Preschool Bento Update

by Wendy Copley on May 14, 2008

I thought I’d give a little update on how the lunches I’m packing for preschool are working out. Here are some of the lunches I’ve made in the past few weeks:

Preschooler Bento #4: April 28, 2008

This lunch had banana bread, turkey roll-ups, cheese men, watermelon chunks and a home-made granola bar. I made the cheese men by folding over a slice of muenster cheese and using little cookie cutters to cut the men out. I “drew” the faces on with a toothpick.

Preschooler Bento #5: April 30, 2008

Here we have PB&J on wheat bread, grapes, cheddar cheese cubes and cherry tomatoes with a little bit of balsamic vinegar. You’ll notice that I try to get at least one fruit or veggie in each lunch along with something bread-like, a bit of protein and some calcium. I’m also trying to get a mix of colors and textures in each lunch.

Preschooler Bento #7: May 6, 2008

This is one of my favorites. I sent a Babybel cheese with a teddy bear cut out of the wax, salami (one of his favorites) grapes and a mini cinnamon raisin bagel. To cut the bear, I took a small cookie cutter and pressed it into the wax on the cheese — far enough that it cut into the cheese a little. Then I just pulled out the cookie cutter and peeled the cut out shape off the cheese. It’s super easy and soooo cute.

Preschooler Bento #6: May 1, 2008

This lunch had turkey and cheese roll-ups, a silicon baking cup full of Cheerios, Cheez-its, strawberries and another baking cup full of yogurt. I put a happy banana food divider on top of the yogurt to minimize “sloshing”.

We got off to a great start with the lunches, but then the amount Wyatt was eating started to taper off to pretty much nothing. When we opened his lunch box up the day I sent the yogurt lunch for example, there was nothing gone from it — at least nothing I could identify. He often will eat some of his lunch when he gets home from preschool, but by five o’ clock many of the foods are no longer safe to eat, so I was finding myself throwing out more and more food. That kind of food waste was really starting to get to me, so on the advice of his preschool teachers, a kind commenter on Flickr and my own logical brain I decided to start packing less food for him. I’ve been limiting myself to one tier in his bento every day for the past few days and it’s been working out pretty well. Even though I’m sending less food, he is eating more. I’m thinking now that the bigger bentos were just a bit too overwhelming.

Preschooler Bento #9: May 9, 2008

Here we have a half PB&J cut into strips, cheese stars, strawberries and multigrain crackers.

Preschooler Bento #10: May 13, 2008

This one has grapes, a mini-blueberry muffin, salami and more multi-grain crackers. The mini muffin is from Trader Joes and these have been the hit of this week. The TJ’s muffins are basically little pieces of cake though, so I think I will make some home-made mini muffins to have a little more control over how much sugar goes into them.

Preschool Bento #11: May 14, 2008

This is today’s lunch: turkey hot dog cut in half length-wise and then into chunks, ketchup for dipping in the pink container, apple chunks and another mini muffin. The hot dog is new and I’m hoping the novelty (and the beloved ketchup) will get him excited enough to eat it.

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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