Mornings are not my friend. I'm a night owl and likely always have been. I fondly remember my teenage years where I'd stay up most of the night then lounge in bed the next day sleeping until well past noon. Thanks Mom and Dad for being so cool with that! These days I don't get to sleep so long the next morning but I do have a tendency to stay up well past a reasonable hour.
When I rearranged the living room furniture a couple of months ago Chris' only comment when he came home to the new layout was that he was thankful that I did it during the day rather than at 10pm. Seriously.
This year Emma moved to afternoon pre-school and we are both taking advantage of the schedule to sleep in a bit. I usually wake up between 6:30 and 7am and finally venture out of bed around 7:30am while Emma gets up anywhere between 9 and 10am - and that's because I wake her! She's a night owl, too.
Unfortunately Julia isn't as lucky and leaves the house a little past 7am for school. To help ensure she is eating a more balanced breakfast (3 waffles with butter isn't a my idea of a good start to the day!) I started making a breakfast bento-style box at night and it's all ready to go for her in the morning. I don't have to wake up early to fix a meal and she LOVES the boxes because they are cute and have a lot of variety - it's a complete win-win! She has even started to help me fix them the night before and I'm happy she is taking an interest in creating balanced meals.
The bento boxes I use were purchased from Kangovou at a steep discount thanks to GMA Steals and Deals a few months ago. I bought one for Julia and one for Emma for our summer lunches and figured they would also be helpful for Emma's school lunches starting in the Fall. There are 5 various sized compartments and Julia fell in love with the containers as soon as she saw them. She really loves "cute" when it comes to her food.
Since Julia is on the school food plan and doesn't bring any food to school we decided to use it for school day breakfasts because she really wanted to start using them. I try and make sure there is a vitamin, fruit, dairy and protein in the box and try and mix up the contents each day. Here are a few examples of her bento breakfasts:
Organic strawberry yogurt, organic strawberries and blueberries, Club crackers, and an organic egg/hashbrown muffin.
Organic strawberry yogurt, vitamin with a few sprinkles to put on top of the yogurt, cucumber slices, 1/2 orange, PB&J on a Pancake
Julia making her breakfast: Organic Banilla yogurt, some pink sprinkles for the yogurt, homemade pumpkin bread, vitamin, organic strawberries and blackberries
Julia loves her "special" breakfasts and asks me to make her one most weeknights. I'm amazed at how just adding this simple container to the mix has changed her morning eating habits. We've even added in veggies such as lettuce in one of the bins and she is happy to gobble it down at breakfast.
I have also made a couple of bento boxes for Emma when we've been on the go all day. Her food is mostly pureed so I use the press and seal Saran wrap over the compartments that have runny foods like applesauce and I store it flat in an insulated bag. So far it hasn't leaked and Emma seems happy with a bit more variety to her foods.
I think it's safe to say that these little containers will be in constant use this summer and beyond!