When I decided to stop posting my weekly bento round-ups at the beginning of the year I had the best intentions. I was still going to post round-ups but they would be themed and extra informative. They were going to be the BEST BENTO ROUND-UPS EVER!!
But here we are — in the middle of May — and I’ve barely posted anything at all this year. The truth is that I’m off my bento game at the moment. Mornings are rushed, the kids are being picky about food and I just don’t have the gumption to pack super cute lunches at the moment. It’s all good though. I’m still packing the kids bento lunches every day and I still make them cute sometimes — they’re just leaning more toward low-key than they are toward super fly. Here are some of my favorites from the past few months:
First up is one of the fanciest lunches in the bunch. I promise that the rest of these lunches are not this decorative!
I packed this Star Wars bento in our LunchBots Cinco for Augie. All those little compartments are fun to fill! It had pretzel thins, blackberries with a clone trooper ring, a clementine with a Yoda ring (I put the orange in a silicone baking cup so it wouldn’t roll around), cucumbers, sugar snap peas with a Luke Skywalker pick, and sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches in Chewbacca and R2-D2 shapes. (The cutters are no longer available but you can sometimes find them on eBay.)
Wyatt has newly rediscovered his love of bagels and cream cheese so I’ve been packing them in his lunch quite a bit recently. This lunch is a great example of the way I’ve been packing them. He doesn’t usually eat a whole big bagel, so I generally cut them in half, or I get the mini kind. Typically they are filled with cream cheese, but sometimes I give him jam or sunbutter or both. The sides in this lunch were carrots, a mandarin orange, kiwi chunks and some Chex Sweet and Salty mix (we received a bag of the Chex Mix as a free sample and it was delicious). This was packed in our Yumbox Panino. I used the same silicone cups to keep the carrots and orange from flying all over.
One delightful turn of events in the past couple months is that my boys have started to eat (nearly) identical lunches. Halle-freakin’-lujah! For many years, they had almost completely opposite likes and dislikes, but now they are starting to even out a bit so now I can pack them twin lunches which saves me a lot of time in the mornings. Yay! For these lunches they had veggies (cukes for Augie and radish for Wyatt), blackberries, leftover roast chicken, a half croissant, a little jam (in Snoopy and Lego containers) and a few Doritos for a treat. Both lunches were packed in EasyLunchboxes containers.
This was another simple lunch, but it was a big hit. Blood oranges, pretzel thins, deli ham roll-ups, bean dip in a Lego cup, a couple radishes and some carrots. I also added in a Chia Squeeze. They were a Costco impulse buy but the boys loved them and they went really fast. This was packed into a LunchBots Quad.
At one point, Wyatt asked me to pack him a salad for lunch. Um…OK! He had caesar salad (dressing on the side), a little deli turkey, a kiwi and a Z Bar all packed into an EasyLunchboxes bento box. From looking at the archives of my bento box gallery I can see I’ve packed Wyatt a salad a few times before, but this is definitely not a regular thing and it’s never been the main focus of his lunch before.
Speaking of Wyatt, he has started packing his own lunch more frequently. On days when I am really rushed in the morning I’ve started giving him the option to eat a cafeteria lunch or pack his own lunch box. He almost always chooses to make his own lunch on those days and he’s pretty good about following the rules (at least one fruit or veggie, protein, only one treat). On this particular day he pulled out our blue Yumbox Panino and filled it with a blueberry scone, salami, blackberries and a couple juju hearts. I would have liked it if he’d added a veggie too, but it wasn’t too bad!
Oh, and he took the photo of his lunch too!
Here is a hearty snack I packed for Augie to eat at kindergarten. He has been eating a TON lately, so I’ve started making an effort to give him more filling food in his snacks. This one featured a new favorite: crescent rolls filled with ham and cheese. (There were blood orange slices and carrots too.)
The rolls are dead simple to make. In fact, I taught Wyatt how to make them and he has made a batch before school in the morning several times now. Basically, you just start with a package of refrigerated crescent roll dough, but before you roll them up — when they are still flat triangles on the cookie sheet — you add a strip of deli ham and a small sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Roll them up into crescent shapes and bake as you normally would.
This was packed in our Steeltainer snack box.
This Valentine’s lunch was kind of fun because I included a couple of hidden treats in it. There were leftover chicken chunks from out dinner, heart-shaped radish slices and an apple with a heart cut out of it. I also tucked some bacon jerky into the chicken compartment which is kind of hard to see. Finally, I put a couple of Hershey’s kisses in the bottom of the last compartment and then covered them up with a little Pirate’s Booty. Sneaky! (This was packed in our LunchBots Quad.)
Another thing I’ve occasionally been adding to the lunch boxes? Taquitos! This was a special request of Wyatt’s because he has a friend who brings them in his lunch pretty frequently and they are a favorite of the entire lunch table now. I got bean and cheese ones at Trader Joes but you can find similar ones in just about any grocery store, I think. I warmed them up in the microwave, then lined one of the inner containers of our Laptop Lunches box with foil to help retain the heat. I put another piece of foil on top of the taquitos, then put the lid on the container. The kids said they were sort of warm still at lunch time. The rest of this lunch had a clementine, cookies in an ELB mini dipper, carrots and hummus and white cheddar popcorn.
And finally, I want to show you a lunch that resulted in me being referred to as the “best mom ever”! Woot! I’d like to think it was because I’m so sweet and patient with my kids, but really it was just because of pizza. I cooked a couple of mini frozen pizzas while I was washing dinner dishes, then let them cool off in the fridge overnight. In the morning I packed them into our new Bentology bento box along with multi-colored tomatoes, sugar snap peas, grapes and white cheddar popcorn. The giraffe picks are just there for a little fun.
And if you are wondering why the Bentology box looks so much like the Laptop Lunches boxes you see us use so often, it’s because Laptop Lunches has rebranded and is now called Bentology. You can get a preview of their new look here, but until they have completed the transition their store is still located on their original web site. And if you’re curious about the new look of their bento boxes, stay tuned for a review in the coming weeks!
What have you been packing in your lunch boxes?