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Our First Bento

One of my favourite bloggers, Capture By Lucy, has had me intrigued for some a while with her Bento Babies posts.
I didn't really understand it at first, but I think it's more down to me hating breakfast/lunch and dinner time with the boys so anything adventurous scares me. I hate waste.
But in all honesty, I got a bit fed up with the same options for Charles' lunch.
Jam sandwich, chocolate sandwich, marmalade sandwich.
He doesn't really like ham sandwiches or cheese sandwiches.

I was also aware of how rubbish I am at giving both boys a variety of fruit and vegetables. I tend to stay safe with it all, giving them what I know they like. Charles would come home from preschool telling me the new fruits he had been eating, which made me feel awful, as his mother I should have been giving him these foods already.
I thought I would take inspiration from Lucy and try out a Bento Box with Charles.
I wanted to have a theme in mind before I ordered lots and lots of food so, we are going to attempt an A-Z, using different foods and ideas.

So starting with A I made a list of foods beginning with A
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Apple
  • Apricots
And then additional idea of things we could make from certain foods
  • Ants
  • Aliens
  • Antennae
So Monday, Harry was asleep in his pushchair after a walk home from preschool so I decided to attempt a fun lunch.
Charles wanted to help me and seeing how excited he was as each item was prepared was quite lovely. Even better, he was asking about the foods I was making.
"What's that?" "Is it a fruit or vegetable?" "What does that taste like?"

We decided to go with the theme of 'A' but also with a secondary theme of 'Garden'.
Ok, looking at the photos it looks like a big mess but it really wasn't.
The best bit about it was.....Charles ate everything. All he left was 3 pieces of the sandwich.
We talked about the meal as he was eating and he commented on how fun it was, how exciting it was, how he was eating new things and "didn't know I liked that".
The biggest surprise was the avocado.
It was one of the first foods I gave him when he was weaning as a baby and each time he tried it he would be very sick.
He absolutely loved it and also loved the almonds.
The only thing he wasn't so sure about and needed encouragement with was the asparagus. So it's something I'll introduce again later and research different ways of serving it.

The photos don't really show how fun the items were, and how organised our food items were set out.
Our apple benches looked really quite good and it wasn't quite as cluttered as it comes across.
Rather than using a lunchbox we used a tray (ok a butter dish that we don't use). I think Charles found it a treat to use something other than the usual plates and bowls.

So, am I a convert? Yes! It's not something I'll be doing every single lunchtime, but I would like to make it a regular thing. Maybe twice a week.
At the end of the meal I felt satisfied that Charles had eaten a healthy meal, he had eaten enough and shouldn't have been hungry afterwards. He also took his time eating. Normally he'll be a slow eater because he's distracted by the television or his brother or toys or something. But with this he sat up the table and ate, concentrating fully on his food.

I will be linking this up with the Bento Babies link up at Capture By Lucy.
If you want to find out more about Bento and Bento Babies then check out Lucy's blog.
You can also find inspiration via Pinterest and Flickr.