The Week in Bentos: February 28 – March 4, 2011

by Wendy Copley on March 4, 2011

I took a little unannounced blog break last week because the kids were off school/day care for winter break. Honestly, I kind of forgot it was coming until it was upon us! No school means no packed lunches, so I didn’t have anything to show you at the end of the week. This week we were back to our old routine though:

Monday

First Grade Bento #421: February 28, 2011

Monday’s 1st grade lunch was packed in our old pal, the Laptop Lunch Box. It held orange wedges, deli turkey roll-ups, raisins, goldfish crackers and a mini bagel with a little pot of strawberry cream cheese. I included a butter spreader too, so Wyatt could put the cream cheese on the bagel.

I’ve had a couple questions over the past few months about how I pack the kids’ bento boxes up to send them to school, so this week I thought I’d take a few pictures of the lunches after they were packed and ready to go into the backpacks.

First Grade Bento #421: In the lunch bag

When I pack the Laptop Lunch Box, I put it in our Laptop Lunches bag. Ours is the old style bag and it came as part of our Laptop Lunch system when I originally bought it, but you can buy them individually too. The lunch box goes inside the bag, along with one of our Crocodile Creek water bottles. We have two styles — the Solar System you see pictured above and a cool safari animal one. Technically each bottle belongs to one of the boys, but we use them interchangeably and I’m not actually sure which one goes with which kid any more. It’s a tight squeeze to get the box and the water bottle in this bag, but I make them fit. I also put an ice pack in the bag every day.

Tuesday

Toddler Bento #93: March 1, 2011

On Tuesday, my toddler’s bento box held a piece of Trader Joe’s onigiri (rice ball), soycatash, cubed baked tofu and strawberries.

Toddler Bento #93: In the lunch bag

His lunches are packed in a Thermos Raya cooler. The bento box goes in the bag, along with a Rubbermaid Litterless Juice Box filled with soy milk and a sippy cup.

Toddler Bento #93: In the lunch bag

Augie’s daycare provider heats up his lunch for him — which is why you’ll often see still-frozen veggies in his lunches — and his lunch box is stored in her refrigerator after he arrives. Even so, I always include an ice pack with his lunch just in case it accidentally gets left out on a counter or something.

Don’t play around with food safety, folks! We don’t want our little ones getting food poisoning!

First Grade Bento #422: March 1, 2011

Wyatt’s lunch was packed in an Easy Lunchbox: a teeny little apple that I cut in half (it was just a smidge too wide to fit in the box without cutting it), jelly sandwiches cut into a W shape, cubed tofu and strawberries.

First Grade Bento #422: In the lunch bag

This lunch box was also packed into the Laptop Lunch bag. I received an Easy Lunchbox cooler bag when I reviewed the product, but it has since been left on a train, never to be seen again. This style of lunch box fits fine in our existing bag though so I haven’t bothered to order a new bag.  Despite how it looks in this photo, I can also fit a water bottle in the bag with a box and still get it zipped shut.

Wednesday

Toddler Bento #94: March 2, 2011

On Wednesday, Augie ate halved yellow tomatoes, turkey meatballs, grapes (also halved because of the choking hazard they present) and chopped steamed potatoes leftover from dinner the night before.

Wyatt ate school lunch.

Thursday

1st Grade Bento #423: March 3, 2011

On Thursday, Wyatt had a chunk of baguette, grapes, a yogurt tube (in the silverware compartment), whole grain pretzel nuggets, baked tofu and a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese.

The baguette was included in a gift bag I received when I attended a party for the Bay Area debut of the Fresh & Easy grocery store chain on Wednesday night. Long-time readers might be amused to know that after I sent my kid off to school with this bread I read the package and realized that it was par-baked and I was supposed to brown it in the oven for a few minutes to finish it off. Oops. This is not the first time I’ve done this.

Friday

First Grader Bento #424: March 3, 2011

On Friday, my six-year-old’s lunch consisted of a bagel, a little bit of strawberry cream cheese (in the green pot), the grapes from Thursday’s lunch that he didn’t eat, a turkey hot dog (nitrate and nitrite free), some goldfish crackers and a hand full of grape tomatoes that I can pretty much guarantee he won’t eat.

First Grader Bento #424: In the lunch box

This was all packed into the Lego bento box, which went into our other Thermos cooler bag (which is no longer available from what I can tell). You can see from the photo that I put two bento belts on it today. Normally I just use one, but this lunch was packed pretty full, so I wanted some extra muscle to keep it closed. I also packed a spreader for the cream cheese, a Fresh & Easy granola bar (also a freebie) and a water bottle with diluted apple juice in it.

First Grader Bento #424: In the lunch box

And as usual, I put an ice pack on top of the whole thing. Safety first!

What kind of boxes, bags and other gear do you use for sending lunches to school?


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  • Foodfortheboys

    Just a question, why do you pack the cream cheese seperate rather than just spreading it on the bagel yourself and then packing it? My kids have so littlte time to eat that I usually avoid things like that. Does he enyoy spreading the cream cheese himself? Does it get too soggy if you spread it earlier?

    I love looking at your lunches.

  • 999bunny999

    i like reading your blog, but i find it very confusing the way you refer to your children. you say my 1st grader, my toddler, my 6 year old, augie, wyatt, etc. it makes it sound like you have 6 kids! we know the names of your boys, please make it easier on us and use their names. thanks!

  • OK Bunny — that cracked me up! The reason I’ve been doing that lately is because I often get questions about how old my kids are, what grade they are in, etc. so I was trying to kind of slip the answers to those questions into the posts. Maybe I just need to put it in the FAQ. đŸ™‚

  • He does enjoy spreading the cream cheese himself, but I’m also trying to minimize the mess in the lunch box. I haven’t actually tried sending the bagel with the cream cheese on, but I’m guessing it would go everywhere.

  • These lunches look great! We love seeing your Laptop Lunches creations.

  • Scoutcoupon

    Love your blog. I see you pack baked tofu for your kids’ lunches. Looks yummy. Do you have a recipe to share?

  • Carrie

    as always, looks like a great week. I’m so jealous of your school that actually heats up lunches. We actually got a special notice from our school to “please peel your oranges before sending them to school. We do not do food prep.” OK!

  • i always check in to look at your fabulous bento box creations. I am hoping that one day I will gather the motivation and boxes to make my own for my twin 1st graders. I think the lego bento box would be enough to make them try it.

    I like the trying to read 12 books in a year. I really enjoyed Just Kids by Patti Smith. I always pick books that are too long and the reading of them ends up spreading into months. I am also reading the journals of Wanda Gag who was the woman who wrote and illustrated the kids’ book Millions of Cats. Fascinating woman!

  • Talktoamy

    I was surprised at the picture of the pointy spreader for the cream cheese – I was expecting a rounded cocktail-type cheese spreader!

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