I get a lot of questions about my bento hobby. I’ll answer these questions here. Please contact me at rachelbeard1111 (at) gmail.com if you have a question you’d like me to answer.
Q. Why are you doing this?
A. I am packing these special lunches for my children to promote healthy eating as an important part of their life. I want their food choices to be automatically geared toward fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables. I want them to expect balanced meals and look forward to eating a rainbow every day. I hope I can prevent them from becoming overweight and subsequently fighting that battle for the rest of their lives. Wish me luck!
I am blogging the meals because I want to raise awareness about simple ways to make healthy eating more fun for everyone. I was completely overwhelmed about packing lunches for my kids. I googled. I found many excellent sources. Now I want to give back as well. My lunches are generally not too elaborate, but appeal to my kids with lots of color, bite size pieces, variety, and usually at least one whimsical touch. I hope you find inspiration here, as I do on my favorite blogs!
Q. How much time to you spend packing lunches?
A. This is a trick question!!! I do spend a lot of time on my lunches. However, I really only spend a couple of minutes doing the special touches each day. I think I average about 20 minutes lately to pack the 2 kids’ lunches and lunch and snacks for my husband too! However, even if I was packing a boring lunch, I’d still have to make a sandwich, wash and cut fruits and veggies, and throw it all in the lunchbox. That is the time consuming piece! The extra step of using a sandwich cutter takes seconds. Drawing with food markers, cutting out shapes with cookie cutters, using fun food dividers and bento picks, and taking pictures is fun, easy, and adds maybe 5 minutes to the total. I get that a lunch made out of packaged meals takes far less time, but the time is well invested for me.
Q. How do you decide what to pack?
A. I have a couple of key strategies that I work around. I try to pack a rainbow whenever I can. I always use whole grains and low-fat dairy. There is always fresh fruit. Once in a while, I include a “treat,” but not every day and the treat is not necessarily candy. I try to use leftovers when possible. I try to keep things simple, but I love going nuts when I have a great idea or a special occasion.
Q. Where do you get these ideas?
A. Sometimes I get lucky and wake up with some awesome idea. Sometimes my girlie wants something special and I can accommodate her. I love perusing pinterest for awesome ideas and find a lot of inspiration there. I follow a number of bento bloggers on facebook and seeing their posts in the news feed keeps fresh ideas on my mind. I try to give credit whenever I use someone else’s idea.
Q. Where do you find bento supplies?
A. Lots of places! I have found great cookie cutters and food markers at craft stores, like Michaels. I love All Things For Sale for fun and inexpensive bento supplies. Amazon.com has a great selection as well. You can see my bento store here.