Courtesy of Alpha Mom

This week, the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease, a decision that could encourage the medical community to pay closer attention to nutrition, an issue that we focus on every day in Philly through out programs like Farm to Families and FreshRX. To help families start their kids off with a better perspective about healthy eating – and to avoid obesity-related illnesses like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease – we found a new way to make eating fruits and veggies fun this summer.

Most of us remember carrying our lunches in a bag, but a bento box is a great alternative for kids who may need a little help with portion control. Traditionally, these arranged boxes come from Japan and typically feature rice, fish or meat with some sort of cooked vegetable.

For today’s kids, this idea can be used to not only promote healthy eating, but also fun eating that provides the nutrition to stay active this season. If you and your kids have had one too many PB and Js, here are some great alternatives:

-Load your bento box up with fresh veggies that are cut into fun shapes or even assembled to make faces – like apple slices with grape eyes and a carrot smile.

-Arrange the boxes within the box with small portions. Try using alternatives to snack foods, like kale chips instead of regular chips. 

-Reduce the bread you use by cutting whole wheat bread into smaller shapes – almost like sliders – featuring fresh seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, like cucumber and avocado. 

-Chop fruits into smaller portions so that kids get a balances meal. You can even create fun images – like a colorful garden with fruits and veggies. 

Want to get started? Bento boxes – which are reusable and eco-friendly – are available at home and kitchen stores and online. Alpha Mom also shares some of her most tips for inspiring kids to eat their fruits and veggies.