Monday, August 3, 2009

Back to School Series - Day 1 - Lunchboxes!

August is here, and for most parents, that means one thing - Back to School Time! As the mom of an incoming kindergartner, I am very excited to get Miss P off to a great start. She already is set with a great school and an awesome teacher....we are blessed! Now it's all about getting organized, and prepped. Since I will also be going back to work full-time (as a kindergarten teacher with my own class on the other side of the playground), I am salivating at the idea of being ultra-organized. And yes, I have my 'Paige's kindergarten binder' ready to go!

Today's topic is lunches and lunchboxes. E usually packs P's lunch and abhors it. I'm thinking of taking over the job and making it fun. I love the kid-friendly, healthy meals that work quite well in Bento Boxes.
Haven't heard of bento? Bento is the japanese word for a 'packed meal' - usually a lunch, that has internal dividers so that different kinds of foods sit in their own little compartments.

Check out this set from This is the basic bento at $22.99. You have to get the insulated outer lunchbox as well. I think the whole thing costs close to $40. I love the compartments, but the outer lunchbox is not so cute, and I don't see where you could put a water bottle.

Here is the Fairfax style from Pottery Barn Kids. Not exactly a bento, and not sure where a water bottle would fit inside this one either, but it sure is cute.

Above are the Spencer food containers that fit into the PBK lunch boxes, making it Bento like.

Below is the Brannan style from PBK. A water bottle would fit in either the top or bottom pouch (albeit, on its side). I would get the pink one for P with her name on it and fill it with the spencer containers above. However it is lacking the 'flat tray' style, that makes the Bento so easy.

I think we are going to hit some stores, so we can play and see what works. I also have to check some online reviews.

Now for the bento style food itself:

You can make your bentos either super fancy, or just nice, simple and healthy. The idea is to use foods from each food group, with an emphasis on fruits, veggies, protein and carbs. Lots of variety, small portions, and making the food look appealing are key components. You'll see some that resemble a work of art (don't think I'll be going that far)

Check out photos for more ideas for what to pack inside the lunches here.
And come back tomorrow for the next installment in my Back to School Series!

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