September brought lots of change in our house with Jude starting preschool! He's still very little so is just doing three mornings a week, but his session ends with packed lunches for the children before parents collect them. So for the first time ever I've had to start making regular packed lunches.
Obviously I'm no stranger to making packed lunches, but they're usually of the old 'sandwich, crisps and apple' variety - certainly nothing to get excited about. But with Jude at preschool regularly, needing a healthy toddler meal and no longer eating dairy (it aggravates his eczema), I now have to up my game!
Two days ago our Yumbox Classic arrived, and I'm not sure who was more excited - me or Jude! It looks absolutely gorgeous and is the perfect size for young hands. But most importantly, it's a bento style box, which I've figured will help me to make balanced meals for him with minimal effort (fingers crossed).
There are lots of designs to choose from, but I chose Lotus Pink because the illustrations are right up Jude's street. Inside is a removable tray with five illustrated 1/2 cup compartments labelled protein, grains, vegetables, fruit and dairy and a little dip compartment (which I've found is perfect for houmous) Jude absolutely loves it and the design is excellent - small compartments to guide on portion size, food groups labelled, pictures that children will love and a toddler-friendly latch.
Using it all this week, I've found the Yumbox really helpful. Food doesn't need to be wrapped up so I can throw it loose into each compartment, and I can include wet foods like yoghurt because it's leak proof and foods don't run from one compartment to another. The labelling helps me to throw components from the fridge together in a hurry (great in the morning rush). And being increasingly mindful of the impact of plastics, I'm happy to no longer be using cling film.
Today Jude wasn't at preschool, so we went to the park together for the swings and a picnic, and took Jude's Yumbox. It's the first time I've seen him use it and he actually said 'Wow' when he opened it and saw his lunch! As you can see from the photo it wasn't the most exciting meal, but Jude thought it marvellous. And he ate way more veggies than he would normally - including peppers, which he usually turns his nose up at.
The Yumbox is great for picky eaters because after all, aren't buffets lots of fun? And with six types of food presented each time (plus a dip if they're lucky), if kids leave something they can move onto the next and not go hungry. However, I'm finding that Jude is being more adventurous now and saying yes to more foods - I think because the portions are small and fun, and everything's visible.
As you can see from my pictures, I've been a bit unadventurous so far (this is dairy free cheese by the way), but having a bento box is really going to encourage me to mix up Jude's meals more than usual. We've had sandwiches so far but I'll be trying pasta and rice next week to see how he likes it. And I've been checking out Yumbox's Instagram page for plenty of inspiration.
I don't usually gush about products but I'm totally in love with our Yumbox and wish I'd bought one sooner. It's made my life a lot easier, Jude loves it and it's versatile too. I'm tempted to get a larger version for myself! And when not being used for Jude's lunches, his Yumbox makes brilliant snack box too - I can fill it up with crudités and houmous dip for the four boys when we're out at the weekend.
Jude has settled into preschool brilliantly and is particularly excited about his big boy packed lunches. He insists on carrying his Yumbox into preschool himself every morning, and when I collect him later that day and ask what he's done, he exclaims, 'LUNCH!'.
Yumbox sent us a bento box for an honest and impartial review. All words are our own.