Friday, August 30, 2013

Preparing Lunches {well, really me} for Kindergarten

Healthy, Bento-Style Kids School Lunches

A Not-So-Prepared {for Kindergarten} Mom Preparing a Fun
{for Kindergarten} Lunch

No matter what the circumstances, I don't think I would ever be prepared for my baby to start kindergarten. I remember when B1 was an actual baby, and I would hear people talk about their kids starting kindergarten, and I saw those kids as being so old. Funny to look back on that now. Because today my own baby started school... and she probably looks old to a lot of other new parents. And as I walked her to her classroom, new backpack and lunchbox on hand, I hoped for the best for her... but I knew at least she'd be covered in the food department :)

Last year I heard an interview on NPR with Debra Samuels, the author of the book My Japanese Table. In it, she described her experience making school lunches as an ex-patriot mom living in Japan. My favorite quote in that interview: "After her young son started complaining that the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches she was packing for him weren't 'cute enough' for kindergarten, Samuels embraced the Japanese food aesthetic." Listening, I was captivated by the interview... maybe it was the simultaneous ridiculousness but cuteness of the baloney bangs that did me in. And while I don't think I'll ever be able to cut a carrot into a flower (or adorn my kids' sandwiches with baloney bangs, for that matter), something about the Japanese food concept really stuck with me. Samuels described food in Japan as being a very visual experience, and she soon adapted her son's school lunches to follow that theme.

Thus, my inspiration for B1's lunches and snacks this week. I'm trying to emulate the Japanese kids-lunch style, and I've started off with the bento-like containers. Since I've had good success with Sistema products in the past, I'm still using those, but I decided to give these Rubbermaid Lunch Blox (they're cheaper at Target: $14.99) a try. I really like this concept, because the individual containers AND ice blocks all click together (two birds with one stone here). So I'm {very hopefully} giving them a shot, and I'll keep you posted on how they hold up with every day use.

The other new addition to her lunches? With molds straight from Japan (via Amazon: Kotobuki Mold), I made hardboiled eggs shaped like bunnies and bears, utilized these cute little reusable animal forks (via Amazon: Bento Decoration) for some ham and cheese rolls. She hasn't seen those yet; I can't wait to hear about her reaction when she sees them :)

And so here I am, preparing my daughter's lunches for kindergarten. And while I'm not quite emotionally prepared for the fact that my little girl is growing up so fast, I'd like to think that, nutritionally, I'm heading in a positive direction, just like those clever Japanese moms. And most importantly, I got good reviews about lunch from my little kindergartener today! 

But, please, I'm still looking for more... any bento-style kid lunch success stories out there? I'm hungry (yup, pun intended) for more ideas!


Sources for some of the other stuff in the pics:

Lunchbox: Dabbawalla Bags Flower Power II Lunchbox
Dress: Tea Collection (post here)
Boots: Nina Cowgirl Boots ($24.99 from Marshalls)

Backpack: Mini Boden (promotion from a couple years ago. I saved it. Yea, I'm a bit of a planner)


  1. I bought the Rubbermaid Lunch Blox and love it so far. The molds look like a lot of fun to try! Thanks for sharing!
    instagram @organasmblog

    1. Hi Jess! The mold is actually fun. It's much easier than I thought it would be, and you can do a bunch at a time... which is what I did last week and planned to do this week... until I realized I completely forgot to buy eggs :)


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