Monday, August 19, 2013

Easy Gluten Free Lunches and Portion Control

I have recently come across the idea of bento boxes in my wanderings through Pinterest and various blogs. Being artistic, loving food, needing to lose weight, and having food allergies/intolerances in our family all just seems to mesh so well with the concept of cramming food into little boxes in a creative, visually stimulating way!  I have been reading The Just Bento Cookbook for more ideas, and the author brought out some good points about weight loss and using bento boxes for portion control.  Over the last several years, a lot of the fun and enjoyment of eating good food has waned since it seems that so much is off limits for us now.  The bento box is bringing back some of the fun, and there is a sense of excitement over the meal to come when my kids take a lunch with them to work or college now.  It doesn't feel so bad at meal time, when they are seeing their friends' lunches and then looking at their own.  In fact, Cassie has had coworkers asking her about her awesome lunches and how can they do bento boxes too--that's just with the food being put in the cute boxes.  I haven't even started doing cute things with the food, yet, though I have been looking at some of the cute cutters and tools they have on Amazon as well as on All Thing For Sale.  For now, I have just been trying to arrange the food in a visually pleasing way, incorporating brightly colored fruits and vegetables, perhaps with a square of dark chocolate hidden among the fruit slices. I did manage to find one small cookie cutter of a butterfly in my baking supplies that was small enough to use for kiwi slices.  My girls did  love that!

Cassie and Moriah are especially loving their lunches.  Moriah loves sculpting and being crafty, so she is wanting to make her own bento boxes, even when we are just eating lunch at home.  Cassie is creative as well, but she is loving that I am putting so much effort into her lunches, seeing it as a sign of love.  She is also telling me that using it as portion control is really working.  Because her lunch looks so nice, she is eating slower and getting full faster.  She lost 2 pounds in less than a week!

Along the same idea, there are these easy lunch boxes that can be used in similar ways as the traditional Japanese bento boxes.  I have found that my guys prefer their lunches made in containers like these rather than the more creative, artsy looking boxes.  I still can make their actual food look pleasing to the eye if I am in the creative mood, but with their line of thinking, why bother?  lol.  As one son so aptly put it, "Why go through all the trouble to make some cool-looking food sculpture or picture if I'm just gonna eat it?"  When I explained it would be me making it for him, not him making it for himself, suddenly he got the idea it was his mom putting extra effort in making him a lunch, and then his sentiment changed to, "Well if you're gonna do it, then please do.  I just wouldn't do it myself!"  I think he got the picture that it would be his mom sending him a little extra message of love through the effort of preparing him a special lunch.

If you also are intrigued by the idea of playing with food or using bento boxes to try losing weight, you can go here and find out how to win your own set of easy lunch boxes to start with!  I know my daughters have been loving the bento boxes I've been making them, and my husband and sons just seem to be happy that I am giving them food other than a typical sandwich for their lunches/meals away from home!

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