The Week in Bentos: August 25-29, 2014

by Wendy Copley on September 2, 2014

Alrighty then! The second week of school has wrapped, as well as the long weekend. We were busy, busy, busy this weekend with Augie’s birthday (he turned 6!), time with friends and lots of projects around the house. Also, I stepped on a bee and my foot swelled up and itched like crazy. Yikes!

The bento report for last week is also jam-packed with a lunch and a snack for the boys every day. Here’s what they had:

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Strawberry Guys PlanetBox

On Monday I pulled out the PlanetBox Rover for Wyatt’s lunch. He had deli turkey roll-ups, apple chunks, lemon and herb popcorn (from Trader Joes), blueberries and strawberries with silly eye picks. I like the way the points of the strawberries ended up looking like noses!

Strawberry Guys Snack

Have I mentioned yet that Augie is not allowed to bring anything sugary into his classroom? Nothing — not even for birthdays! I don’t usually put a ton of sugar in my kids lunches/snacks (aside from fruit) but I do find it’s easy to send granola and cereal bars now and then and I like to bake for their lunches sometimes too. It’s not a huge problem or anything, but I’m having a little trouble adjusting to these new snack rules because some of the things I’m used to packing are off limits. And I’m not sure where the teacher draws the line. Is a whole grain muffin taboo? What about something like canned peaches? I don’t know! We also had a little trouble this week because Augie is so afraid he’s going to get in trouble for the wrong snack that he opted not to eat what I packed a few times. So frustrating!

Anyway, this week I hit on the idea of popcorn. It’s a whole grain, it’s fun and the kids love it. And as long as I stick with savory toppings it should be OK for snack. I’ve found I need to keep it separate from anything even vaguely moist so it doesn’t get soggy though. So for this snack I pulled out a set of cute nesting car boxes and put lemon butter popcorn in one and blueberries and strawberries with eye picks in the other.


Star Wars-ish Laptop Lunches bento

On Tuesday Wyatt asked my to pack his lunch in a Laptop Lunches box. He had an applesauce pouch, carrots, black bean dip (in the blue box), turkey meatballs, catsup for the meatballs in the green box, and lemon herb popcorn. I also included a few Clone Troopers rings because Wyatt was actually up for a little decoration in his lunch. Fun!

Iron Man Popcorn Snack

Augie had lemon-herb popcorn with an Iron Man ring for decoration and an applesauce pouch.


Mini Tacos in the Yumbox

On Wednesday, Wyatt had mini tacos (from the freezer), carrots, black bean dip, white cheddar popcorn, blueberries and strawberries. This was packed in our Yumbox Panino.

Panda Berries Snack Box

Augie’s snack was really simple — strawberries and blueberries with a piece of panda baran for decoration.


Simple Pasta and Applesauce Lunch

Dang! This lunch was so easy I felt sheepish taking a photo of it: leftover pasta in our LunchBots thermal jar and an applesauce pouch. That’s all. Lunch came home completely finished.

Popcorn Snacker

Augie’s snack was just as easy: white cheddar popcorn and an applesauce pouch. Boom! Done!


Lettuce Wraps in the EasyLunchboxes

Oh boy! Wyatt’s lunch on Friday was so yummy that I wanted the same thing, so I made it for myself at home! I gave him leftover minced turkey and veg along with some lettuce leaves for DIY Asian turkey lettuce wraps, dried pineapple rings (as sweet as candy) and a mess of blueberries. This was packed in an EasyLunchboxes bento box.

Blue Snack for Kindergarten

It was “blue” day at Kindergarten, so I made Augie a blue snack. Besides blueberries, there aren’t a whole lot of naturally blue foods so I relied on accessories a lot for this one. I poked a blue crayon pick into a few of the berries, then I filled a blue silicone cup with cucumber slices and layered a piece of baran on top that was shaped like a blue dog. Finally I filled a small blue Snoopy cup with a little hummus. I was pretty happy with the way it turned out!

Lots of Love Lunch for my Kindergartner

BONUS CUTE LUNCH: When I picked Augie up from Kindergarten he was feeling a little down. He’s been a trooper about all the changes that have occurred in the past few weeks, but with a new teacher, new school, new kids and new expectations it’s been a pretty stressful time for him. By Friday, he was worn out and having a hard time keeping it together so I decided to give him a little extra love with a special lunch.

First I made three heart-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in three different sizes. I did this so I would waste as little bread as possible, but I also liked the way it looked. Then I added a couple rings of dried pineapple and some strawberries. At the end I decided to cut a couple of the strawberries into heart shapes too, since I had the cutter out anyway.

I don’t usually get to see how Augie reacts when I make him a cute lunch so it was gratifying to see how excited he got when he came to the table to eat his meal. “You made a lunch with lots of hearts, Mom! I know what that means. It means you love me a lot!”

Right-o, Buddy Boy! That’s exactly what it means.

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  • Emily Cooper

    Aww, I’m tearing up at Augie’s comment. That must have been so nice to hear. My daughter is only 18 months, but I hope one day I get to hear that she recognizes the love I put into her lunches!

  • Jamanda17

    so cute and sweet! Love the simplicity 😉

  • polymathamy

    My first-grader had to bring a healthy snack every day for morning snack. Almost every single day, he brought Wheat Thins crackers and an applesauce pouch. Every now and then, we’d swap the Wheat Thins for Goldfish crackers or pretzels or Cheerios, and sometimes I added sliced cheese for the crackers. But it was usually the same thing every day, and he liked it that way.

  • Cristi-Lael

    Love those eye picks! And popcorn is a great idea for lunches! My 9 year old would probably let me put that in her lunch so I’ll finally get a break from having to give her pretzels every day. :o)

  • Lainey

    Hi Wendy… New to your blog, came across it trying to find lunch ideas for my 3.5 year old JK-er and feeling quite inspired since I ran into your blog. I need to get a bento box and considering the Yumbox Panio or the Laptop set. Leaning towards the Yumbox, can you weigh in please? Thanks!! Lainey

  • Danielle

    Is the sugary food rule impaired by the teacher? That doesn’t seem entirely appropriate, especially given the vagueness of the rule. It sound alike you have fabulous kids. Augie is a cute patoot.

  • Danielle

    That should say “imposed”, not impaired. iPhones are awful for commenting :/

  • I would go with the Yumbox for a kid that age. The lids on the inner containers and the latch on the outer case of the Laptop Lunches box can be a little tough to manage for little kids.

  • Chelsea Sieg

    Maybe ask the teacher to send home a list of what specific foods aren’t allowed? It’s not really fair if they don’t draw a clear line of what’s cool and what’s not.

  • Robyn

    heyyyyy Wendy!!!

    I have a question for you!

    We are a laptop lunch family and I have the cases to put the box in for easy carrying and whatnot….and dude…the cases SMELL BAD! I replaced one of them last year because it was so stinky…but now the replacement smells too! It smells like old pickles. not really shocking with the pickle consumption around here….but yuck!!

    So, how do you wash your cases? The insulated fabric-y part I mean. Do yours smell too?


  • Hi Robyn — I haven’t had a problem with our lunch bags getting stinky, but I can imagine this is a problem if you pack a lot of pickles! One thing I do is I swipe the inside of the bags with a soapy sponge daily and then give it a quick rinse under the faucet and let it dry. That keeps it from getting too gross in general. Also, before school started I washed all my lunch bags in the washing machine on the delicate cycle and then hung them outside to dry. Machine washing is not recommended, but it worked fine so I think I’m going to do that periodically.

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