Let's face it: Some kids just need more choices in life. Lots of parents claim to have a picky eater. I actually have one. Making any meal for my 3-year-old is a chore, but lunch is especially tough. There's just no way to tell at seven in the morning what he's going to want to eat at noon. Many days last year his teacher at daycare would have to tell me that the little one didn't eat anything at all or only picked through his lunch. In November, she suggested getting him a bento box to hold lots of different foods instead of just one. It sounded like a great idea since I had long since given up on controlling exactly what he ate during the day and was far more concerned that he eat something healthy. But it also sounded like an idea that could potentially make things more complicated. How would packing more food be less troublesome?
I was browsing Amazon.com
for gifts during the holiday season when I spotted the Goodbyn. It was advertised as a good-for-the-planet lunchbox that eliminated the need for disposable packaging, was BPA free, and could go in the dishwasher. But I'll admit my first thought was simply, "compartments!" Let's face it, the Goodbyn was probably as "bento" as I was going to get. So after a few more days of stalking, gazing, and figuring, I bought it in green. (I see that they now have blue, too. Dern it!) It was 29.95 with free shipping. I love Amazon.
When the Goodbyn arrived, I immediately put it to work - actually packing my son's lunch that night (not scrambling the next morning). I'd made the decision to pack only healthy things because with all these choices my preschooler would eat something, I just wouldn't know exactly what. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (that's actually a soy nut butter and Polaner All-Fruit on whole wheat), wrapped it and put it in the compartment shaped like a sandwich. Then I filled the juice container with Motts-for-Totts and tossed in a cheddar cheese stick, some sliced apples, a container of yogurt and a handful of veggie crackers. It was a pretty quick process and I reminded myself that I wasn't making a meal, I was providing (fairly) healthy choices. I sealed the Goodbyn and popped it into the refrigerator, happy that I'd fixed lunch without the pressure of coming up with the one perfect thing that might be eaten at daycare. I couldn't wait until that evening when we got the lunchbox back. I ripped into it to see what was left and just about everything was gone. Weeks later, my son is still eating better than he ever has at daycare and I can say that I highly recommend the Goodbyn. It really has saved my sanity and it's always easy to use no matter what I have in the house. I can pack leftovers, fruit, cheese, cold cuts, pudding, soup - just about anything - and something will be eaten.
Now, here are some things you should know if you're in the market for a bento-ish lunchbox like this one: Sue me, but I still use a small amount of disposable packaging such as sandwich bags, because it keeps the lunchbox nice and clean. Working on that part. Also, the Goodbyn is slightly larger than most lunchboxes, but it still fits in the backpack. I see that the website shows children carrying it by its handle, which is very very cute, but we're trying to cut down on the number of items we carry to the car. Also, closing the lunchbox is a lot like closing Tupperware, but we've had no problem at all keeping it closed. Once it sealed, it's sealed. But what your little ones will probably appreciate is that the Goodbyn comes with two big rolls of stickers so they can "decorate" their new lunchboxes as they see fit.
Read more about the Goodbyn Lunchbox here.. If you have any other lunchtime ideas for toddlers or preschoolers, please share them with us by clicking on comments!