Mom’s incredible bento boxes make healthy lunches fun

gillean
Shine On
Eats Amazing

Grace Hall doesn't think she's a supermom -- but it sure looks like it to us.

The 32-year-old U.K. mom is the creative wizard behind Eats Amazing, a blog that chronicles the whimsical lunches Hall makes for her six-year-old son (whom she adorably refers to as 'Small Child' in her writing).

The lunches, packed snugly into adorable little bento boxes, serve two purposes -- they allow Hall to express her creativity while also ensuring that her son gets (and wants) to eat a healthy, balanced meal at school.

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"I want to provide him with healthy food, to give him the best chance in life and teach him healthy habits from the start," the mother of two (her youngest is still in diapers) tells Yahoo Canada Shine. "I also really enjoy the process of making them. As a full time mother I get very little time for myself, so being able to turn a chore into something fun and creative helps keep me and my son happy."

Some of Hall's incredible lunches carry themes based on holidays, animals and books, while others are simply adorable on their own. When packing the lunches, she says she follows a simple formula to ensure each one is healthy and balanced.

"I choose at least one thing from each of the following categories: vegetables, fruit, protein, carbohydrate and dairy, to include in each lunch," she says. "I keep a list of food ideas on my fridge that I can refer to if I get stuck for inspiration."

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Some of her go-to ingredients include pitas, deli ham, roast chicken, cheese, yogurt and raw fruits and veggies. To create custom shapes, she often freezes yogurt in special ice cube molds, which hold their shape thanks to ice packs that she arranges around the lunch box. She uses bento cutters, egg molds, food picks, edible marker pens, paintbrushes and food colouring to transform these everyday foods into exciting shapes and characters.

The hobby not only ensures 'Small Child' is fed well, but also fosters a healthy relationship with food for her son. She encourages him to take part in preparing and planning the lunches, beginning at the grocery store.

"I like to get him involved in the planning process," she says. "[I let him] explore the fruit and vegetable aisles in the supermarket to see if there is anything he hasn't tried before."

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Hall's blog, which she started in 2012, is followed by 7,500 people and generates thousands of views each day -- but she's not without her critics. Since generating some media buzz on BuzzFeed and the Daily Mail, comments have flooded in from readers questioning who has time to create such elaborate lunches.

Hall takes her critics in stride, claiming she only spends five to 15 minutes per day on the lunches. She says her blog isn't meant to shame parents who don't share her enthusiasm for making creative lunches.

"I don't think I'm some sort of super Mum – there are lots of things I don't manage to find time for, this is just something that I enjoy doing," she says. "I'm aware that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for ham sandwiches shaped like cats or bunnies made from eggs either! I don't believe any parent should feel guilty for not making these kinds of lunches."