Sunday, September 30, 2012

Do you Bento?

If you follow me on facebook you may be familiar with the after school snacks we do for Zane.  I've gotten lots of questions, comments and positive encouragement about them.  So I thought I'd share a bit more with you here.
We had purchased the Bento box to use for our outings as an easy way for us to carry inexpensive and healthier snacks so we won't have to keep buying junk and spending MORE money!   I started out doing one for him as a special treat on the first day of school since I already had the box.  I threw together some stuff we had on hand...peanuts, gummy bears, yogurt raisins, pretzel rods and peanut butter.  I added some of the cute food pics I had ordered to go in the bento box and presto.  Done.  Well when he got home he saw that snack and he was hooked.  To my surprise, my picky eater at it all.  Every bit of it.  Granted this is all things he normally eats (this time).  I saw this as my opportunity to slowly introduce new things into his diet and to keep his snacks balanced.  Since Zane struggles with weight gain I have to be on top of things like this and find creative ways to get him to eat.  I have to make food fun and interesting.  I had to figure out a way to make him enjoy his food...something he was not doing before.  My thought process was, if I can get him to experience his food then he will eat it and be more adventurous and hopefully keep some weight on.  After all, it was up to me.  I have no idea what he is eating at school.  When he gets home from school he usually can't even tell me what he had for lunch, this leads me to believe that he didn't eat it. 
Now, with these little hearty snacks...at least I know he has had this and it was healthy.  I've had some question why I spend so much time and effort on them (which really it takes minutes at most).  When you consider that sometimes this is my only shot to get some good nutrition in him without him knowing it.  If he didn't eat his lunch and may not eat very well for supper and I know he at his snack at least I know he has had something that will stick with him. 

The proof that it's working?  Well he has gained weight!  He is eating things he would have never eaten before.  He is eating food combinations and talking about them and enjoying his food experience (we referenced the animated movie Ratatouille in a discussion about flavor combinations during snack time one day).  Even his attitude is different.  You see Zane suffers from anxiety among other issues.  I've noticed some very positive differences in his attitude since we have started these snacks.  Like it's his little special thing.  One afternoon I was still putting his crackers in the container and had not put it on the table yet...when he walked in and he didn't see it on the table his whole demeanor changed.  He was a different child and was difficult all the rest of the day.  It was like I had forgot about him in his mind. 

Whatever the reason...it works for us.  On many levels.  And I hope our story helps you;)

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