Anne M. Mulcahy once said that investing in early childhood nutrition is the safest strategy; the returns are incredibly high. Let’s join Grandma while she prepares a healthy lunchbox for Johnny.
Johnny runs into the kitchen and dumps his backpack and lunchbox on the table.
“Johnny, put your things away and give me your lunchbox,” Grandma says. Johnny gathers his schoolbooks and gives the lunchbox to Grandma.
As she opens the lunchbox, she asks, “Johnny, why do you still have food in your lunchbox? Didn’t you get hungry?”
“I’m always hungry, but I’m tired of eating the same sandwich every day, and no one will trade with me,” Johnny explains.
“Oh, Johnny honey, we need to make you the most amazing, incredible, super fantastic, and healthy lunch in your whole school. Everyone will want to trade with you,” Grandma decides.
“I want a super fantastic and amazing lunch, but does it have to be healthy?” Johnny asks.
“Let me tell you something about eating healthy food. When you eat a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you have more energy to run faster and jump higher. And, healthy food will even help you be smarter.”
“Be smarter?! So, if I eat something healthy, I’ll pass my math test?” Johnny asks excitedly.
“Well, no, not exactly. But, if you eat healthy food on a regular basis, you will have more energy to pay attention in class and learn everything you need to learn. And that makes you smarter,” Grandma explains.
Grandma says, “We can create some Bento boxes for your lunches this week, but first we need to gather the ingredients. Let’s start with making Sushi Rolls.”
She thinks for a while, “This is all we need for Sushi Rolls:
One whole-grain tortilla
Natural peanut butter or dairy-free chocolate spread
And yes, we already have the ingredients in my kitchen.”
She then quickly take out the ingredients and put them on the kitchen table.
“Johnny, you can help me spread the peanut butter or chocolate spread on the tortilla. Which one do you want? Chocolate spread or peanut butter?”
“I love both of them! Can we do both?”
“Of course, Johnny, whatever you want. But, let’s just do one today and the other tomorrow.”
“I want peanut butter today!” Johnny exclaimed.
“Perfect! That’s what I have in the pantry. Okay, spread the peanut butter all over the tortilla, but not too thick. Then place the entire banana on the edge of the tortilla and roll it up.”
Johnny follows the directions carefully. He wants it just right.
“That looks perfect, Johnny.”, she grabs the roll and slices it into bite-size pieces.
“Doesn’t that look delicious?” Grandma asks.
“Can I put them in my lunch box?”
“Yes, of course, Johnny dear. Place the pieces into your bento box and then in your lunchbox and let’s add some sliced strawberries or apples for some extra vitamins. Do you want apples or strawberries?” Grandma asks.
“Can I have both?”
“Of course, Johnny, anything for you,” Grandma says with a smile. Then she adds, “Let me give you a little tip about apples. You know how they can turn brown after you slice them?”
“It’s so gross. That’s why I don’t like apples,” Johnny says with a frown.
“Well, If you put a few drops of lemon juice on each slice, it will keep them fresh. It’s magical.”
“Lemon juice? Like lemonade?” Johnny asks.
“No, no, it’s not lemonade, just lemon juice from a real lemon will keep them fresh.”, she explains while she gives the bento box final touches. She then puts it in the lunchbox and turns towards Johnny, who is licking his peanut butter dipped fingers.
“Let’s make one more lunch. Okay?” says Grandma.
“Okay!” Johnny agrees.
“For this one, we’ll need some seedless grapes and mango. We also need little skewers, so we can make kabobs.”
“Kabobs? What are those?” Johnny asks.
“Kabobs usually have cubes of meat stacked on a skewer. But, this kabob is going to have cubes of fruit on a skewer,” Grandma explains. “We’ll make it a vegetarian Kabob.”
“Can I make it?” Johnny asks excitedly.
“Of course, Johnny. Let me cut the fruit, and you can stack them — Mango, grape, mango, grape. We can even add another type of fruit if you want. Now, let me grab some plain yoghurt and honey.”
“Honey? Is that Queen Mab’s honey? She has the best honey,” Johnny said.
“Yes, Queen Mab makes the best honey, so we’ll use her honey. We’ll put a tablespoon of honey in the plain yoghurt and mix it up. Here’s a spoon, so you can mix it.” Grandma gives Johnny the spoon.
Johnny carefully stirs the honey into the yoghurt.
Grandma says, “Now when it’s time to eat lunch, you can dip the kabobs into the yoghurt mixture. We’ll add some mixed nuts to your lunch to add protein. We’ll add walnuts, almonds, and pecans.”
Johnny asks, “Can I put those in the yoghurt?”
“Of course you can, Johnny. Anything for you,” Grandma says as she kisses him on the cheek and gives him a little hug.
Johnny’s smile suddenly turns into a frown.
“What’s wrong?” Grandma asks.
“Now, everyone is going to want to trade lunches with me,” Johnny explains.
“But, I thought that’s what you wanted,” Grandma says.
“But, now I don’t want to trade with anyone. I want to eat my lunch. I’ll have the best lunch in the whole school,” Johnny exclaims. “It’s a super fantastic lunch!”
“Of course you’ll have the best lunch in the entire school. Only the best for you, Johnny, honey.”
She completes the second bento box and puts it in the refrigerator.