Back To School Bento Style

This is my third post about back to school, and I can’t promise it’ll be my last. Along with backpacks and pens, back to school means back to brown bag lunches. Yet most parents these days are increasingly eco-conscious, health-conscious, and while we’re at it, plastic conscious. With all the hype out there about our overprocessed, overpackaged foods, I don’t blame mom and dad for wanting to find at least some small way Jack or Jill can reduce waste and be healthy when they’re bringing in a lunch five days a week.

My suggestion to battle this burden comes from the brilliant eco-friendly shop, Green Cricket, and it comes in the form of the ‘Bento Box’ lunch kit. Behold its compartmentalized style that not only makes it easy to combat portion control, it also does away with all those non-reusable plastic bags. Each tub is easy to pry open with little fingers, dishwasher safe, and free of those nasty, slimy chemicals that tend to make plastic peel and fuzz after many uses.

The Bento Box comes in three bright colours, including a boy-friendly blue, and vibrant purple and pink. Each set also comes with a fork and spoon, and a recipe book for fast, healthy recipes that are great solutions for ‘what to pack?’ madness. If you’ve got something that’s bigger than the little containers, you can always remove them for a bit of extra space as well. Got a field trip? Yank a container out for mid-morning munchies and throw it in your child’s backpack.

A quick caveat to this – buying the lunchbox alone is half the battle. These containers will not fit a sugar-loaded pastry, and stuffing a package of gushers into one of the compartments sort of misses the point. The idea behind buying this sort of thing for your child is that you as a parent (or the parent you’re gifting it to) will put some time and effort into making their kid’s lunches healthy and more natural. The containers are inviting you to take bulk, unpackaged items and serve them up for lunch – fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers, homemade granola bars, trail mix, salad, leftovers, etc. There is a teeny tiny container for treats, to be fair, so pack it up with a few bites of chocolate or peppermints. Just remember, this box is made for packing, not packaging.

For the record, the Bento Box is in theory a little pricier than your typical nylon lunchbag, at $39.95. However, when you factor in how much you’ll save on replacing Tupperware and buying fresh, wholesome items instead of overprocessed sweets, the value is pretty much invaluable.

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