Preschool Bentos

by Wendy on April 25, 2008

Wyatt started preschool this week and for the first time ever, I’ve had to start packing him a lunch. This whole lunch thing has had me a little worried because we usually give him a hot lunch and we don’t have a lot of cold lunch ideas in our picky preschooler repetoire. I don’t know how I’m going to come up with lunch ideas four days a week. I can’t send him to school with PB&J every day can I? I have decided to make the best of it though. When Wyatt told me he wanted to have a “fancy lunch box” like mine I actually started getting excited. He’s been eyeing my bento supplies for a while now and loves to look at the little cups and bottles I use so I began to think that we could have some fun with these lunches. My Mr. Bento is waaaaaaay too big and holds too much food for him to eat so I knew we wouldn’t be going in that direction, but I convinced him to get a couple of smaller bento boxes that are made just for kids and he’s pretty thrilled with them.

Wyatt's bento box

We also got him some “juice box” type water bottles, some reusable ice packs and an insulated lunch box to carry it all in. It all fits together perfectly.

Bento in the lunch box

So here is what I’ve done so far for his lunches:

The first day I sent this lunch: strawberries, bread, white cheddar Cheez-its, Laughing Cow cheese and deli turkey rolled up real purty like.

He ate: strawberries, one chunk of bread, a wedge of cheese and one turkey roll-up thing.

He was so hungry when his dad picked him up at one (he’s only doing half-days this week) that Zach bought him a piece of pizza. I’ve decided he was just excited and that’s why he didn’t eat my nutritious and delicious lunch — not because it sucked.

Preschooler Bento #2: April 23, 2008

Wednesday I sent this: a chopped up cheese stick, lots of strawberries, gold fish crackers and a PB&J sandwich cut into heart and teddy bear shapes (because I love him).

He ate: everything but the gold fish! Score!

Preschooler Bento #3: April 25, 2008

Today’s lunch was: cheddar rice crackers, grapes, a cheese stick, and a turkey and Laughing Cow cheese sandwich cut into kitty, giraffe and cow(?) shapes. I put the smiley faces on the cat with catsup and as soon as I finished Wyatt told me he wanted angry faces on the cats. Oh well.

He ate: everything except one of the kitty sandwiches! Woooo! Go Mama!

I am finding this to be incredibly fun so far. I’m sure the thrill is going to wear off soon enough and packing a lunch will become its own form of drudgery, but for now it’s great.

I do still need more ideas for what to pack in his lunch though. I know I’ll always be able to put fruit, crackers, and some cheese in, but I’d love to have some other stuff that I can make ahead and just throw in there in the morning. I’ve seen some good tutorials on making and freezing rice in cute shapes and I’ve been thinking about making a batch of granola bars too. Anyone have some clever ideas?

For many more ideas for preschool lunches and bento boxes, please check out the bento category on my blog here. I’ve also answered some questions about the supplies I use for my bentos in a post over here. And I’m constantly adding photos to my preschool bento set over on Flickr, so you can see more ideas there.

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  • Shannon

    This is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. You win at mommy-dom!

  • Shannon

    This is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. You win at mommy-dom!

  • Your Mom

    Geesh! This is adorable. What kid wouldn’t love to open a surprise like this everyday. I throw an orange into my purse in the morning and hope for the best. You must think back on your own childhood and feel deprived. No way did I ever approach this level of clevrness and plain effort! Maybe it’s because you are pregnant. You ae the best.
    XXXX

  • Your Mom

    Geesh! This is adorable. What kid wouldn’t love to open a surprise like this everyday. I throw an orange into my purse in the morning and hope for the best. You must think back on your own childhood and feel deprived. No way did I ever approach this level of clevrness and plain effort! Maybe it’s because you are pregnant. You ae the best.
    XXXX

  • emily sparkle

    i want you to fix ME a baby bento!

  • emily sparkle

    i want you to fix ME a baby bento!

  • Aunt Linda

    Holy cow, you have taken preschool lunches to new heights. Actually, you have taken All lunches to new heights.
    I would share my culinary successes with you but it would be a wasted effort! Preschoolers are as different from one another as snowflakes. Plus, it’s a minute by minute game plan. I got faith in you Kiddo. You’ll keep coming up with creative ideas.

  • Aunt Linda

    Holy cow, you have taken preschool lunches to new heights. Actually, you have taken All lunches to new heights.
    I would share my culinary successes with you but it would be a wasted effort! Preschoolers are as different from one another as snowflakes. Plus, it’s a minute by minute game plan. I got faith in you Kiddo. You’ll keep coming up with creative ideas.

  • http://metropolitanmama.net/ Stephanie

    You are such a great mom! What kid wouldn’t *LOVE* a lunch like that?

  • http://metropolitanmama.net Stephanie

    You are such a great mom! What kid wouldn’t *LOVE* a lunch like that?

  • http://simpleanswerfortytwo.blogspot.com/ Annie

    Where did you get that darling lunchbox? Must have. I have a preschooler that did eat PBJ everyday. I’m praying she never catches sight of this!

  • http://simpleanswerfortytwo.blogspot.com/ Annie

    Where did you get that darling lunchbox? Must have. I have a preschooler that did eat PBJ everyday. I’m praying she never catches sight of this!

  • Nankins

    Where did you get the cut outs for those adorable sandwiches? I also loved the rolled-up lunch meat idea — try salami sometime too. Other great fruits that don’t turn brown or soggy — kiwi or mango. It is easy to throw a frozen gogurt in a lunch box too. Those cupcake snack holders are perfect — how do they not spill and are they the paper kind?
    Where can I get this double decker lunch box? They need to make it a little cooler, more hip though for my 6, 8 and 10 year old boys.

