One of the most common comments I get when people find out that I make Wyatt bento boxes for preschool is, “Wow! You have too much time on your hands.” (Or sometimes I get the more polite, “I don’t know where you find the time.”)
The fact is, I actually don’t have too much time on my hands. I work more than 40 hours at my job most weeks. I have a family and a house to care for. The dishwasher always needs to be emptied and there is always laundry to be folded, hung out to dry, or both. I also try to shower and brush my hair on a regular basis.
My kid needs to eat lunch every day though and I’ve chosen to make it a priority to fix him a nutritious meal and present it in an attractive way. I think it’s fun and it really doesn’t take me very much longer to make him a bento box vs. putting everything in ziplocks and a brown bag, but even so, I look for ways to cut lunch prep time in the morning. (Remember that part about showering?) One of my main strategies for cutting preparation time is to partially assemble his lunch the night before.
Tuesday, I sent this lunch to preschool: chicken apple sausage, catsup, blueberry mini-muffin, white peaches and a half a banana.
Pre-assembly: Wyatt had a sausage for dinner the night before, so while I was putting his dinner together, I threw a second sausage in his lunch box. I also filled the catsup container, stuck the muffin in and got his juice container ready to go. I waited to add the fruit until morning because I needed to cut it up and I didn’t want it to brown.
Wednesday’s lunch was very simple: grapes, half a hot dog bun and some ham roll-ups.
Pre-assembly: I put the grapes in the silicon cup the night before. I also cut and rolled up the ham. All I added in the morning was the hot dog bun. Easy peasy!
There’s no picture for Thursday because we were in such a rush in the morning that I completely forgot to take one. I sent: turkey salami, another hot dog bun and some sliced plums from our neighbor’s tree.
Pre-assembly: I folded the salami up the night before (trust me — it was really quite lovely), then added the bun and the plum in the morning.
Here’s today’s (Friday’s) lunch:apple chunks, chicken apple sausage, corn muffin, catsup and a s’mores brownie. I wrapped the brownie up in lots of saran wrap in hopes that he’ll need the teacher’s help to open it. If he does, I’m pretty sure she’ll make him eat some of the other stuff before she’ll give it to him.
Pre-assembly: None. Wyatt was a total hand-full last night and it took both of us to get him into bed.