Monday, November 1, 2010

Bento Lunches

I don't know about you, but growing up, the biggest thing about going back to school was what kind of lunch box you would have.  My 5th grade year, Strawberry Shortcake was all the rage.  I even had a huge strawberry that I kept my characters in.  I think my mom still has it in a closet somewhere.  That year, I had a metal strawberry shortcake lunch box.  It was small and had 2 handles, much like a picnic basket.  It was the cutest thing.

In 6th grade, I believe I had a fabric lunchbox with a butterfly on the outside and it came with its own thermos.  Why any kid would want a thermos is beyond me.  I can't count on one hand how many times I took soup or some other hot food to school in that thermos.  Heck, I can't even remember how many times I actually carried the crazy thing for lunch. 

Since Timothy has started school, I've been making his lunch 2 days a week.  The first few days were interesting to say the least.  I don't remember what I sent.  I've slept since then.  I do remember packing WAY too much food, and I'm sure a lot of it was thrown away.  I've gotten better about how much I send because I've been paying better attention to WHAT he eats and HOW MUCH of it he eats.  Duh.

I've also recently discovered Bento lunches.  This is a Japanese way of packing a meal in a compact box but it has everything in it.  A well balanced meal in a small package.  THIS is what I needed to be able to pack Timothy's lunches for school.  Small containers with very concise foods in them.  Not too much fluff or stuff - just what he'll eat and package it in an entertaining way.

Now, by no means am I doing full blown Bento lunches yet.  My bento container for Timothy is a $1 sandwich container from WalMart.  In it, I use silicone muffin cups to separate things like cheese or veggies from everything else.  This is the idea behind Bento meals. I'll post some links later so you can see how they're SUPPOSED to look.  Plus, we're not of Asian descent and we don't eat the things that are typically in a Japanese Bento meal.  But that's the beauty of this - you make it your own and pack it how you want to.

Needless to say, I have had a ball doing Timothy's lunches since I discovered Bento.  I've been able to think of new things to send with him, of course, after doing a trial run at home.  I don't want to send something with him that he won't eat.  I don't want him to be hungry and I don't want it wasted either.

Usually his lunches consist of some sort of protein (ham or bologna usually), cheese, crackers or a tortilla roll up, fruit and veggies, and a sweet thrown in.  That covers all the bases.  And he usually eats most, if not all, of it.  I think by the time lunch rolls around, he's so hungry, he'd eat the crayons off the floor.

I found some great little slider rolls at the commissary this weekend and thought that I'd make him a bologna and cheese sammy with them.  I added some raisins with white chocolate chips, some carrots an cucumber with ranch dressing and some wheat thins.  I spruced up the sammy, too. 

What do you think?

My first attempt at making a face.  I decided not to go too crazy with it because I'm NOT an artist and I wanted Timothy to know what it was.  The mouth was actually a wrinkle in the bun itself, so I went with it.  The shiny stuff over the veggies is plastic wrap.  I'm hoping to keep the dressing inside the cup and not get it everywhere.  We'll see how it goes.  There are sauce containers for Bento boxes that you can purchase, but I don't know enough about them to know exactly what to get yet.  Sooo...I'll try wrapping with plastic wrap.  If that doesn't work, I'll come up with something else.

Timothy will also have a drinkable yogurt and some applesauce to eat tomorrow.  He'll be a happy boy!!

Here are some links to blogs where these amazing moms make bento lunches for their kids on a daily basis!  Check them out!

BentoLunch - This is Shannon in Dallas.  She makes wonderful bentos!

Another Lunch - This is Melissa - she's a mom of 4 who somehow finds time to make bentos for her kids!

A Pocket Full of Buttons - This is Stephanie - she's a military wife like me and loves making bentos for her entire family!

I hope you'll be inspired to try making bentos for your sweet family.  I can't wait to make them for both Timothy and Asher!



Mommyof2girlz said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by it is always great to meet another Military wife. I think your face sami is very cute!! Can't wait to see more yummy bentos :)

Kids Dream Work said...

Thanks for popping by at which brings me here too! What a clever way to go with the winkle of the bread itself for the mouth! Cute!