The Week in Bentos: July 15-18, 2008

by Wendy Copley on July 18, 2008

I am starting to feel like I’m getting in a rut with the lunches I’ve been sending off to preschool. I feel like I do OK with the different fruits, veggies and starches, but I seem to send the same proteins over and over and over. How many times have you all had to look at salami, a sausage or tofu chunks? I was sending PB&J too, but now Wyatt has decided that he doesn’t like sandwiches, so I’ve mostly pulled them from my repetoire. Anyone have any good ideas for proteins to try him out on? I’m all ears.

Preschooler Bento #42: July 15, 2008

I made all of Tuesday’s bento the night before because I had a dentist appointment first thing in the morning. I sent: pineapple chunks, zucchini-date bread (from Trader Joe’s), leftover rice and peas from dinner molded into teddy bear and heart shapes and salami roll-ups. He ate everything but the rice which is a little strange because he had three servings at dinner on Monday night. Maybe he doesn’t like the texture of the cold rice though. Or maybe all the other stuff filled him up.

Preschooler Bento #43: July 16, 2008

Wednesday I sent more pineapple and zucchini bread, tomatoes with a little strawberry balsamic vinegar on them and baked teriyaki tofu strips.

Preschooler Bento #44: July 17, 2008

I thought that Thursday’s bento was very pretty. I sent some peach slices, peas, a mini-blueberry muffin that I pulled out of the freezer and the perpetual favorite, salami. I hope I’m not clogging this kid’s arteries before he even hits age four…

Preschooler Bento #45: July 18, 2008

Friday’s lunch has a blueberry cereal bar (behind the divider), leftover cooked carrots from last night’s dinner and some ranch dip (in the pink container), a chicken apple sausage, some cheese stars for decoration and some sliced havarti cheese that I put in to stabilize everything else.

A couple of people have noticed that I’ve been using some new bento boxes for the last month or so, so I thought I’d show what they look like with the lid on.ย  I got two new boxes with lids that lock on at the Ichiban Kan store by my house. I like these maybe a bit more than the other boxes I have because they hold a bit more and it’s also easier to rearrange things in the boxes when I need to.

Preschooler Bento #42: July 15, 2008

I also wanted to show a picture of the drink boxes that we use. These are called Litterless Juice Boxes and they’re made by Rubbermaid. They’re the same size as a disposable juice box and you can just pour juice, milk or water into them. I really like them because it’s much cheaper to buy a big carton of juice than to buy a bunch of little boxes every week. I also can dillute the juice with water a bit so it’s not so sugary. And finally, it significantly cuts back on the amount of waste that’s generated by Wyatt’s daily lunches (though I do put a fresh straw in the juice box every day because I’m afraid of bacteria building up in the “permanent” straw that comes with the boxes).

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  • Proteins: how about kidney beans?

  • Proteins: how about kidney beans?

  • Aunt Linda

    For what it’s worth:
    Does Wyatt like pasta? I used to make stuffed rigatonis for your cousin Zack.

    Ricotta cheese
    1 egg
    1/4 C. wilted spinach leaves chopped fine
    1# loose meat or soy (turkey sausage?)
    seasoning

    Boil rigatonti and stuff with ricotta mixture. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes.

    I used to freeze these in small amounts and then defrost and reheat to put in lunches. They make a great finger food and have the protein of a meat plus an egg. (the spinach is a big bonus too)

    The reason you are in a rut with protein is because Wyatt is in a rut and will only eat certain things That’s too normal to comment on. You ultimately have to go with the things he will eat…. can arteries clog when an individual is moving at the speed of a 3 year old?

  • Aunt Linda

    For what it’s worth:
    Does Wyatt like pasta? I used to make stuffed rigatonis for your cousin Zack.

    Ricotta cheese
    1 egg
    1/4 C. wilted spinach leaves chopped fine
    1# loose meat or soy (turkey sausage?)
    seasoning

    Boil rigatonti and stuff with ricotta mixture. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes.

    I used to freeze these in small amounts and then defrost and reheat to put in lunches. They make a great finger food and have the protein of a meat plus an egg. (the spinach is a big bonus too)

    The reason you are in a rut with protein is because Wyatt is in a rut and will only eat certain things That’s too normal to comment on. You ultimately have to go with the things he will eat…. can arteries clog when an individual is moving at the speed of a 3 year old?

  • Aunt Linda

    P.S.
    Oops. I forgot to mention that the rigatonis are baked with a tomato sauce.

  • Aunt Linda

    P.S.
    Oops. I forgot to mention that the rigatonis are baked with a tomato sauce.

  • Selena

    where do you get those lovely rubber cupcake holder thingys? im sure you’ve told your readers at some point, but i’m a newbie!

  • Selena

    where do you get those lovely rubber cupcake holder thingys? im sure you’ve told your readers at some point, but i’m a newbie!

  • jen

    Do you get the salami at the deli or do you buy it packaged? Thanks for all of your great info. Jen
    jenrdh29@yahoo.com

  • jen

    Do you get the salami at the deli or do you buy it packaged? Thanks for all of your great info. Jen
    jenrdh29@yahoo.com

  • Selena — I got my silicon baking cups at Michael’s (with a 40% off coupon — whooo!), but you can find them at Target, cooking shops, craft shops and online pretty easily. You can read more about the bento supplies I use here: http://wendolonia.com/blog/2008/04/30/bento-supplies/

    Jen — I just buy packaged salami. I try to get turkey or low-fat salami when I can, but it’s often difficult to find.

