Although my daughter is in daycare full time year round, I still get the back-to-school bug.  I think with September around the corner, it’s hard not to think of a fresh start when it comes to routines.  One routine I want to shake up is our box lunch routine.  My two goals for this fall season: 1. Pack more the night before to help get out the door faster and 2. Offer more variety.  I also want to start packing more lunches for myself and husband, as it’s typically healthier and more affordable than buying it.

I was excited by this picture to learn more about Bento boxes, which refers to a Japanese packed meal.  There are dividers for keeping food separate, and also artfully arranged.

photo from Alpha blog and guest writer Wendolonia

I read am amazing post at Alpha Mom’s blog (written by guest poster Wendolonia) and it inspired me to rethink how I currently pack lunches.  If I can manage to pack our lunches the night before, I could actually put something like this together.  My daughter is 19 months and very happy with lots of choices for lunch.  A bento box is a great option for small fingers, especially the adorable floral cutouts of bread and cheese! (I would save the leftover bread and use for breadcrumbs) I found these similar flower cookie cutters at Amazon: Kaiser Bakeware Flower Cookie Cutter, Set of 6.  This post also made me rethink cold cuts, as the presentation is much more appetizing than a traditional sandwich.  Since presentation is half the fun with a bento box, the silicon baking cups below are a great idea for housing small fruits or veggies.

Wilton Easy Flex Silicone 3-Inch Reusable Baking Cups, 12 Count
I need to find the right container to put together a Bento box lunch.  All the items inside need to fit tightly so your pretty presentation doesn’t fall apart in transit.  If anyone is already making Bento box lunches, I would appreciate your feedback on the container you use.  For further info on creatively making Bento boxes, check out Wendolonia’s blog.
Having a couple of go-to items to pack when time is tight is essential.  My favorites right now are the Plum Organics Mish Mash fruit (Plum Organics Mish Mash, Strawberry, 3.17-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 16)) and the GoodOnYa Bar.  You can purchase a sample set of the GoodOnYa Bar for $10, and get free using the code: FREESHIPSAMPLER. The organic bars are a great addition to the grown-ups lunch boxes.  Plus, for every sampler of theGoodOnYa bar sold, Open Sky will donate $1 towards the Lunch Box Project. The Lunch Box Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering families, schools, and producers to help offer more nutritious and whole foods to school children.
In order to help me meet my goal of more variety, I have been reading more food blogs lately for inspiration.  My current favorite is, where I got a great recipe to make hummus mini sandwiches for snack using sesame rice crackers.  I also am trying to cook larger portions at dinner so there is more leftover for lunches for all of us.  After dinner, it’s easy to divide up the leftovers in lunch containers to get ready for the next day.
Hopefully I can find more inspiration in all the great back-to-school posts this week from other bloggers.  If anyone else has some favorite lunch box ideas I would love for you to share in a comment below. Good luck to all the parents packing lunches again in the coming weeks!

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3 replies
  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Emily
    I love your blog! Great recipes and ideas! I just happen to see this post and wondered if you were able to find a Bento Box? I bought both my girls one from Pottery Barn ( I think I paid $14.00 for each one) but I absolutely love it. My older daughter is in Pre-K and is a very slow eater. I am able to put a sandwich, fruits, veggies, a dairy, and then snack in each compartment so all she has to do is open and plastic bags to open, just time to eat! Anyways thanks again for your blog! Love it!
    Kim (Ropes)..Steinmuller now!!!

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