Daily Bento

18 Aug

It’s the first day of school!

First Day Of School Bento


For lunch today, I made Camryn an apple-shaped sandwich and topped it with letters cut out from a fruit and veggie strip. I also included a fruit-filled cereal bar (under the Lunchbox Love note), some heart-shaped strawberries, and a few veggie straws.

Her lunch is packed up in this super adorable new bento box.


17 Aug

Sweet Potato Crab Cakes


I have no idea why it took me so long to share this recipe because I make it all the time.

Sometimes I make it just for me and eat every single crab cake.

No shame.

The original recipe that I used to use was actually for salmon and sweet potato cakes. I can’t remember where I found it but I can tell you that my family didn’t care for it. They thought the salmon version was a little bland.

So I came up with a crab version that has much more flavor and texture. These crab cakes are sweet and just a little spicy with a yummy crunch on the outside.

I think you guys will really like them.

This recipe is great for those busy nights when you don’t have a lot of time to make dinner. It only requires a handful of inexpensive and easy to find ingredients. And if you don’t like crab, you can just substitute chopped cooked shrimp or salmon.

I like to serve mine along side a big salad.

You can cook the sweet potato ahead of time too if you really want to save time.



Sweet Potato Crab Cakes

1 cup lump crab meat

1 sweet potato

1/2 cup corn *

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 egg

2 tbsp mayonnaise

2 green onions – chopped

1 finely chopped pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (optional)

juice of half a lemon



Peel and dice the sweet potato into cubes and boil them until tender. Then drain them and mash them up.

Once the sweet potatoes are mashed and cooled a little, add the remaining ingredients along with a little salt and pepper and mix until well combined.

Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs into a bowl. This is just to coat the patties, the measurement doesn’t have to be precise.

Scoop the mixture with your hand or an ice cream scoop, roll it into a ball, and flatten into a patty.

Gently place the crab cake into the bowl of panko and flip to coat. It helps if you use your hands to gently press the panko onto the crab cakes.

One you have your crab cakes formed and coated on each side with panko, place a skillet over medium heat and drizzle in a little olive or veg oil (whatever you have). You just want enough oil to coat the bottom, we’re not deep-frying here.

Let the crab cakes cook about 5 minutes per side until they’re golden brown and then drain them on paper towels.

I like to top the crab cakes with copious amounts of spicy mayo which I make by mixing about 1/4 cup of mayo, fresh lemon juice, 1 finely chopped chipotle pepper, and a teaspoon or two of the adobo sauce. A few dashes of regular hot sauce works too.


* I use frozen corn and just thaw it under warm water.





6 Aug


Now that summer is almost over I’m willing to bet that at least a few of you have been perusing Pinterest for cute lunch ideas and maybe even scoping out reusable lunch containers online.

If you like the idea of sending your kids to school with trash-free lunches but weren’t sure which lunch box would be right for your kids and your budget, then you’ve come to the right place.

Today I’m sharing which of our lunch boxes are my favorites. All of them made the cut because they’re easy to pack, easy to clean, and easy to love.


Lock & Lock


This box holds the perfect amount of food for smaller appetites. There are two removable dividers that section the box off into four quadrants so the food stays separated. It fits into pretty much any lunchbox and the side latches make it easy for little hands to open and close.

It makes a great lunch box for younger kids but it could also be used as a snack container for older kids.

The box itself is pretty plain once you peel the labels off but because it’s so inexpensive at only $6.75, you could always dress up lunch with some colorful silicone cups (standard sized baking cups fit nicely in each section) or fun food picks without breaking the bank. If you have a craft store near you, you can check there for the silicone baking cups and food picks too. Don’t forget to look for a coupon before you go!

The Lock & Lock is dishwasher safe and BPA free.

Recommended for: Toddlers – 1st or 2nd grade

Here are a few lunches that I’ve packed in our Lock & Lock:

Lock & Lock 4 Square

 The Good Lunch Box by Sugarbooger

The Good Lunch Box by Sugarbooger

I just can’t say enough good things about this lunch box. I adore it. We used ours on a regular basis last year and it has held up like a champ. We did have an issue with one of the latches coming loose but I really think it may have been the way that it was loaded into the dishwasher. So that’s my bad.

This box has three sections, one of which is larger than the other two so it’s great if you usually pack a sandwich and two sides. Unfortunately, to fit a whole sandwich in the larger compartment, you will need to cut it in some way. Honestly, that’s not a deal breaker for me.

