I’ve mentioned before that lunch time is my least favourite meal. I never feel it deserves the time or energy that I might put into supper – I want it to be quick and easy. We have a few lunch time staples in our house (cheese or ham sandwiches; soup and rolls; boiled eggs and soldiers) but I’ve been getting tired of them and no doubt T has been too!
Over the last couple of years, I’ve enjoyed having a nose at the Bento boxes which have become so popular of late. Bento boxes are the Japanese equivalent of packed lunches, which are sometimes arranges to look like characters, animals or objects. I haven’t gone quite that far yet but I have been trying to make lunch look a little more interesting for T by presenting it nicely for her.
This was one of my first attempts. We have ham pinwheels (bread and ham rolled up and sliced), sliced apple, grated carrot with raisins, cheese, some lettuce and a few crisps. I haven’t tried making pinwheels before, and these definitely don’t look like the ones I’ve admired! I tried again a few days later but with a wrap which were definitely more successful. We rarely buy crisps, but we’d just been on holiday and so we had a bag leftover. These are Sunbites which are wholegrain and delicious!
As we’ve been out and about the last couple of weeks, we’ve been taking T’s lunch in her new Bibetta lunch bag. This is great for me as it means I don’t have to try and squeeze it into my handbag! The lunch bag is made of neoprene (wetsuit material) which is great as it’s soft for her little hands, stretchy and naturally insulating. The bag is also machine washable so it is really easy to keep clean. One of my favourite things about the bag is that once it is empty, it is so light to carry, and also (unless you have a box inside) can just squish away somewhere convenient, which is great for a day out!
Here is another lunch. This time we have peanut butter sandwiches, some carrot and pepper sticks (I’ve recently discovered T loves pepper!), a hard boiled egg, some cheese, and an orange. T loves eggs but I don’t think I have ever thought to put them in a packed lunch before.
My most recent attempt. Again we have peanut butter sandwiches and cheese (lunchbox favourites!), some chopped cucumber and tomato, and some kiwi and yoghurt. We tend to buy buckets of natural yoghurt in our house because we get through it so quickly! It means we can flavour it as we like (raspberries are a favourite!) and know whats going into it.
What I’ve noticed with the Bento lunches that I’ve seen for children online is that they are really good for helping you to think about which food groups are included in the lunch. I find it’s easy to forget vegetables at lunch time, although we always include fruit, but actually T loves vegetables especially when they come chopped and ready to munch! I’m also trying to think about different kinds of protein, as often this gets neglected. Lots of young children (T included) won’t eat a huge amount of meat, but cheese, yoghurt and eggs are all good sources of protein. I am also trying to vary the sandwich a bit so that it’s not always just a sandwich – e.g. using wraps, rolls or crackers in place of sliced bread. I’ve got my eye on a Yumbox
The Bibetta lunch bags come in a range of colours, with an animal pattern and a matching animal shaped tag. We haven’t had ours long enough to be able to see how it wears but it seems really well made and looks as though it will last. T loves it, and requests to use it all the time! You can get yours here.
If you have any interesting lunch box ideas, I’d love you to share them with me in the comments! Thanks for reading!
Disclosure: We were sent the Bibetta lunchbox for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own.