Nadine (our latest FMM contributer) and I have been busy. We’ve had lots of fun comparing notes and trying out the Classic Yumbox on our girls; Zoe (age 2) and Mila (age 4), both are in school till 1pm.
What is a Yumbox?
The Yumbox is a lunchbox designed by mums (Maia Neumann and Daniela Devitt) that encourages variety and healthy eating habits. The two main types include; The Yumbox Classic which has 6 compartments and The Yumbox Panino which offers 4 larger compartments. The insert tray for the Yumbox is labelled with key food groups to help reinforce packing a balanced meal for your little ones.
Why we chose to use it?
Sass; Mila is a picky eater. She’s not too bad at home but won’t eat much at school at all. I have found myself falling into the trap of sending the same lunch of crackers (or a sandwich on occasion), an Ella’s yoghurt pouch, an Organix oat bar or homemade energy balls and a piece of fruit (which she rarely eats). If I try anything different, it comes back untouched.
At home, I’ve started to display food in different sections of a big serving plate for her and I encourage her to help herself. I also make an effort to make it varied and colourful and I’ve noticed that she is more keen to experiment and try new things that way.
The concept of the Yumbox is similar, so I thought she may warm to it too. I love the fact that it pushes me to be mindful of balance, variety and nutrition whilst preparing it for her every morning. My thinking is, that if I am persistent and consistently expose Mila to good food, she will eventually branch out, if I give in and stick to the same routine, things will never change. So this is me, trying something new and not giving in!
Nadine; Zoe is still little so I don’t want to overwhelm her by packing lots of separate containers for her to open. The Yumbox looks like lots of fun which is always a good start, especially since kids eat with their eyes first. I love that it’s one box for several different items and that the compartments are leak proof (I’ve even tried it with yoghurt!). It’s easy to clean by hand or you can pop the insert tray into the top rack of the dishwasher too. Sass and I think kids in general like to see a variety of colourful and inviting foods. Depending on your model you can pack 4 to 6 different things (I always include fruit, veg, some grains, protein and sometimes a treat in the small round compartment). Like this, you can always add something you’re sure they like and something new to try and experiment (never give up!)
To be even more flexible I sometimes add an additional compartment by using a reusable silicone cup. It’s great that the compartments help you pack a balanced, portion controlled lunch. Last but not least, by using our Yumbox we can pack a waste-free lunch, no plastic wraps or snack packs needed. All materials are food safe, free of BPA, phthalates and other toxins which is always important to me when I buy a new product.
What’s in our Yumbox?
To demonstrate it’s versatility and to offer some inspiration to new or regular Yumbox users, we documented a week of our girls’ lunches ..
Sass; I started easy here with things Mila was used to (crackers, energy balls, yoghurt), one of her current favourite fruits (Mango) and a vegetable she eats raw every now and then (Red Pepper). My mission is for her to eat lots of different types of fruit and veg. So far she hasn’t come home with an empty box but I bring it out again at home and make a huge fuss when she continues to eat from it. (I’m hoping that positive reinforcement will work its magic)
*The Energy Balls are made with oats, coconut oil, flax seeds, raw cacao powder and dates. Simply process the ingredients in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of water, roll into balls and freeze.
Nadine; I always add some kind of sandwich, preferably soft, so I usually remove the crust. Luckily Zoe likes avocado so I often incorporate it into her lunch. A frittata is a super handy meal in our household as you can use any veg inside and it gives a good boost of protein. 1-2 types of fruit are always a must as Zoe loves it and I want to encourage her to eat a wider variety. Very often she eats one half of the box during snack time at kindergarten and the other half when I pick her up on the car ride home.
Sass; A friend of mine recently shared her fruit roll up recipe with me (thank you Valeria!) They are super, easy to make and taste just like sweets. Simply blend fruit of choice and spread onto a baking sheet. Then dehydrate in the oven for about 5 hours on about 60 to 90 degrees. Cut into strips, roll and refrigerate.
Nadine; Here is the recipe, if you’d like to try your hand at the homemade berry chia jam
Some more ideas …
Homemade popcorn using organic corn, veggie sushi rolls, wholemeal wraps, healthy muffins or cookies (eg. Leftover porridge cookies) roasted chickpeas, rainbow rice rolls, dips (eg. hummus, bean dip, tzatziki or guacamole), healthy granola, porridge, bircher muesli or chia pudding, boiled free range egg, lemon buckwheat pancakes and dried fruits in small amounts.
Where can I get one?
The Yumbox is made out of food safe materials; BPA-free and phthalates-free and eliminates the need for zip-lock bags, multiple containers, plastic wrap and snack packs. You can get your own Yumbox locally from MAZ Toys. We both highly recommend them.