  • http://? Nankins

    Where did you get the cut outs for those adorable sandwiches? I also loved the rolled-up lunch meat idea — try salami sometime too. Other great fruits that don’t turn brown or soggy — kiwi or mango. It is easy to throw a frozen gogurt in a lunch box too. Those cupcake snack holders are perfect — how do they not spill and are they the paper kind?
    Where can I get this double decker lunch box? They need to make it a little cooler, more hip though for my 6, 8 and 10 year old boys.

  • http://www.onthedotcreations.typepad.com/ Julie

    Eeeek! I am so excited to find your blog today from a link at Tangled and True. I LOVE your lunchtime ideas, and you’ve inspired me to try some similar things for my 3 year old. I’ve added you to my Google Reader, so now I won’t miss any of your posts!

    Thanks for an inspiring blog!

  • http://www.onthedotcreations.typepad.com Julie

    Eeeek! I am so excited to find your blog today from a link at Tangled and True. I LOVE your lunchtime ideas, and you’ve inspired me to try some similar things for my 3 year old. I’ve added you to my Google Reader, so now I won’t miss any of your posts!

    Thanks for an inspiring blog!

  • http://www.babyccinoblog.com Esther (Babyccino)

    Absolutely amazing – I’m so impressed! I love your blog but above all I love the effort you put into preparing such great food for your son… You’re an inspiration!

  • http://www.babyccinoblog.com/ Esther (Babyccino)

    Absolutely amazing – I’m so impressed! I love your blog but above all I love the effort you put into preparing such great food for your son… You’re an inspiration!

  • http://www.myfamilylovesit.com/ Heather

    Well you have me thinking of how I can improve on my kids preschool snacks and prepare for my oldest starting kindergarten in Sept. One of my kids likes melon balls with kiwi sliced into circles as a school snack. I bet you could even cut cantaloupe in slices and use your cookie cutters to make shapes. You could do a bow-tie pasta/veggie salad? PB&J muffins?
    I also just found your blog on Tangled & True today.

  • http://www.myfamilylovesit.com Heather

    Well you have me thinking of how I can improve on my kids preschool snacks and prepare for my oldest starting kindergarten in Sept. One of my kids likes melon balls with kiwi sliced into circles as a school snack. I bet you could even cut cantaloupe in slices and use your cookie cutters to make shapes. You could do a bow-tie pasta/veggie salad? PB&J muffins?
    I also just found your blog on Tangled & True today.

  • http://creative-bubbles.blogspot.com/ Connie

    OMG! I am LOVING the baby bento! I have a picky 3 yr old and a not so picky 8 month old. I love the aestetics of your box and the variety. Where did you get the box? I found your blog from Tangled & True and am totally hooked on you! Love it and keep more posts coming!

  • http://creative-bubbles.blogspot.com/ Connie

    OMG! I am LOVING the baby bento! I have a picky 3 yr old and a not so picky 8 month old. I love the aestetics of your box and the variety. Where did you get the box? I found your blog from Tangled & True and am totally hooked on you! Love it and keep more posts coming!

  • Pingback: Preschool Bento Update | Wendolonia

  • kanch

    Hi, how do you manage to cut the sandwich into all these cute animal shapes? Where do you get the cutters for these shapes?

    Thanks.

  • kanch

    Hi, how do you manage to cut the sandwich into all these cute animal shapes? Where do you get the cutters for these shapes?

    Thanks.

  • Lisa

    Hi. i LOVE your site. I can’t wait to make my daughter lunch now when I send her off to pre-school. Do you cook your chicken sausage? I bought a whole bunch at Costco that says it is pre-cooked, but do you think I should heat it first? It seems to eat it straight out of the package.

  • Lisa

    Hi. i LOVE your site. I can’t wait to make my daughter lunch now when I send her off to pre-school. Do you cook your chicken sausage? I bought a whole bunch at Costco that says it is pre-cooked, but do you think I should heat it first? It seems to eat it straight out of the package.

  • http://www.wendolonia.com/ Wendy

    Kanch — I have a post about the supplies I use for my bentos over here: http://wendolonia.com/blog/2008/04/30/bento-supplies/ I talk about the cookie cutters I use for the sandwiches a bit on that page.

    Hi Lisa — I think we have the same sausages! Ours come from Costco too. I think they are safe to send straight out of the package as long as they say “fully cooked” on them, but I usually zap them in the microwave for a minute or so and then let them cool down before packing them just to be sure.

  • http://www.wendolonia.com Wendy

    Kanch — I have a post about the supplies I use for my bentos over here: http://wendolonia.com/blog/2008/04/30/bento-supplies/ I talk about the cookie cutters I use for the sandwiches a bit on that page.

    Hi Lisa — I think we have the same sausages! Ours come from Costco too. I think they are safe to send straight out of the package as long as they say “fully cooked” on them, but I usually zap them in the microwave for a minute or so and then let them cool down before packing them just to be sure.

  • elsierivera

    Wow! This is truly adorable! I love it. You Go Mom!!!

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    I'll back again for sure, thanks for great article :D

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  • http://www.medyumburak.com medyum

    This is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. You win at mommy-dom!

  • http://www.medyum.gen.tr medyum

    I' m so impressed! I love your blog but above all I love the effort you put into preparing such great food for your son..

  • Gingaling

    I just came across your blog while trying to figure out what to do with my soon to be preschooler who’s very picky about what she eats. Thank you so much for sharing this and in a artful way!

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  • Ggsteph

    where can i buy a bento box like this one please email me at ggsteph@hotmail.com

  • http://www.wendolonia.com/blog wcopley

    Hi Steph — I have a post all about boxes and sources here: http://wendolonia.com/blog/bento-box-basics/all-about-boxes/ Good luck finding one you like!

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