Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Bento craze means kids' lunches get serious

The demand for better lunch-boxes started when schools and kindies banned plastic wrap, yoghurt pots and multi-pack snacks. Photo / Supplied / Lynley Edwards
The demand for better lunch-boxes started when schools and kindies banned plastic wrap, yoghurt pots and multi-pack snacks. Photo / Supplied / Lynley Edwards

The days of school lunch boxes filled with squashed sandwiches, gingernuts and a bruised apple are over.

Now it is all about colour and style, with boiled eggs shaped like rabbits and cats, crafted sandwiches, fruit flowers with vege stems and a side of penguin-shaped sushi.

Devonport mum of two Lynley Edwards has turned her bento-obsession into a booming business. Photo / Supplied / Lynley Edwards
Devonport mum of two Lynley Edwards has turned her bento-obsession into a booming business. Photo / Supplied / Lynley Edwards

The bento craze tore through Australian schools last year and now Kiwi parents are jumping on board.

Facebook and Instagram pages have been flooded by parents obsessed with the multi-compartment lunch boxes and arty food inspired by Japanese eating.

What's in you kids' lunch box? Send us your pics.

The demand for better lunch-boxes started when schools and kindies banned plastic wrap, yoghurt pots and multi-pack snacks.

From there the lunch-box obsession grew.

Auckland mum Maria Foy says she is happily obsessed with making lunch interesting for her daughter Chloe, 4, and son Ronan, 2. Foy uses her blog site happymumhappychild.co.nz to inspire other bento lunch-box loving parents.

"I started off making sandwiches with cookie-cutters and it helped get my picky eaters to try new things," Mrs Foy says. She bought proper bento lunch boxes and then the creativity flowed.

"Now I have shapers to make rice into hearts, teddy bears and flowers and would love to get some sandwich shapers."

Bento #yumbox lunchbox image from Auckland, Mummy Blogger and Photo / Instagram / Melissa Jack
Bento #yumbox lunchbox image from Auckland, Mummy Blogger and Photo / Instagram / Melissa Jack

Despite the initial price for the lunch boxes - which can range from $30 to $45 - Foy says everything else is affordable, so healthy lunches can still be made economically.

"All you need are some cookie cutters and a bit of inspiration - there are so many good ideas online.".

Despite the initial price for the lunch boxes which can range from $30 to $45 everything else is affordable. Photo / Supplied / Lynley Edwards
Despite the initial price for the lunch boxes which can range from $30 to $45 everything else is affordable. Photo / Supplied / Lynley Edwards

Devonport mum of two Lynley Edwards has turned her bento-obsession into a booming business.

Her website The Lunch Box Queen features bento-box ideas of her own creation and she sells lunch boxes, sandwich cutters, wrap bands, food picks and egg shapers online.

Bento boxes are gaining fans. Photo / Supplied / Lynley Edwards
Bento boxes are gaining fans. Photo / Supplied / Lynley Edwards

"I'm blown away with how many parents want them," she said.

"It's great to be part of something that is so positive, gets kids eating healthy and lets us be creative."

Christine Strydom says she has been packing "bento" since before she'd heard of the word. She says having containers for everything "felt logical".

Christine Strydom says she keeps her kids' lunches real and to the family's means. Photo / Supplied
Christine Strydom says she keeps her kids' lunches real and to the family's means. Photo / Supplied

Nikki Marie, also known as "Multitasking Mumprenuer" on social media, has shared images of her lunch box creations on Facebook noting she is a "huge fan of creating fun looking lunches".

Nikki Marie enjoys putting together interesting bento lunch boxes. Photo / Supplied
Nikki Marie enjoys putting together interesting bento lunch boxes. Photo / Supplied

- NZ Herald

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