When my children were in elementary school they thought it was cool to take their lunches in a fun lunch box. Sometimes I would surprise them with a clever, creative food inside. The memory of this, plus knowing I wanted to teach my child development students about healthy foods choices for children triggered this lesson and project. I assign this as a take home project but this could easily be done in a foods lab or even as a creative competition!
- Depending on the class you are using this lesson with you may have to review MyPlate with your students.
- Begin the lesson by asking students to pretend they have to pack a lunch for an elementary aged child. Have them write down what they would put inside the lunch box.
- Ask students to identify the food groups that are in their boxes and then classify as to what foods are nutrient dense and what are considered empty calorie. Ask what they need to add to make it complete according to MyPlate?
- Now ask students how creative they believe their lunches are. Would they want to eat it? Show a picture of a plain lunch vs. a creative bento box style lunch and as students which they would rather eat if they were a child and why?
- Projector & Screen
- Bento Box or Equivalent Substitution like Glad-Ware Containers
- Introduce the concept of Bento Boxes via this You Tube clip “What is a Bento Box? Simple “How To” Video“.
- Show them some creative examples with this website. Select a couple of examples from the gallery and ask students to identify the foods used to create the lunches.
- Now it’s the students’ turn to partner up and create a creative Bento Box style lunch for an elementary aged child. Encourage them to use a theme and kid friendly foods (see chart).
- Student will complete this project at home, but I do give them a little planning time to discuss ideas, plan work times and to figure out the ingredients, etc.
- Because I assign this as a take home project, students will need to bring their completed Bento Box to school as well as provide pictures or video documenting their experience and steps of their creative process. See guide sheet for details below.
- Students must also complete a follow-up assignment evaluating their use of food groups, time, cost and how realistic they think this would be for American families to make on a daily basis.