The Week in Bentos: July 8-11, 2008

by Wendy Copley on July 11, 2008

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.

Preschooler Bento #39: July 8, 2008

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.

Preschooler Bento #40: July 9, 2008

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.

Preschooler Bento #41: July 11, 2008

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.

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  • I do love these pics! Quite inpirational! I don’t wonder where you find the time (like you said, you have to make the lunch one way or another, so why not do it this way?). I wonder about the backgrounds. Are they napkins? Paper? Do share!

  • I do love these pics! Quite inpirational! I don’t wonder where you find the time (like you said, you have to make the lunch one way or another, so why not do it this way?). I wonder about the backgrounds. Are they napkins? Paper? Do share!

  • How many Bento boxes do you have? Where, have you found, the best places to get the ‘accessories’ as well as boxes?

  • How many Bento boxes do you have? Where, have you found, the best places to get the ‘accessories’ as well as boxes?

  • Sharon — Thanks for the nice comment. The backgrounds are pieces of scrapbook paper (my other hobby).

    Hi Helen — We have four bento boxes now. I get everything (boxes and accessories) at Ichiban Kan (http://www.ichibankanusa.com/). I’m lucky to live by one of their stores, but they also sell online and they have some of the best prices around.

  • Sharon — Thanks for the nice comment. The backgrounds are pieces of scrapbook paper (my other hobby).

    Hi Helen — We have four bento boxes now. I get everything (boxes and accessories) at Ichiban Kan (http://www.ichibankanusa.com/). I’m lucky to live by one of their stores, but they also sell online and they have some of the best prices around.

  • I was wondering if you do anything to your fruit to keep it from browning? I have heard of using vitamin c powder from capsules (but I cannot find it anywhere).

  • I was wondering if you do anything to your fruit to keep it from browning? I have heard of using vitamin c powder from capsules (but I cannot find it anywhere).

  • Hi Gretchen — The only fruits I pack that brown are apples and bananas. Everything else holds up pretty well. I’ll occasionally dip the apples in pineapple juice to keep them from browning and I’ve learned to leave the peels on the bananas.

  • Hi Gretchen — The only fruits I pack that brown are apples and bananas. Everything else holds up pretty well. I’ll occasionally dip the apples in pineapple juice to keep them from browning and I’ve learned to leave the peels on the bananas.

  • jen

    You have totally inspired me to look into this option. I have a couple of questions. I want ot do this for my dd’s lunch at preschool, but they arent really careful about storing the container right side up. Do you have much trouble with spills or it all toppling over if not carefully kept upright?
    Also, what kind of chicken suasage do you use? I have had no luck finding it anywhere here in my town in OK. Thanks so much. Jen
    jenrdh29@yahoo.com

  • jen

    You have totally inspired me to look into this option. I have a couple of questions. I want ot do this for my dd’s lunch at preschool, but they arent really careful about storing the container right side up. Do you have much trouble with spills or it all toppling over if not carefully kept upright?
    Also, what kind of chicken suasage do you use? I have had no luck finding it anywhere here in my town in OK. Thanks so much. Jen
    jenrdh29@yahoo.com

  • Jen: Trader Joe’s has some great sausage options. Costco also has some from Adele’s (all natural).
    Thanks Wendy the tips. It’s a big help!

  • Jen: Trader Joe’s has some great sausage options. Costco also has some from Adele’s (all natural).
    Thanks Wendy the tips. It’s a big help!

  • Hi Jen — Sarah and I must shop at the same stores because I get my sausages at TJ’s and Costco, too. I’m not completely sure about how my son’s lunches look by the time he opens them because I’m not there with him, but it seems like they hold up OK. One of the keys to packing a bento is to fill it up and pack it pretty tightly so things can’t shift around a lot in the box.

  • Hi Jen — Sarah and I must shop at the same stores because I get my sausages at TJ’s and Costco, too. I’m not completely sure about how my son’s lunches look by the time he opens them because I’m not there with him, but it seems like they hold up OK. One of the keys to packing a bento is to fill it up and pack it pretty tightly so things can’t shift around a lot in the box.

  • Hi Wendy,
    My oldest son will start Kindergarten in a month and I was convinced into buying a laptop lunchbox for him (I’ll get it in the mail tomorrow and he’s so excited for it to come). The blog that recommended the lunchbox also had a link to the Kid Eats pool in Flickr. I would have to say that I’ve really gotten some great ideas from your lunches!
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Hi Wendy,
    My oldest son will start Kindergarten in a month and I was convinced into buying a laptop lunchbox for him (I’ll get it in the mail tomorrow and he’s so excited for it to come). The blog that recommended the lunchbox also had a link to the Kid Eats pool in Flickr. I would have to say that I’ve really gotten some great ideas from your lunches!
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  • jen

    Wendy and Sarah, thanks for the info. I don’t have either of those stores here. I live in a town right by Tulsa, and haven’t seen it in any of the major stores here. I will do some more investigating…. 🙂 Jen

  • jen

    Wendy and Sarah, thanks for the info. I don’t have either of those stores here. I live in a town right by Tulsa, and haven’t seen it in any of the major stores here. I will do some more investigating…. 🙂 Jen

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