow accustomed to eating healthy when they’re young. Bento boxes develop good eating habits. “Bento style lunchboxes make lunch a hands-on experience for kids, they can mix and match their food to create tastes they like simply by combining foods from a couple of containers. On the other hand, picky eaters appreciate that the small containers keep different foods from touching each other,” said Sarah Greene, Ottawa nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer. Allergies in the classroom have to be taken into consideration as children are no longer allowed the standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich. “Parents are looking for alternatives to prepackaged food that can be expensive and full of salt and preservatives. Bento style lunchboxes help parents and kids to be litter-less and relatively waste-less. There are no sandwich bags to dispose of, and children throw away less food.”
Think beyond processed meats, and soggy sandwiches when making children’s lunches. “Minimize your prep time by looking at what you had for dinner the night before. Kids love rice and chicken, steamed broccoli, baked spaghetti, marinated beef,” said Greene. Often the problem with salad is that it’s mixed together. “Deconstruct the salad, mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, grapes and cubed cheese on a tray lined with spinach leaves. Make your kid’s lunch bright, colourful and fun. Just because you ate it warm the night before doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good cold. Hard boiled eggs are great cold. Just add an ice pack to the bag. It’s amazing what kids will eat when their parents aren’t there telling them they haveto eat it.”