The Good Lunch Box is free of lead, BPA, PVC, and phthalates.

The many adorable design options on the lid and the easy open/close latches on the side make this container a winner for kids. The fact that it’s dishwasher safe, super affordable at around $7, and fits into most lunch boxes makes it a winner for me.

You can order yours as well as the matching insulated lunch tote here, here, and on amazon.com.

Recommended for: Toddlers – 5th grade

Here are a few lunches that I’ve packed in The Good Lunchbox:

Good Lunch Box

The Goodbyn Bynto


The Bynto is divided into three sections (as pictured above) and comes in four colors (red, green, blue, pink). A juice box or pouch fits in the middle compartment but if you’d rather go the waste-free route, Goodbyn also makes a spill-proof drink bottle that fits perfectly in the middle compartment while still leaving plenty of room for lunch.

The Bynto is made from FDA approved materials, is free of BPA and phthalates, and is 100% recyclable. And all you have to do to clean it is just toss it into the dishwasher.

You can leave your Bynto plain or purchase inexpensive dishwasher-safe stickers so that your child can spruce up and personalize their Bynto. You actually get quite a few stickers in each pack so your kids can change up the look of their Byntos whenever the mood strikes.

The Bynto is just a little longer than most lunch containers so you’ll need to look for an insulated lunch bag that is a little more than 10.75 inches long. Cam usually carried hers in her lunch bag from Garnet Hill but it will also fit in a lunch bag from L.L. Bean. Click here to see.

The Bynto can be tricky to close at first until you figure it out. Press the middle section first until it clicks, and then you can press the other sections closed.

Price for the Bynto, drink bottle, and a sticker set is just $12.78 (before tax and shipping) when you use the code: BTSCHOOL on goodbyn.com. The code is good until 9/1.

If you live near a Target, you can swing by and pick up a Bynto for only $8.99. Unfortunately, Target doesn’t carry the drink bottle or the stickers.

Goodbyn products are also available on amazon.com but the Byntos are priced quite a bit higher on that site and the drink bottles can be hard to find there so it may be easier to just order directly from Goodbyn. Especially while that coupon is still good.

Recommended for: Pre K – 5th grade

Here are a few lunches that I’ve packed in the Bynto:


Easy Lunchboxes

Easylunchboxes Brights

We our Easy Lunchboxes. This is the container that my son took to school every day last school year. He flung it around inside his lunch box and backpack, dropped it on the floor several times, threw it into the sink when he got home from school every day, and ran it through countless cycles in the dishwasher, and it isn’t showing any signs of wear yet! Not even a scratch. These babies look as good now as they did the day the UPS man dropped them off at my door well over a year ago!

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Easy Lunchboxes are just like those other divided containers in the store with the blue lid. There is no comparison. Those other containers will crack after just a few cycles in the dishwasher or if your child drops them (I speak from experience here). Sure you could save a couple bucks and hand wash them every time they’re used but at only $13.95 for a set of four Easy Lunchboxes that will last you indefinitely, why would you?

Easy Lunchboxes are divided into three sections. The largest section easily fits a whole sandwich, no cutting required.

One thing to keep in mind is that the lids are not spill proof. You can remedy that issue by purchasing a set of mini-dippers, these containers, using this handy trick, or purchasing a cooler bag so that your kids can carry their Easy Lunchbox upright.

A set of 4 Easy Lunchboxes, 8 Mini-Dippers, and a cooler bag will cost you just under $30 before taxes and shipping. Remember, shipping is free on amazon.com when you spend $35.

Recommended for: Everyone.

Here are a few lunches that I’ve packed in our Easy Lunchboxes:


Laptop Lunches Bento Lunchbox

laptop lunchbox

If you’re looking for something with a few more compartments, this lunch box may be just right for you.

Camryn loves how bright and colorful her Laptop Lunches Bento Lunch box is. I love how durable it is and how the separate compartments with spill-proof lids make it easy to pack up things like yogurt or pea pesto without worrying that they’ll be sloshed all over the rest of her lunch.

The inner containers are microwave safe and the whole thing is dishwasher safe (best to wash it on the top rack though). There is also room on the side for utensils and a napkin.

These lunch boxes hold enough food for larger appetites so they’re great for older kids and adults. Cam eats like a bird so I like to use this lunch box whenever I need to pack up both lunch and snack for her.

Laptop Lunches Food containers are made in the USA and contain no BPA, PVC, phthalates, or lead.

A Bento Kit which contains the complete Bento Lunchbox, an insulated bag, and an all-stainless fork and spoon, will cost you just under $40 before taxes and shipping.

You can purchase just the Bento Lunchbox for $23.99 but at 9 x 7 x 2.25 inches, keep in mind that you’ll need to find an insulated lunch bag that will accommodate it’s slightly larger size.

Laptop Lunches’ products can also be found on amazon.com and in some Whole Foods and The Container Stores locations.

This lunch carrying system is definitely a pricier option, but it’s a great investment as it will last your child for years.

This lunch box can certainly be used by little ones but since it holds quite a bit of food and both the latch on the front and the lids on the container can be tricky to open, I’m recommending this one for the older kids.

Recommended for: 2nd grade and up.

Here are a few lunches I’ve packed in our Laptop Lunches Bento Lunchbox:

Laptop Lunches



The Yumbox is one of the neatest lunch boxes that I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen a lot of lunch boxes.

The removable tray insert contains five separate 1/2 cup compartments for each food group as well as a smaller unlabeled compartment which is the perfect size for a little treat.

The latch on the front is easy for little hands to operate so it’s great for toddlers but it also holds plenty of food for older kids as well.

The whole thing is dishwasher safe and fits in most standard sized lunch bags. It’s made from only food-safe materials and contains no BPA or Phthalates. It’s also leak proof so you can pack things like yogurt, ketchup, hummus, and salsa with wild abandon!

The only downside to this box is that it can be a bit of a challenge to pack. You can’t fit a sandwich in the Yumbox unless it’s cut up, and some of the compartments are an odd shape. Honestly, this is not that big of an issue for me but I just want you to be aware before you buy. If this is a deal breaker for you, you might be interested to know that Yumbox has recently come out with the Panino which has plenty of room for a whole sandwich, two sides and a little treat. Check it out here.

Both are available for purchase from yumbox.com or on amazon.com

Yumbox $28 – Recommended for: Toddlers – 2nd graders

Panino $30 Recommended for: 3rd graders – Adults

Here are a few lunches I’ve packed in our Yumbox:



I asked Camryn which lunch box was her favorite and she chose the Yumbox based on its coolness factor.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite because I love them all for different reasons. However, for the sake of this lengthy post and because I know you guys are just dying to know… For me, it’s a tie between Easy Lunchboxes and The Good Lunch Box by Sugarbooger. These were the two boxes that I reached for more often than any others when it came time to pack lunch last year.

Hopefully that helped some of you that were on the fence about which container to buy. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

1 Aug

Non Sandwich Lunch Ideas


It’s already August! That means that summer will soon be coming to an end and it will be time for the little ones to shuffle off to school again.

Will you be packing lunches for a kid who doesn’t like sandwiches this school year?

Me too!

Do you often find yourself standing in your kitchen late at night/early in the morning trying to come up with something, anything to put in their lunch box because you can’t just whip up a PB&J or a turkey and cheese and expect it to be eaten?

Yep. Me too! And that’s why I can’t believe it has taken me this long to put a list together of non-sandwich lunch ideas.

Keep in mind that some of the ideas I’ve listed aren’t complete lunches. Just ideas for sandwich replacements – the main part of lunch. You may need to add a little protein or some fresh fruits and veggies on the side to make lunch complete.

With over 125 ideas for sandwich replacements listed below, there’s sure to be something here for everyone.


Sandwich Bread Alternatives – These are fundamentally still sandwiches, in that you have a filing of some sort between two pieces of something else. However, my daughter will usually eat everything on this list when used as a stand-in for sliced bread so it may be worth giving one of these options a try.

Hot Dog Bun – Cam’s favorite way to eat a BLT


Croissant – These are great sliced and used like sandwich bread or rolled up around a filling and baked.


English Muffin


Naan or Pita Bread



Cinnamon Raisin Bread – Great with nut butter and thinly sliced apple or pear.

Crackers – Make your own Lunchables by adding meat and cheese.

Lavash – I love this stuff. Can be used as is or seasoned and baked until crisp like a cracker.

Sliced Apple – Core and fill with nut butter and raisins or lunch meat and cheese.

Skewer or Fun Food PickDon’t underestimate the appeal of food on a stick for kids. If you’re worried about your child poking their eye out or impaling the kid next to him/her, use a chopstick, popsicle stick, or pretzel stick.


