I love fruit, but when it comes to feeding my little one her lunch, the first thing she'll eat is the fruit. Many times she will only eat the fruit and claim to be "all done" before she touches any of the other healthy foods on her plate. So, it is absolutely essential for me to limit the amount of fruit she has during her meals. One way that I do this (which also happens to be a wonderful way to make your fruit last all week long without buying a ton of it) is cutting the fruit into shapes that contour to the lunch boxes a little better.
Strawberries are great fillers, and are great for adding a pop of color to your bento. I slice several long cuts from the top of the strawberry through to the bottom. I make sure they are all parallel, and about a 1/4" thick, but really it doesn't need to be perfect. Be sure to leave about a 1/4" of the berry uncut below the green stem, or the strawberry will fall apart.
Add a touch of pressure with a gentle squeeze and help the fan shape with your fingers. Not only is this pretty, but it helps the strawberry have some flexibility when you put it in your bento box along with other foods.
I like naval oranges. These ones are pretty big, so I get more mileage out of them. I start by cutting off the two ends. Be sure to cut the navel end, and the end where the stem used to be. That makes it so you can see the center of each slice, and it is easier to eat. Next, I cut it in half going parallel with the previous cuts.
Now I cut the halves again, so I have four rounds. With each round, I slice it in half (you'll end up with two half circles), and it is ready to go into my bento box.
* If you are going to make a fruit salad, you can easily peel off the rind, and cut the oranges into bite-sized pieces. I also save the top and bottom that I cut of first, and squeeze the juices into the mix. MMMM!*
Here they are, side by side in my daughter's German lunch box. There is enough room for a sandwich if it is cut diagonally, or in fun shapes (hint: check out my next blog to see the sandwich I added to this particular box). With this lunch box, the lid is as deep as the bottom, so the possiblility of food flying around during transport is pretty high. That is why I reserve this box for sandwiches or leftover pizza. They won't be too damaged if they move around a bit. Neither will the fruit!