Crazy Easy Bento-Style Lunchboxes

crazy-easy

It seems I’ve managed to trick some of my Facebook friends into thinking I have my life together. How? Sharing pictures of my kids’ lunchboxes. My husband had a conversation about it with a colleague earlier this school year. She implied I might do it all. He invited her to come by without asking first and see how our apartment looks. (Only because he knows I would say the exact same thing.) I have nothing together. But I do enjoy packing my kids’ lunches.

Do I make elaborate, styled sushi and cut-out vegetable animals? Not a chance.

But here’s the key: regular lunches in a Bento box just look more appealing. I can pack a sandwich, chips, carrot sticks, and a cheese stick, and not only does a Bento box use fewer bags and packaging materials, it just looks better than everything stuffed in a bag.

Now, very occasionally my boxes look like this (a template I totally “borrowed” from Lunchbox Dad):

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But way more often, they are stupidly easy to put together. Here are some simple ideas for your own bento-style boxes.

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Exhibit A: Homemade “Lunchable.” I make this at least once a week. Lunchmeat and cheese cut into squares and put in silicone cupcake liners with crackers; I added Snapea Crisps, applesauce, and raisins.

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Exhibit B: Pumpkin chocolate chip muffin, GoGurt, veggie straws, pineapple, and “trail mix” made with dried cranberries and peanuts. Mini chocolate chips in the small middle compartment. A quick bread plus yogurt or cheese makes a nice substitute for a sandwich.

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Exhibit C: Homemade pizza “Lunchable.” Pieces of pita bread, shredded mozzarella, and mini pepperonis; veggie straws and apple slices. My kids are not big on pizza sauce, but it works great in the middle compartment! To keep apple slices from browning, toss them in a bowl of water with a little lemon or lime juice. Pat dry, then place in the box. That way, they don’t taste too much like citrus, but it keeps them from browning for several days.

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Exhibit D: Simple but delicious! Sandwich wrap, apple slices with peanut butter, baby carrots, yogurt, and a treat.

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Exhibit E: Strangely, this is one of my daughter’s favorite lunchbox meals. Chips with shredded cheese, trail mix, ham, and half a banana.

I have two kinds of Bento boxes: PlanetBoxes (the stainless steel ones) and the BentGo Kids boxes (colored BPA-free plastic). The PlanetBox is larger, but the BentGo Kids seals, which I like. I use them for different types of lunches as needed.

I may not be the room mom, or keep up with the laundry, or go on every field trip, but I can fake my way to a fun lunch for my kids! They are big fans of their lunches – and I love that packing lunch costs considerably less than buying school lunch or purchasing Lunchables for them to take every day.

What do you do for lunches?

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