Have you ever been to a Japanese restaurant and ordered a Bento Box lunch? When I was in graduate school in Michigan, my hubby and I visited a Japanese restaurant that was right across the street from campus. It was a nice place for an affordable, yummy Bento Box lunch. I had no idea what a Bento Box was. I ordered it because it was the cheapest option on the menu (money is tight on a college budget you know). When the waiter served our lunch, I was impressed. What a neat idea to have a compartment for everything! No sauce mixing into my nicely fried food 😉
My oldest son loves Oscar Mayer Lunchables. We have never bought them, but the kids get dibs on them when they visit Grandma’s house for Bible camp. He is a fan of meat and cheese, but with our gluten-free diet he doesn’t get to eat the crackers that go along with the on-the-go package.
My healthier option is a cross between the Bento Box and Oscar Mayer Lunchables–Bento Lunchable. I use a jumbo muffin pan to separate the food (cheap option–or you can get an acutal Bento box).
This Bento Lunchable features sliced all natural roasted turkey, provolone cheese, oatmeal cranberry bar, cottage cheese and peaches, carrots and homemade ranch, and gluten-free multigrain crackers. You can be as creative as you want. You can have a hot and cold meal in one! My little chefs are usually the ones putting this meal together and they love it. I give them these guidelines and they take off with it:
– Protein -hard boiled egg, natural deli meat, cooked meat
-Veggie – carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, mini salad, broccoli
– More veggies or fruit – cut strawberries, blueberries, dried fruit, banana
– Grain – gluten free crackers, corn tortillas, granola, “healthy”chips, rice
– Dairy – cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt
– Treat – 1 square of chocolate, chocolate chips, small cookie, granola bar
The first time I served my kids these Bento Lunchables their faces lit up. “Mom, this is the coolest lunch ever! You’re the best! We love it!” Awww…shucks (smile on my face after a rough day). It was so fun to watch them put their food combinations together and swap ideas on what they were going to eat first and what would taste good together. I hope you enjoy some smiles in your kitchen.
P.S. This is a great option for kids who don’t like their food touching 😉
P.S.S. For easy clean up, use muffin liners 🙂