Bento Box Workshop – Kid Friendly Healthy Cooking!
This week we had a healthy cooking class about getting kids involved in the kitchen to make fun, nutritious lunches. With the help of UD dietetics intern Claire Wilt and suggestions from Professor Rebecca Gonter-Dray, we made Bento boxes: Japanese lunches organized and designed to look pretty and contain important nutrients for kids. Some traditional Bento boxes are intricate pieces of art, ranging in theme from superheroes to Hello Kitty. They usually contain a rainbow of colorful vegetables, sometimes sushi, and are a fun, healthy meal to keep people energized throughout the day.
Bento boxes have become increasingly popular in the US and they are a great, easy way to get kids involved in the kitchen. Kids can make anything from sandwiches shaped like monkeys to silly faces to flowers from orange slices. It makes lunch fun and helps kids choose/enjoy healthy options. Eating vegetables is a lot more fun for kids when they have a chance to choose which kind of vegetable they will eat and how it looks in the lunch box.
At this week’s workshop, kids made star shaped turkey or PB&J sandwiches, fruit flowers, while the adults made a Greek bento with tzatziki sauce, cucumber feta salad, and pita bread or a taco bento with pico de gallo, chips, and beans. We set up “creation stations” around the room at the farm headquarters so people could move from the “carb” to “protein” to “vegetable” sections and create their own bento box. UD dietetics gave us some sturdy stainless steel bento boxes for the workshop, which the families will be able to use for a long time.
As people created and enjoyed their meals, there was conversation on anything from home gardening to composting to chickens to superheroes to what it is like living in the neighborhood. Siblings helped each other make boxes and parents connected with other families. At the end of the workshop, everyone made a box to take home. After dinner, everyone took a walk through the main farm campus, learning about the farm and exploring outdoors.
Here are some ideas we showed the kids to inspire their creations:
For more on bento boxes, check out Professor Rebecca Gonter-Dray’s work and recommendations: