My Adventures In Bento

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Starting The Adventure…

on September 30, 2013

Hi there.  I’m Cristi.

I’m a SAHM of two wonderful daughters, Tatem, 8, and Delaney, 5.  Both girls are in school full time and, like a lot of moms, I found making school lunches to get very boring very quickly.  I had the same issue last year when Tatem was the only one in school, and had, by January, opted to just let her buy school lunch.  With that decision came the guilt over failing as a mom and not feeding my child the healthy way the perfect mom in me really wanted to.  Alas, the lazy mom in me won out and I continued to pay the not so cheap prices so that each day my daughter could eat such culinary triumphs as hamburgers, chicken nuggets, pizza, and burritos.  I would justify my decision to buy her lunch with the argument that her school was one of the few that had a salad bar available.  And, since Tatem is part rabbit and really likes to eat things like carrots, celery, and plain iceberg lettuce, she’d still be getting a healthy-ish lunch.

That’s how I rationalized it, as I wrote that larger than I really could afford to spend check every month and took it to her school. When summer break came and I was in charge of what my daughters ate at every meal again, I took joy in making them good healthy lunches.  I still felt guilty over what Tatem had been eating at school and how much it cost me, and I balked at the idea of having to pay twice that much in the new school year when Delaney started full time kindergarten.

So, in my best Scarlett O’Hara impression, I swore my children would never have to eat school lunches again.  And I tried to get ideas to make lunches healthy and fun.  I got Thermoses for leftover pasta and such, and bought cute lunchboxes.  And it was fine…for a while.  But, after the first week of school, I started to see making lunch as the chore that it was and started buying prepackaged things that I could just throw into their lunch box with a sandwich.  Things like drinking yogurts, pouch applesauce, string cheese, granola bars, fruit leathers.  I justified this with the fact that at least it was healthier than the school lunch, and it was.  But it was boring, and wasteful, and expensive!  There had to be a better way.

So, I kept searching for a better alternative and came across a few Bento blogs.  I had heard of Bento before, and had smiled at pictures on Google of traditional and contemporary Japanese Bento lunches.  If you’ve never Googled images of Bento, you really should.  Some of those folks are so creative!  But I never thought much about doing Bento myself because I’m not that creative, and my girls are not going to want to eat that much rice and Japanese food.

But then I came across Wendolonia.com.  (Please go check out her site, she’s genius!)  Wendolonia is a blog by a mom of two boys and she’s been making them American Bento style lunches for years. Each week she posts pictures and descriptions of the lunches she’s made for her boys for the week.  And, as I started looking and reading, I thought to myself, “Hey, I can do that!”

So, last week, I finally bit the bullet and started trying.  And you know what? It’s really fun.  And it’s really easy.  And it’s not expensive and it only takes a minute or two more than it was taking me to make lunches before!

Because I was so excited about the lunches I was making last week, I would take a picture each day and post it on Facebook.  People seemed to enjoy the photos and a few suggested I start a blog and show off the lunches that way.  So, here I am!

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the Bento lunches I make and it will inspire you to make some for your own kids!

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