The Week in Bentos: August 29-September 2, 2011

by Wendy Copley on September 2, 2011

We’re getting closer to a normal lunch schedule again, so there are lots of lunches this week. Augie finally started his normal preschool schedule on Thursday so I’ll be packing lunches for him four days a week going forward. Yay!


2nd Grader Bento #470

On Monday, Wyatt took the Laptop Lunchbox to school. This lunch box holds a bit more than our other boxes and it’s convenient because I can put enough food in it for lunch and his morning snack. He had strawberries, grapes, graham crackers, alphabet Cheez-its and Darth Vader and Yoda ham sandwiches.


I had nothing at all in the house to put in a lunch box on Tuesday, so Wyatt had school lunch. Cheesy beef soft tacos — I’m sure they were horrifying.


2nd Grader Bento #471

On Wednesday Wyatt’s lunch revolved around some leftover pulled bbq chicken that I heated up and put into the thermos. I also included some slider buns so he could make a couple little sandwiches and I rounded out the lunch with strawberries and a mini brownie bite. Wednesday was Augie’s birthday and I took the brownie bites to his preschool for a treat to share with the other kids. I snuck this one out of the box so Wyatt could have a little treat too. He told me that he said “Happy Birthday, Augie!” before he ate it.

Big Kid Snack #174

I also sent some goldfish crackers and grapes for his morning snack.

Practice Preschool Bento #140

Augie didn’t take his lunch to preschool on Wednesday, but he had a bento box at lunchtime. The teachers at his preschool help the kids with their lunches, but he’s expected to be more independent with his lunch than he was at day care, so I wanted to give him a practice run. I made him a bbq chicken sandwich too, and packed the rest of the box with tomatoes from our garden, a strawberry and some cheese crackers.

He very carefully instructed me to put his bento in his backpack and zip it up. Then he put his backpack on and walked from the kitchen to the living room and set up his lunch on the coffee table. Normally, he doesn’t get to eat anything messy in there, but he got a pass this one time because it was his birthday.

Lunch practice


First Day of Preschool Bento #141

Thursday was Augie’s first “official” day of preschool where he stayed the whole time. Since I’d had such good success with his lunch the day before, I packed nearly the same meal for him to take to school. He had tomatoes from the garden again, grapes, a strawberry, strips of deli turkey, soy cheese car cut-outs, and goldfish crackers. His teachers were impressed that he ate every bite.

Second Grade Bento #472

Wyatt also had turkey strips, strawberries, goldfish, garden tomatoes and a mini-bagel with cream cheese. He did not eat every bite.


Preschool Bento #142

Today, Augie had a ham and soy cheese airplane sandwich, grapes, honey wheat pretzel sticks and yellow tomatoes.

Second Grade Bento #473

Wyatt had ham and Laughing Cow cheese Batman sandwiches, grapes and pretzels. He had a cereal bar for his snack too.

This lunch was  a little smaller than the others I’ve packed this week because Wyatt is hardly eating his lunches at school. He says he is running out of time to eat because the second graders are seated after the first graders and have even less time to eat than they did last year. I’m sure part of the problem is that he’s chatting with his friends, but I’m guessing he’s losing at least 5 of the 20 minutes he has for lunch waiting to sit down. He is starving when he gets home from school and usually sits down and finishes his lunch first thing when he walks in the door. I’m sure that’s affecting his concentration in the afternoons. When will school districts learn that kids need more time to eat? I think these short lunches are really getting out of hand.

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  • Newman

    I agree…20 minutes for lunch is ridiculous! My daughter barely has time to breathe, let alone eat. She brings half her lunch home to eat after school because she does not have enough time to eat. I would rather pick her up ten minutes later if that meant she could finish eating at lunch time. We are teaching our kids that stuffing your face is a must and that can not be healthy for them…

  • Denise Proctor

    My K son complained about the time last year too when he was bringing back the majority of his lunch.  I think he is socializing some but part of it is the fact that the lunch time is entirely too short.  I don’t know how kids who get the school lunch have any time to eat at all.

  • Fuzzydolly

    Have you seen that Old Navy is selling shaped bento boxes this year? They have a monkey, frog, ladybug, and cat. They are 2 layers with snapping sides and are $5. Bought one to try out … hope it works well. They also have matching stainless drink bottles and backpacks.

  • No! I hadn’t seen that. I’m going to need to go check them out.

  • That’s one of the reasons I’m reluctant to have my son eat school lunch. I’m worried he won’t get to actually eat it!

  • Exactly! I also feel that socializing with your companions is an important part of a meal and that kids *should* have some time to talk and relax while they eat. People form connections and friendships when they eat together.

  • Karen

    I hear you about time for finishing lunch.  My 5th grader is barely eating anything this week, and he’s normally a HUGE eater.  Last year they had recess first and lunch second, and that helped a lot — he even finished lunch most days.  This year lunch is first, and today I think he ate 3-4 bites of noodles, and a fig newton.  He becomes a total Mr. Hyde when he doesn’t eat, so I pity his teacher.  

  • Suz

    I agree too! 20 (sometimes 15!) minutes to eat is barely enough time! I may be older then Wyatt and Augie, but I have 30 minutes and that’s the perfect amount of time. They should give them atleast  25+ minutes to eat!

  • Lauren

    Wow, only 20 min!? We had about half an hour and it still wasn’t enough time 🙁 It gets worse as you get older too because then people start doing school work, and study at lunch or they go to classrooms to finish tests or to the library to finish projects, etc. I knew people who didn’t eat at lunch (myself included) just to get stuff done. I’d always come home hungry after school. It’s a big problem that I think people overlook way too often. I hope that it changes in the future because it’s just ridiculous.

  • Amy

    Wendy, I agree that there isn’t enough time for lunch at school. I teach in a high school where the kids have 23 minutes for lunch. That includes the time for walking to the cafeteria, getting lunch, finding a seat AND eating. And we have about 550 kids at each of 4 lunches–some are eating at 11:30 and others have to wait until almost 2. My stepson takes his lunch because he says it saves him at least 15 minutes of standing in line and finding a seat.

  • Molly

    Hi Wendy, I have been following your blog for about a year, when I was looking for lunch blogs to get ideas.  I am not sure if I have commented before.

    I totally agree with you on the timeframe for lunch.  Our kids got 10 mins last year and 15 this year.  They totally want to go out to play so they would bring food home.  Or be starving when they got home.  I wish schools would allow more time for lunch.  I know my kids are chatty at home and totally do not eat quickly so I wonder what they are eating that I am packing.  They get a school lunch just like your son does, about 1-2x a week, mostly 1x a week, and we go over what the choices are that they can pick.  But I never really thought about it till you posted going to eat in Wyatt’s cafeteria with him one lunch time.  Then I really evaluated what food I was packing and made changes. 


  • Dutch Petra

    Wow, I pitty your kids. Out here (Netherlands) lunch is 1 hour. Some kids can go home and eat but some stay over at school and have time to eat and chat or play with the other kids. Most school don’t have a kitchen so the kids bring their own lunch.

    They have a morning break at 10 for 15 minutes to get out of the classroom. 

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