Bento Questions Answered

26 Jan

I thought the 100th post would be a good time to answer the bento-related questions I get asked most often. So here goes…

What do you do with all the leftover scraps?

I save them and re-purpose whenever possible. Bread, fruit, veggies, bits of cheese – most of what I use can be saved and used again in another dish.

Most of the time, I make lunch at night so I will often nibble on scraps or share them with my cat. We also have a pond just a few steps from our front door and there are always ducks around so they will often get scraps too. And occasionally, I toss them out.

Got Scraps? 

Fruit: Blend into smoothies, mix into yogurt, ice cream or cottage cheese, top cold cereal or oatmeal, bake into cupcakes or muffins.

Veggies: Add to soups, stews, or sauces, toss into your juicer, top your salad, add to an omelet or frittata.

Cheese: Save in a resealable bag and use for topping salads, tacos, baked potatoes, chili, whatever.

Bread: Toast up for croutons or dry out on your counter and blitz in your food processor for breadcrumbs. Or feed some ducks.

How long does it take you to make lunch?

It depends on how detailed lunch is that day. I usually try to get lunch made at night, after the kids are in bed when it’s quiet and the kitchen is clean. But, I’ve still managed to get super cute lunches made in the morning, even when we’re pressed for time.

It’s all about having a plan and having your supplies clean and close at hand. Just knowing which foods you’ll be packing the next morning will save you a ton of time.

I don’t know about you but my brain doesn’t really get moving until the second cup of coffee kicks in so I can’t be trusted to make any decisions first thing in the morning.

I don’t want my kids to get so used to eating cute sandwiches that they won’t eat regular sandwiches.

Okay so not really a question but a concern and a valid one.

I got home late from grocery shopping one afternoon recently and I knew Cam was starving so I slapped something between two slices of bread (chicken maybe?), put some fruit next to it on a plate and called it lunch.

I set it down on the table in front of Camryn and she looked right at my face, cocked her eyebrow and said “you’re not even gonna cut it into a shape?”

Spoiled much? Maybe. But honestly, it would have taken me 5 extra seconds to grab a cutter and cuten up that sandwich for her.

My point – she ate it anyway. All of it. So I’m not that worried.

I’m no expert when it comes to food and kids, not by a long shot. But if I were going to offer any advice, I would suggest maybe making a regular schmegular sandwich once or twice a week if you’re worried about spoiling your kids with too many fancy schmancy sandwiches.

How does Cam carry her bentos to school?

I pack Camryn’s bento in an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack every day. She eats very early but it can get pretty darn hot here in FL and I don’t want to run the risk of anything going bad before she gets a chance to eat it.

What do you send to drink with lunch?

I try to keep lunches as waste free as possible. I only buy juice boxes as a special treat when there is a really great sale and I can get them for next to nothing. Camryn has an insulated thermos that keeps drinks cold for hours. I usually fill it with ice water, smoothies, or iced green tea (her favorite) and put it right in her lunchbox with her bento.

Where do you get your bento supplies?

I buy most of my bento supplies from allthingsforsale.com. They have the best prices and their Customer Service is excellent.

I’ve also found supplies at craft stores like Michael’s and Joann’s. And I’ve made my own on occasion.

Does your daughter eat everything you pack her?

Sometimes she eats all of it. Sometimes she eats three bites. Sometimes she yaps during all of her lunch period and eats nothing. Every day is different.

Does the food get all jumbled up by the time lunch rolls around?

I try to pack her bentos in lunchboxes that keep them upright whenever possible. Her lilac Spencer Bento Box from Pottery Barn Kids, her Bynto, and her Ziploc divided containers have to be carried on their sides but I’ve never had an issue with food mixing in them. The trick is to pack everything tightly so it doesn’t shift too much when the lunchbox is moved around.

What are essential bento supplies for someone who is just starting out?

I don’t think there are any specifically essential supplies. So many things can be used for bento-ing. Most of which you probably already have. But if I were giving my honest opinion (and I am) I would say that sandwich or cookie cutters, silicone cups and a few cute food picks will be the tools you use most often.

Do you have a question that wasn’t addressed here? Send it to me and I’ll answer it asap 🙂

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3 Responses to “Bento Questions Answered”

  1. Jenny August 6, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    Hi! Just wondering what bento lunch box you would recommend? I’m thinking of getting the easy lunch box or the sugarbooger one. I was wondering if you know which of the sugarbooger lunch boxes have dividers that come up all the way. I would like something that won’t leak juices from fruit. Thank you!! I love your bento posts!!

    Like

    • we_should_be_folding_laundry August 6, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

      Hi Jenny. Thank you for visiting and thank you for the lovely compliment. Unfortunately to my knowledge (and disappointment), none of the Sugarbooger lunch boxes are leak proof unless your kiddo carries it flat and doesn’t swing it around. I have two and they’re exactly the same. The dividers come up to the lid but there are teeny openings on the sides that juice can get through and it has, many times. Easy Lunchboxes aren’t leak proof either but they do sell a set of smaller leak proof containers that fit inside of the Easy Lunchboxes so that might be an option for you. If you’re really torn between Easy Lunchboxes and Sugarbooger, you really can’t lose either way. Easy Lunchboxes are super durable and a great value for your money and the Sugarbooger lunch boxes are really cute and fit in pretty much any lunch box/bag. One thing that might actually be the deal-breaker for you is that the Sugarbooger container can’t hold an entire sandwich unless you cut it in some way. Easy Lunchboxes can. All that being said, you do have a couple of other options. If you really need something leak proof, my recommendation would actually be the Yumbox. It will run you about $30 but all of the compartments seal and it fits in pretty much any lunch box/bag and can be carried sideways without leaking. I just bought the Yumbox Panino for my daughter who is eight. Yumbox will offer coupon codes every now and then so keep an eye on their FB page if you’re interested. My final suggestion would be the PlanetBox. I don’t own a PlanetBox but I know a lot of other bloggers who do and their kids use it all the time. Planetboxes are expensive so it’s definitely an investment, but it is leak proof, and it will last your kiddo for many years to come. I hope this helps!

      Like

  2. veggiebentolove January 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Very nice answers 🙂 Yay for helping people out getting started with bento!

    Like

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