Thursday, July 31, 2014

So You Want to Pack Lunches: A Back-to-School Blog Hop & Giveaway

Though we are still in the full swing of summer, school is creeping up faster than we might like to think about.  With back-to-school shopping comes pondering about lunches.  I assume that you are at least thinking about packing lunches if you are visiting my blog... but who knows?  Maybe you found me by googling royal icing bees...

In honor of the Back-to-School season, I am taking part in a Bento Blogger & Friends Back to School Bento Basics Blog Hop and Giveaway, where we are taking the opportunity to give you some of our best tips for getting started in packing bento-style lunches.

For the most part, my lunches style tends to be on the less-decorative side.  My main tip is to get yourself some good bento boxes.  My absolute favorite is the EasyLunchbox.  They are my go-to box, and I love that they are dishwasher safe and amazingly sturdy.

I also like the Yumbox, especially for younger folks, and I really want to try their new Panino (with larger compartments).

For the larger appetite, the GoGreenLunchbox is one that I like.

Now that you have a box, what do you pack in it?

I love packing fruit.  The kids love eating it, and there is always a variety available.  I always look for something interesting in the produce aisle, and if it is small and adorable, that's even better.

I recently found some champagne grapes at Trader Joe's, and the kids and I are gobbling them up.  I pack vegetables, too, but I know that the kids will eat whatever fruit I put in their lunchboxes, but I will have more luck with different kinds of vegetables at other meals.  Therefore, some of my lunches might look a little fruit-heavy.  Rest assured, my kids are getting vegetables, but maybe just more under my watchful eye.

Packing leftovers - and lots of fruit!
Often, I will pack a sandwich or a wrap, but not every day.  There are times when I pack leftovers, or quessadillas made for lunches, or a hard boiled egg and some cheese... there are a lot of options.

One thing that I like to do is to make a list of available options and post it on the fridge.  I list what we have on hand in different categories - vegetables, fruits, dairy, protein, grain, and other.  The kids like to pick from different categories and let me know what they would prefer in their lunches.

Though I don't normally do a lot of decoration, it is nice to have options for doing fun lunches.  There are some very easy decorative options from Bento USA.  I have a large variety of picks on hand, and they make it simple to jazz up a lunch.

A tiger quesadilla
Another way to make a lunch more fun in an easy way is to use a sandwich cutter.  I just love the CuteZCute cutters - they are versatile and absolutely adorable.

Fun fruit - cucumelon!  And, a silicone cup. :)
A useful thing to keep on hand is some silicone baking cups.  They make good separators, and can add a pop of color.

When I have time, I like to make some homemade treats for the kids.  My most popular recipe is my rainbow pain de mie.  The kids absolutely love when I make this, and it makes even a plain sandwich more fun.
Occasional fun with food art - A Roald Dahl Fantastic Mr. Fox piece of cheese, colored with food markers 
Finally, don't be afraid to experiment!  Have fun, and your kids will be able to tell.  If you want to add more decorative elements, go for it.  Kids can tell when you pack their lunches with love, and that's what counts.

Want to see what other Bento Bloggers think about Bento Basics? Hop on over to Bebento. Before you go, don't forget your piece of the puzzle for the Bento Bloggers & Friends Back to School Giveaway. You need them all to enter and it's open worldwide! Did you know the grand prize voucher can be used towards shipping too?

And if you've collected all the pieces, you can enter right here using the Rafflecopter below! Good Luck!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's my code!

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  1. Fun & informative post! I love all your fruit :) Those cucumelons are crazy!