Hot Lunch – If your kids prefer a hot lunch but you’re not crazy about the lunch options offered at school, a thermos is the way to go. We love using our thermos but it can be a challenge sometimes to think of different things to fill it with. A suggestion for making things a little easier on yourself is to make a large portion of any one of these items over the weekend or when you have time, store it in an air tight container in the fridge and then just add it to your warmed thermos in the morning. Just a few minutes of prep before school and you’re out the door! Here are a few ideas for kids who prefer a hot lunch.

Macaroni & Cheese

Soup / Stew / Chowder – You can find some of our favorite soups here and Cam’s favorite soup here.


Shepard’s pie


Pot Pie – This is how we do pot pie.

Stuffed Peppers – This recipe for unstuffed peppers would be perfect here. We’ve tried it and it’s delicious.

Fish Sticks / Nuggets

Teriyaki / Honey Glazed Chicken & Rice

Swedish Meatballs – Egg noodles or mashed potatoes would go perfectly with these.

Meatballs in Marinara Sauce – Pack up a bun and some shredded cheese in a separate container for make-your-own meatball subs!


Stir Fry / Fried Rice

Lo Mein

Sloppy Joes – Pack a bun separately or fill the bottom of the thermos with rice and put the Sloppy Joe filling on top. Much easier to eat than a regular Sloppy Joe.

Baked Potato – With your child’s favorite toppings.

Hand Pies / DIY Hot Pockets – Small pies made from puff pastry, pie, pizza, or biscuit dough and filled with pretty much anything.

Chicken & Yellow Rice



Fajitas – Add cooked ingredients (chicken or steak strips, sliced onions, and bell peppers) to a thermos, and pack tortillas separately. Your kids can build their own fajitas at lunch.

Mini Meatloaf – Bake the meatloaf in a muffin tin for easy to pack individual servings. Serve on top of mashed potatoes in the thermos.

Leftovers –  Just toss in whatever you had for dinner the night before.


Salads – I know that not every kid gets excited over iceberg lettuce and sliced tomatoes so I’ve included lots of different kinds of salads here so that there’s something for everyone. Just pack up some of your child’s favorite dressing in a spill proof container so they can top their salad as they please at lunch time.

Fruit or Veggie Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad – Top spinach leaves with fresh strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, and almonds or walnuts.

Pasta SaladCouscous is a great option here.

Tuna, Ham, Egg, Shrimp, or Chicken salad – These salads could be used to top a green salad, as part of a wrap, or served with a side of crackers.

Caprese Salad – One of my favorite summer lunches! I like to make this into a sandwich on a crusty baguette. I make a balsamic reduction by boiling 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar with 2 Tbsp brown sugar over medium heat for about 6-7 minutes until it thickens. Then I fill the baguette with sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, a little basil, and a drizzle of the balsamic reduction. So so good!

Waldorf Salad

Taco Salad

BLT Salad – Spinach, bacon, tomato, and croutons.

Sweet & Crunchy Arugula Salad – Arugula, green apple or pear, cranberries, blue cheese, and walnuts.

Greek Salad

Roasted Corn Salad –  Roasted corn, tomatoes, roasted red bell pepper, finely diced red onion, avocado, honey lime dressing: Mix the juice of one lime with 1/4 cup of honey, add salt and pepper to taste, and pour over the salad.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Barley, Bulgar Wheat, Farro, Quinoa, or Brown Rice Salad – Possible mix-ins include dried fruit, thinly sliced fennel or celery for crunch, toasted nuts, seeds, herbs, vegetables, really anything goes here.

Nicoise Salad – You could use salmon or chicken instead of tuna if your kiddo doesn’t like it.

Panzanella Salad – A salad that’s mostly bread! Yes please.

Cold Noodle Salad – Rice or soba noodles, cabbage, thinly sliced bell peppers, shredded carrot, and basil with a peanut dressing.

Cornbread Salad – Layers of cornbread, black-eyed peas, bell pepper, corn, sweet onion, and shredded cheddar usually topped with sour cream or ranch dressing, and salsa.


Pasta – Pasta is a given because it’s fast and easy to prepare, most kids love it, and the possibilities are endless. Just start with whatever pasta you have and then toss in whatever your kids like or use one of the combinations below.  To keep things gluten-free, you could substitute zucchini noodles, shredded spaghetti squash, or even cauliflower rice.

Parmesan and butter – Perfect with angel hair pasta and pretty much universally adored by kids.