  • Selena — I got my silicon baking cups at Michael’s (with a 40% off coupon — whooo!), but you can find them at Target, cooking shops, craft shops and online pretty easily. You can read more about the bento supplies I use here: http://wendolonia.com/blog/2008/04/30/bento-supplies/

    Jen — I just buy packaged salami. I try to get turkey or low-fat salami when I can, but it’s often difficult to find.

  • Tami

    I just came across your blog via the bento group on Flickr. It’s fun!

    Does your little boy like hard boiled eggs? or the egg whites of hard boiled eggs? I’ve never been able to stomach the yolk but when I was a kid (and now too) I loved hard boiled egg whites with a little bit of soy sauce. Deviled eggs with low fat mayo or yogurt are a favorite of my friend’s 5 year old. You can also get low fat turkey pepperoni, that’s pretty good, in the prepackaged deli area at Safeway.

    Does he like chicken or Salmon? Trader Joe’s has precooked salmon and chicken that’s good cold. They keep it near the Tofu at the one by my house.

  • Tami

    I just came across your blog via the bento group on Flickr. It’s fun!

    Does your little boy like hard boiled eggs? or the egg whites of hard boiled eggs? I’ve never been able to stomach the yolk but when I was a kid (and now too) I loved hard boiled egg whites with a little bit of soy sauce. Deviled eggs with low fat mayo or yogurt are a favorite of my friend’s 5 year old. You can also get low fat turkey pepperoni, that’s pretty good, in the prepackaged deli area at Safeway.

    Does he like chicken or Salmon? Trader Joe’s has precooked salmon and chicken that’s good cold. They keep it near the Tofu at the one by my house.

  • Tami

    Me again. Why are bento boxes controversial? I haven’t heard that before. Of course, I only make them for myself and my husband. We don’t have kids.

  • Tami

    Me again. Why are bento boxes controversial? I haven’t heard that before. Of course, I only make them for myself and my husband. We don’t have kids.

  • Hi Tami — Thanks for all the protein suggestions. Part of the problem I have coming up with new proteins to include in my son’s lunches is that this is one area where he’s really picky. He won’t eat eggs, fish or chicken. What kid doesn’t like chicken nuggets? My kid, that’s who. We can sneak chicken by him if it’s mixed into something like sausage or taquitos though, as long as we don’t call it “chicken”. It’s sneaky, but if it works, I’ll try it. I’ll have to check out that turkey pepperoni — that sounds like it’s right up his alley.

    The comment about bentos being controversial stems from the comment war that occurred on this post: http://wendolonia.com/blog/2008/05/14/preschool-bento-update/ Things got a little out of control. I personally don’t think bentos are controversial at all, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi Tami — Thanks for all the protein suggestions. Part of the problem I have coming up with new proteins to include in my son’s lunches is that this is one area where he’s really picky. He won’t eat eggs, fish or chicken. What kid doesn’t like chicken nuggets? My kid, that’s who. We can sneak chicken by him if it’s mixed into something like sausage or taquitos though, as long as we don’t call it “chicken”. It’s sneaky, but if it works, I’ll try it. I’ll have to check out that turkey pepperoni — that sounds like it’s right up his alley.

    The comment about bentos being controversial stems from the comment war that occurred on this post: http://wendolonia.com/blog/2008/05/14/preschool-bento-update/ Things got a little out of control. I personally don’t think bentos are controversial at all, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Toni

    Hi there. I just found your blog while I was looking for ideas on how to pack lunches for my daughter who starts kindergarten in the fall. I found this recipe a few days ago that I might try to pack. Does he like peanut butter?

    <!–peanut butter protein ballsSee peanut butter protein balls on Key Ingredient.<!–

  • Toni

    Hi there. I just found your blog while I was looking for ideas on how to pack lunches for my daughter who starts kindergarten in the fall. I found this recipe a few days ago that I might try to pack. Does he like peanut butter?

    <!–peanut butter protein ballsSee peanut butter protein balls on Key Ingredient.<!–

  • Tami

    Wow. You’d think you were trying to take over the world by Bento.

    I’m half Japanese (mom’s side) and my mom made me Bento’s everday. There weren’t many non-white people where we lived. It was the highlight of my day and my friends always wanted to see what was in my bento. She did it well into elementary school. She even did it a few times in highschool. I still had those same friends and we’d all talk about how I had those lunches when we were kids. Of course, like one commentor, I’m from Canada.

    I also ended up a very creative person who loves to cook. So a cute and creative lunch didn’t screw me up ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tami

    Wow. You’d think you were trying to take over the world by Bento.

    I’m half Japanese (mom’s side) and my mom made me Bento’s everday. There weren’t many non-white people where we lived. It was the highlight of my day and my friends always wanted to see what was in my bento. She did it well into elementary school. She even did it a few times in highschool. I still had those same friends and we’d all talk about how I had those lunches when we were kids. Of course, like one commentor, I’m from Canada.

    I also ended up a very creative person who loves to cook. So a cute and creative lunch didn’t screw me up ๐Ÿ™‚

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