Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thinking inside the box

Meal time is a struggle in our home.Everyone likes different things. One wants it cut this way the other cut that way but with no sauce. I often feel like a short order cook." Ok you ( flipping my knife in the air) how do you like it, small pieces, well done, over easy, and what about you mushy or crispy, hold the dressing?". My oldest was my first picky of all picky eaters i think he ate three certain foods through his formative years. Luckily his teen hunger has taken over and his pickiness is trumped by the need to clear out all the food in the fridge and pantry in one seating, and still be the skinniest kid on the block.
Photobucket
My Dovie is now the champion of food strikes. Words like gross, disgusting, and good ol yuck, were so common in his vocab that one of his teachers taught him to say, its not my taste. This is more polite , but it still breaks this Jewish mother's heart when every meal is joined with a sweet little voice saying "its not my taste". I needed to find a solution, honestly i just needed to get some food in this kids stomach. I started feeding him garbage, pure junk food, because at least he wasn't running on empty. This was not a solution and hard on my good parenting soul.
Then i had an idea....
Photobucket
There are a few foods Dovie will eat. For some reason he likes veggie sushi. He also likes peanut butter and honey sandwiches ( dont ever bring jelly around this kid). He likes apples as long as they are cut up, and he likes the kid basics: cheese, crackers, pizza,chips, and chocolate. I decided i was going to make his lunches with his healthy versions of his favorite foods in a small less overwhelming package.
Photobucket
I decided to go Bento style, the Japanese way of packing meals, and it worked . He came home from school for the first time ever with an empty lunch box. He told me he loved his lunch and ate every bit of it up. I couldn't believe this worked and ever since i have been devoted to making him his little lunch packages.
What i use..
1.LunchBots Pico Stainless Steel Lunch Container
2. Silicone cupcake liners, bought at TJMax, or Wilton 415-9400 Easy Flex Silicone 3-Inch Reusable Baking Cups, 12 Count
3. A really sharp chopping knife. Like Kuhn Rikon 4-Inch Nonstick Colori Paring Knife, Set of 3
I wouldnt even waste your time with another brand, seriously i love my knifes.
4. Small cookie cutter shapes
Photobucket
I know you are looking at these pics and saying there is no way i can do this. Trust me you can. I am not a fan of the kitchen i would eat out any day, but somethings are more important. I one day made the choice to feed my children in a healthier way. Sometimes to accomplish these things you have to think outside of the box, or step inside one. Who knew?
Photobucket
My Jewish heart now rests easy knowing my little guy has enough fuel to get him through the day.
* Edited... i am adding some more info here on how to pack this kind of lunch instead of emailing everyone back. I hope that is ok? The two most common questions i have gotten are "How do you keep from everything sliding around" and " Why is plastic not safe"?
1. The trick to keep from everything mixing is packing everything very tight and all the way to the top. I use the silicone liners to keep everything even snugger. I make sure everything is packed all the way to the lid. This help with the sliding. If you notice i put the cucumber salad in a tiny tuperware ( i am still trying to find a non-plastic version). I put its own lid on ( not pictured) before i put the boxes main lid. My son had complained a few times that the dressing leaked onto his other food, so i started using the tupperware to prevent leakage.I also put the box in a upright lunch box, but i assume there has been some moving in transport. When i first started doing this i would check when we got to school and as long as i packed it tight it was good.
2. Why no plastic? Plastic has toxins that can leak into food. You can read more about it here. We are not completely plastic free, but i try including using glass bottles for Rozie when she was a baby.

18 comments :

Mina Richler said...

great ideas,esp the cupcake holders! i definitely agree that if you change the form of the food, cutting in diff. shapes and whatnot gets kids eating things they wouldnt think of!

chanalesings said...

Sheva, this is the first year I send a lunch with my little one, and I want to try this. She is not especially picky but I feel bad wasting plastic bags and a container would give me more options, perhaps making a chicken leg more appetizing than in an oily plastic bag. Good for you!

Tobey said...

i'm game. you're so right. you never see a buffet full of julienned appetizers in ziploc bags, now do you?

Team Lando said...

Lunch for my little one? Shoot, send lunch to meeee! Looks so yummy! Tell Dovie you deserve a big hug for that one!

Elaine B said...

What a lovely post! I love these LunchBots. I noticed that you are also using plastic containers inside of them. Keeping food separate for youngsters is important to them often, but I wonder if there is a better alternative to the plastic separators. I don't trust plastic at all since it is known to leach chemicals when it comes in contact with food and drink, and when it comes to cooling and heating. In honor of Breast Cancer Month (last month) I send this link to you: http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/2011/10/october-is-breast-cancer-prevention-month/ Again, love the post!

Sheva said...

Elaine B,
Thank you for your comment. I actually use silicone dividers in the stainless steel lunchbot.I know silicone is also debatable but i highly researched it and decided it was a safer option. I was raised in a plastic-free home and try to do the same in my home. In the top pic i do have plastic container that i am trying to find a replacement for ,in stainless steal would be great. It is VERY little about 2inches and i haven't had luck.

Keshet said...

This is adorable!

Carine said...

Hi Sheva
I love this post!
May I put a link to it on my blog and grab a pic?
In my daughter's gan it's so common to send sandwiches in plastic bags, I was feeling bad about it so I started putting it with fruit in a little plastic box, but then the ganenet told me it's easier for kids in little bags...
I'm really unaware of all the plastic problems...
Why are plastic containers so common if they are so dangerous?
Kol tuv

lovemy3 said...

My son's LOVE their lunches like this! I think I can get almost anything in them if I serve it this way!

Meriah said...

So! Japanese! Cho-beri Nihon-poi! I lived there for 5 years (2 for school and staying with Japanese families, 3 for work, 10 years later) and bentos are beyond huge there.
That's a fantastic idea, and I have to say, you make the best ones I've seen outside of Japan. Fabulous idea!

Angel said...

LOVE this idea! I have 2.5 picky eaters (the youngest is only picky if he sees the other two pushing stuff aside), so I am going to try this. Seems like if I make it 'pretty' they will eat it. :)

Anonymous said...

This may sound like a stupid question... but when you put the top on the lunch box, and he puts it in his bag- what happens when it moves around? does the food all fall out? Sorry im just curious and want to do it for my little one!

Sheva said...

I edited the post at the bottom to help answer some questions.. hope it helps

chanalesings said...

Btw love the post title

Anonymous said...

Great ideas! If you need items to hold these lunches a great spot is http://www.traditionsjewishgifts.com/kitchen.html

Chana said...

What I honestly love the most abt ur posts is how far ou are willing to go to make each of our kids happy...you go to the end of the world for each of them and it truly shows in your posts pictures how happy an well loved they are

Rachel said...

Love this post (it gave me ideas for my son's lunches!) I came across these glass containers which might interest you (to replace the plastic ones):
glass containers

Mara said...

Will you pack my lunches, too? These look fab! And I love the silicone cupcake holders. Genius!