Bento Snacks for Beginners

My daughter is a good eater, but very picky. She loves eggs, but only the white parts. She’ll eat rice, but won’t touch the meat.

She only likes the bread part of sandwiches. Just hand her a piece of bread, you say. Easy.

Uh, no. She insists that I make her a sandwich and then watch as I pick it apart and just hand her slices of bread.

To further complicate things, these quirks are highly dependent on her mood. There would be times when she must absolutely, desperately have meat. No rice. 

She’s three so she has complicated feelings, okay?

Last week, my daughter had assessments so she had to bring snacks to school. I was a little nervous since the last time I had to do this, she came back with a note saying that she refused to eat and that we should do a better job packing her food.

This time around, I was determined to redeem myself.

I got her a new container, so issue two was solved easily. As for the mystery of whether or not she would eat them, I decided to outsmart her by using an appeal to cuteness. 

On day 1, she got butter and strawberry jam sandwiches and some cereal. I just used a cookie cutter to make bunny shapes. The eyes are chocolate cereal crumbs, and I drew on the noses and smiles with jam.

On Day 2, she got a hard boiled egg sliced to make a very crude looking Baymax. The eyes are just balled up pieces of herbs (this was cilantro, I think), from dinner the night before. Baymax was on a bed of cheese crackers. She also got a few orange segments.

This was a bit of a failure, because the egg made the crackers into a soggy mess. I would separate them next time.

I saved the big guns for the last day: a rice ball shaped like Hello Kitty, her favorite character. You can buy rice molds in every shape imaginable, but I just used plastic wrap. I put the rice on some Saran and shaped it like the cat’s head. The plastic kept the rice from sticking to fingers and made it easier to pack in the grains tightly so they’ll keep their shape.

The whiskers and the eyes are cut up pieces of nori, and the bow and nose are cheese slices. She ate the rice with shredded up adobo and had a cookie for dessert.

Making these were surprisingly therapeutic. 

In my mind, I’m one of those crafty, Pinterest moms. It was nice to do something creative with what should have been a routine chore. Even better, my daughter was excited to eat her snacks and came home with cleaned out containers each time. They took only about 10 minutes longer to prepare, so I got maximum rewards for my input. I’m marking these up as a parenting win.

 

 

 

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