Bento Update: The Ones from Last Week

by Wendy Copley on July 14, 2011

My mom and dad were here visiting last week so we’ve been having lots of Grandma and Grandpa-style fun. I kept Wyatt out of camp and reduced Augie’s day care schedule, so I haven’t been packing many lunches. Still, I did put a couple of lunches together for August so I thought I’d share them before diving into our regular routine again next week.

Toddler Bento #128

First up: this cute little tofu-man lunch! I cut a couple of people out of tofu with a tiny gingerbread man cutter, flipped the tofu over to show the white side and decorated them with food safe markers.  I also added grapes, blueberries, soycatash, and a yaki onigiri rice ball from the freezer.

Toddler Bento #129

Here’s the other lunch I packed for my little buddy: soycatash, raspberries, blackberries, and funky pasta. I had already put the water and sauce on when I discovered that we didn’t have any normal pasta. I had to think fast, so I grabbed a couple of half-filled boxes of  lasagna noodles, broke them into pieces and cooked those. I actually liked it but I don’t think anyone else was super happy with it.

In other news, I’d also like to invite you to participate in a live chat with me and a bunch of other cool ladies in the Horizon Healthy Families Back to School Community tonight from 6-7 pm PDT. There will be discussion about saving money on back to school shopping, easy weeknight dinners, and a lots of prizes (like a $100 Target gift card). Join us!

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  • Hey hey hey!

    Post request!  Can you post more about the yaki onigiri rice ball?  How do you make it?  Does it all fall apart when the kiddos eat it?  What materials do you need for them?  You use them a lot and I think my kids would dig it…but how do I do it?!?  Help!

  • Hi Robyn! I buy them at Trader Joes. They don’t fall apart and Augie would eat 6 at a time if I let him. I’ve been experimenting with making them myself, but they’ve all turned out really yucky so far — all burned and crumbly. I’m not giving up though and I’ll post a tutorial if I can ever get it right.

  • Oh, also — they’re just rice with soy sauce! Should be easy, right? Sigh…

  • ahhh….Trader Joe’s…New York is SLOW to catch on to that little gem.  There is now one in Brooklyn but it’s a HIKE! 

  • Yeah, I always feel terrible when someone asks me for a product source and I have to tell them it’s from TJ’s. I know most people don’t have access to one and it can be frustrating, but we’re only a couple of blocks away so it’s our regular grocery store.

  • Taryn Heiner

    I have noticed you use a lot of baked tofu in your bento’s.  Do you cook it yourself and do you have a recipe?

  • I buy the baked tofu. I’ve tried making it and my kids didn’t like it. I’m hoping to try again soon though as their tastes change pretty frequently.

  • Anonymous

    Love these! I want to pack lunches for my kids more this upcoming school year. I am wondering about heating up foods – does your son not mind eating cold lasagna? I’m not sure my kids would be thrilled with cold whatever that we had hot the night before.

  • Erin M

    I have been looking for baked tofu, and I was excited to find some the other day. I’m concerned, though, that it’s flavored. (We haven’t tried it yet.) Is yours flavored, or is it just “baked”?

    Also, I too was wondering about the rice balls. I see that you say you bought them, but some of them in your pictures look like just rice, with no soy sauce, etc. Do you buy all of the rice balls you use?


  • My little guy’s daycare provider will heat things up for him. My big kid will eat most things cold, but for the stuff he likes hot (like pasta) I send it in a thermos.

  • Hi Erin — The tofu I buy is teriyaki flavored. There are a few other flavors the kids will eat too, but they like teriyaki the best so that’s what I usually get.

    As for the rice balls, the ones that are brown are purchased but I make the white ones myself using onigiri molds. You can see an example of what those look like up in the header picture (the pink star on a stick.)

  • Erin M


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