Back To School Ideas

August 8, 2012

Bento Lunches

By: Jayme Tate
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Jayme Tate

Editors note: Since my oldest is in Kindergarten, I am still learning the rules of snacks (really, I had NO idea juice wasn't allowed. I thought it was strange my son kept bringing it back home). But I know a lot of you have children that are already in grades above this, so I thought this Bento Lunch article would be a great addition to the Back to School newsletter! Enjoy!

As school year approaches, I know I am going to be packing a lot lunches! My kids are getting tired of the same old things each day, so I've decided to get creative. I discovered the art of packing Bento lunches and thought it looked like so much fun.

However, my kids are picky. There is no way they'd eat any of the traditional Japanese foods- not even the rice. But I loved the concept of packing lunches in reusable containers- no plastic bags to throw away, no wrappers, etc. My little ones struggle opening those & sometimes when there are no teachers immediately available, they end up not eating that particular part of their meal.

I decided to try my hand at Americanizing the Bento for my picky eaters- and it was a success! I made bologna and cheese pinwheels on whole wheat tortillas, and packed them with tiny grape tomatoes. I put half a clementine, some caramel rice cakes, and vanilla yogurt topped with a strawberry in the next section. On the top I put chocolate pocky for dessert.

You don't need actual Bento boxes to do this! Simple plastic-ware containers work well, with the silicon baking cups you can find just about anywhere now. Plastic party toothpicks are great for holding sandwiches together and spearing fruits and veggies.  Also, we pack Bento lunches and snacks all the time when we go to the park, beach, playground... anywhere really. It's great to have and then you don't need to stop for fast food! Just don't forget to bring a couple bottles of water. To keep with the reusable containers, we use stainless steel ones.

For more ideas of lunches my picky eaters enjoyed, as well as other style containers to put them in click here.

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