Aside from when he was a baby with his insatiable appetite for milk - my son has always eaten like a bird. There are days every so often that he does what we've coined "dump trucking" where he inexplicably eats more food than Loving Husband or myself could even manage in one sitting. And the infamous phrase "where does he put it?" gets pulled out. Those times are rare though -and in fact in addition to eating like a bird he eats soooooo sloooooooow! I mean seriously - LH and I both will have completed our dinners and 20 minutes beyond he's still needing to be reminded or timed with a cut off to finish his dinner.
What about lunch? Well I won't lie - there are days where I load the kids in the car and we drive thru - in a confined space where he can't be too distracted he often can pound through a 6 piece nugget meal on our 5-7 mile loop of a drive through the area. He's not incapable of eating quickly if he wants to. However, on most days when we're home and it becomes lunch time I want him to gain some independence with his food - and so he sits at his table and he is to eat his lunch. It was proving to be a nightmare for success... until after coming across a few blogs and the concept of 'bento boxes' did I decide to finally give that a try.
I have always been wary about using cookie cutters for sandwiches - because 1) my son DOES eat the crust, 2) there is a lot of nutrition in the crust, and 3) it's wasteful. However, the idea of the fun shapes and making the meal exciting in the end won out for a trial to see if this would speed up the lunch eating process. After looking through a lot of fun websites on food - stuff found of Pinterest, This Lunch Rox and finding great ideas for bento boxes here. The world of bento is overwhelmingly expansive and detailed and so while it's interesting I'm merely dabbling into a whole world of food art.
I did purchase some supplies for this venture: I decided on some boxes that were inexpensive Ziplock divided boxes, I obtained some sandwich stampers, along with a dinosaur sandwich stamper that I got at Walmart for $2, and some silicone square muffin cups. I found a place for all the 'lunch supplies' (which I will greatly miss upon our return to the NW! Although I look forward to the return to the many cookie cutter options I have waiting for me) and away we go with some fun creativity.
I think my unique take on this "bento" thing is a way to deal with the extra bread. Like I said I don't like to waste the crust and so I find ways to incorporate them into the meal. Whether I make it into a palm tree or the 'train tracks' that the train sits on or chop it up into a medley with the cheese bits - it is all consumed. It's not totally intricate or elaborate - but I am a mother of two under three, so time doesn't allow for such detail.
So how is Ace enjoying his new fun foods? He loves them! He also is honestly eating them faster and more concentrated. Success!
Plus I won't lie - it's kind of fun. :)