Roasted spring vegetables

Shrimp and lemon – Great with orzo.

Peas and carrots – Ditalini, star-shaped pasta, or any other small pasta would work nicely here.

Pesto, chicken, fresh mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes

White beans and roasted fall vegetables

Heirloom tomatoes and artichokes

Kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomato, feta, roasted chicken, parsley, and a little lemon juice

Roasted tomatoes, sausage, and basil

This Pasta


Chicken – We all seem to have leftover chicken in some form or fashion in our refrigerators from time to time. Here are some ideas to help you use up that chicken (or any other leftover meat you might have) to make delicious lunches. Just pair that leftover meat with any of the following combinations below.

A biscuit or a roll and fresh fruit or veggies

Couscous with veggies and cheese

Rice with mixed veggies

Mashed potatoes or pasta

White rice, diced avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice

Barley, farro, or brown rice

Roasted asparagus and/or potatoes

Roasted bell peppers and pineapple

A big salad

In a wrap with sauce or dressing for dipping


Pizza – A favorite among most kids. They never seem to get tired of it but if you’re looking for some new ways to pack it up for their lunches, hopefully one of these ideas will do the trick!

Pizza Roll-Ups made with bread dough, puff pastry, or croissants

Pizza Pasta – Just add their favorite pizza toppings to some cooked pasta and mix in a little pizza sauce.

Pizza Grilled CheeseWhile technically still a sandwich, this is one my daughter will happily eat.

Pizza on a stickJust skewer bite-sized pieces of pizza and veggies on a food pick or skewer.

Calzones or Stromboli

Pizzadillas – Half pizza, half quesadilla, all good. Just fill a tortilla with your child’s favorite pizza toppings, cook as you would a regular quesadilla and serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

Macaroni & Cheese PizzaOh yes. A new favorite at our house. Annie’s makes a really good one if you’d rather not make this one yourself.

Homemade Pizza Lunchables – Just send pita or any other flat bread along with pizza sauce, shredded cheese, and any other pizza toppings. Your kids can assemble their own pizzas at lunch time. If your kids don’t have long for lunch, send them already assembled, like I do.


Breakfast for lunch – Always a hit with my kids and a great option for kids who have really early lunch times. Any of these options would be great with ham, bacon, sausage, or hard-boiled eggs, and a big side of fresh fruit.

Pancakes, Waffles, or French Toast Sticks with syrup

Cinnamon Rolls – Can be served whole with icing on top or bite-sized with icing on the side for dipping. Not the healthiest option, I know, but this would be a nice treat when a special lunch is in order. Maybe for a birthday or as a reward for a good report card.

Muffins – Sweet or savory. If your little ones like corn dogs you can make them much easier to eat by baking cut up hot dogs inside of mini corn muffins.

Banana or Zucchini Bread

Scones – Mix fruit and chocolate chips or diced ham, cheese, and green onion into your dough mixture before you bake it for really tasty and filling scones.


Muffin Pan Frittatas – Like little omelets. Just spray a muffin pan with non stick spray and mix together 4 eggs, 1/4 cup half and half or milk, and salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the muffin pan, add a spoonful or so of whatever mix-ins your child likes (cheese, meat, veggies) and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.

Parfaits – Yogurt, fruit, granola

Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat in the thermos with mix-ins in a separate container

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Homemade Granola Bars – Load them up with dried fruit, seeds, and nuts for a healthier alternative to prepackaged granola bars. Like these or these.

Cottage Cheese & Fruit

Fruit & Oatmeal Squares

Breakfast Hot Pocket – Fill pie dough or puff pastry with scrambled egg, cheese, and the breakfast meat of your choice. Seal the edges, brush with a little egg wash (beaten egg mixed with a tiny splash of water or milk) and bake until golden brown and crisp.

Smoothies – Three of our favorite smoothies can be found here. Dates make great natural sweeteners and oats are healthy tummy fillers!


Dips – Because dips are fun!

Regular or Avocado Hummus – With an assortment of veggie sticks and pita bread.

Tzatziki or Ranch Dressing – Carrots and celery are fine but ddon’t forget about green beans, asparagus, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, radishes, and zucchini too.

Fruit Salsa – Cinnamon pita chips are delicious with fruit salsa.

Nut Butter – With fruit and/or carrot sticks.

Greek Yogurt – Add a little flavor with PB, honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamonJust add everything to taste and mix until well incorporated. Great with sliced apples.

