Bento Updates

Like I shared in this post, I started making bentos to give my picky eater incentive to eat a decent lunch during school. I’m a fantastic starter, but a not-so-great finisher, so I’m probably the one who’s most surprised that I’ve kept it up this long.

I started out following a few blogs, but I find the most inspiration on instagram for the instant ogling gratification. I especially like the instagrammers who don’t have SLRs and post grainy, off-centered iPhone pics instead. It just feels more intimate and real-life. I can practically hear their 6-year-olds yelling that they can’t find their homework or need matching socks.

These lunchbox masters are worth the follow:
weelicious
becoming a bentoholic
bento for kids
lunchbox dad
bento nation
beans bags
creative fun food
antsbento
happy bento

Now that I’m mildly obsessed, I’ve picked up a few pearls of wisdom along the way:

1. Pack it in. One morning, after I snapped a picture of a just-packed lunch, my kindergartener announced, “Mommy, sometimes the food bounces around.” Whoops. While aesthetics are nice, practicality is better. I go for smaller containers packed tightly, or containers with sections that get their own “seal”.

2. Work with your budget. Some of the tools and containers out there are adorable. A $5 set of picks here and a $10 set of silicone cups there, though, and it adds up. While I love the look of a lot of these products,  I stick to the food itself. If you have the money to spend, though, go crazy.

3. Stealing is totally ok. As in, stealing ideas. So much of social media is about inspiration anyway, and kudos to you if you can translate that into real life vs. pinning it on your “GOTTA DO THIS” Pinterest board and walking away. Giving credit where credit is due, though, is basic good manners.

4. People will judge you. A couple well-placed sandwiches is fine. But once you whip out divided containers or take a cookie cutter to a cheese slice, you become one of “those” moms. Your legitimate, rational reasons for doing it in the first place fall on deaf ears. To keep at least a few mom friends, it’s best to post a lot of pictures of your messy home.

5. By that same token, bento bloggers are a sensitive bunch. Much like the apples upon which we craft checkerboard patterns, we have thin skin. Any hint of sarcasm about our creations leaves us reeling. But not to worry; it becomes fodder for the next day’s panda-shaped pancakes.

A few of our most recent lunches. (For the rest, follow me on Instagram.) I don’t blog exclusively about bentos so pardon the quality of these photos. I’d do a better job with them, but, well, I’m too busy trying to find matching socks.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Bento Updates

  1. Mina Lee

    Awesome! I have a 6 year old hapa Korean kinder boy who has recently 1) stopped eating the crust off his WW bread and 2) stopped eating the whole grain chicken nuggets and pizza lunches at school. He also tends to spill his lunch and gets really upset. So I am in desperate need of lunch ideas!

    Questions – 1) Do your boys actually eat the lunches? Adam eats most of his one day and the next day about half. 2) Doesn’t the gim and rice get hard in the lunchbox?

    I have gone to school lunch about 5x now and I see a lot of wasted food from the kids… They only get 20 min for lunch and don’t talk that much, but most kids seems to throw away a lot of food…

    • Hi Mina, surprisingly a lot of the food does get eaten! Lunch boxes come back mostly empty. Usually a couple carrots or cucumbers are left (the veggies, of course). The boys do have an afternoon snack time, though. My third grader gets a separate snack on top of his bento (usually fruit or crackers and cheese) and my kindergartener eats what he didn’t finish for lunch. So that helps preempt waste. The rice does stay soft since the lid is airtight.

      I agree, the amount of time they have to eat and play is ridiculous! Good luck. The Instagram users and bloggers I’ve linked are a wealth of inspiration!

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