Pea Pesto aka “Cheesy Peasy Bread Spread” – We love this stuff with veggie chips, bread sticks, or a sliced baguette.

Cocktail Sauce – A treat for kids who like shrimp.

Guacamole or Salsa – For dipping tortilla chips. Refried beans would be a good source of protein and also counts as a dip!

Spring Rolls – Just add thinly sliced raw veggies and chicken, shrimp, or pork to rice paper rolls and roll up. Pack up a favorite dipping sauce in a spill proof container and lunch is done. You could add mango, sprouts, greens, noodles, basil leaves, or anything else your heart desires. These are totally customizable.


Quesadillas – We all know how to make plain cheese quesadillas but I think we can do better than that. Here are some filling ideas that you may not have thought about.

Ham, cheese, and pineapple

Ham, bosc pear, muenster cheese – Try this on a croissant too, it’s delicious!

PB, banana, and honey

Biscoff spread and sliced apples – Biscoff spread on a warm tortilla is one of my favorite late night snacks.

Sliced strawberries, apples, or pears with hazelnut spread

Fruit or jam and cream cheese

Prosciutto, cheddar, and apple

Buffalo chicken, blue cheese dressing, monterey or pepper jack cheese

BBQ pork, shredded cheddar cheese, caramelized onions


Wraps & Roll-ups - Any of the following options below could be wrapped up in lettuce wraps, lavash, nori, rice paper, tortilla, pita, or any other flatbread. Just add a favorite dressing or dip in a separate container and maybe some chips or fresh fruit on the side and lunch is just about done!

Cream cheese and veggies

Nut butter, jelly or jam, and a banana

Shredded chicken and leafy greens

Turkey and Caesar Salad

Tomato, mozzarella, basil

Salami, cream cheese, spinach

Southwest Chicken Roll-Ups – Chicken, salsa, black beans, corn, cream cheese, and shredded cheddar cheese spread on a tortilla and rolled up.

Bacon Ranch Roll-Ups – Bacon, cream cheese, ranch seasoning mix, cheddar cheese, and a little green onion spread on a tortilla and rolled up.

Lunch meat, Laughing Cow cheese, thinly sliced cucumber or any other raw veg

Mashed white beans, avocado, grated carrot, sprouts, lettuce, and any other veggies your child likes

Thinly sliced cucumber spread with hummus and filled with thinly sliced turkey – This one is a roll in itself.

Thinly sliced ham or turkey spread with cream cheese wrapped around a pickleA party favorite from my childhood.

Avocado & Veggie Sushi – Avocado, thinly sliced raw veggies, and sushi rice, all wrapped up tight in nori and sliced into bite-sized pieces. You could always make a deconstructed version of this by just layering the ingredients rather than rolling them up.

Lunch meat wrapped around string cheese

Prosciutto wrapped around sliced melon and/or apple slices – Brie or mozzarella would go really well with these.

Prosciutto wrapped dates – Fill the dates with a spreadable cheese you like and wrap away! 

Pigs in a Blanket – Just pack their favorite dipping sauce in a little container so they can dip until their heart’s content at lunch time.


Choose Your Own Adventure Lunch - A box full of this and that. I usually just let the little one raid the kitchen and pack up random odds and ends of whatever she likes.

This style of lunch packing is my go to method when I can’t think of anything else. It’s a great way for me to clean out the fridge and pantry before my weekly trip to the grocery store or to use up some produce before it goes bad. It’s also Cam’s favorite way to eat lunch.

I made a lot of this kind of lunch over the last couple of years. You can see more examples of this style of lunch packing here, here, here and here. The options here are endless.


I hope this has given you guys some ideas for sandwich substitutions. This is an ongoing list so I’ll add things as I think of them and please feel free to comment with your favorite non-sandwich lunch ideas too and I’ll add those as well.

Summer Reading Update

11 Jul

The little one didn’t read very much last week.  :(

Just a few library books and one of her favorite books from home, Everyday Bento by Wendy Thorpe Copley.

We both just love that book and Camryn reads it all the time. In fact, she’s been reading it every night for the past few days. I think she has some ideas from the book marked for me to reproduce which is great because my brain is still fried from the school year.

Everyday Bento is a great book for anyone who wants to get started packing bentos but isn’t interested in anything super complicated or time-consuming.

Also, if you’ve never been to Wendy’s site, finish up this post and then go check it out!

Here’s what Camryn read last week:






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