For the last few months, my kids have been taking these Easy Lunchboxes to school for lunch. I actually ordered these and some "real" bento containers right after school got out last school year. The bentos were on back order forever, but these arrived and we took them to the States with us. We used them on every National and State Park outing; always taking our lunch in with us. We bought a cheap collapsible cooler at Walmart that they all fit in. Our normal lunch this summer was a roll sandwich, veggies (carrot sticks, etc), fresh berries, maybe a cheese stick or hard-boiled egg, and a treat. (We needed lots of food for hiking around!)
Anyway, we ended up liking these so much that I cancelled the other bentos that were back ordered. We used these almost every day for over a month this summer, and the kids have taken them every day for school lunch since the end of August. We love these things! The above lunch is a cheese crisp, cut into wedges (small flour tortilla, sprinkled with cheese and baked until cheese melts and tortilla crisps), sliced mini cukes, some dip made with light sour cream (can use Greek yogurt) and garlic salt, a peeled, sliced kiwi, and 2 mini versions of this cookie. You can put anything into these containers. I make the lunches before school, while the kids are eating breakfast and getting ready.
Each of the kids has a soft insulated lunchbox to carry these in. I also have a small reusable ice pack for each of them if the lunch requires it. We use these lunchboxes from LL Bean; they fit the bento containers and have enough room for a juice box, with room left over.
Some other meals I've made for their school lunch: croissant (buy at bakery and freeze until morning of), cheese, fruit, treat/ favorite sandwich, fruit, treat/ roll sandwich, fruit, veggie, treat/ crackers, cheese, ham slices, fruit, veg.... you get the idea. You can use leftovers; I've packed lumpia , chicken legs, this pasta. I wouldn't microwave food in these containers; I include a small paper plate and tell them to only warm food up for about a minute. And yes, I always send a small treat. :) Sometimes it's a tiny bit of mini M&M's or a small piece of wrapped candy.
For fruit, we love grapes, peeled and sliced kiwi, half of a banana, with the cut end wrapped in plastic, peeled mandarin oranges, applesauce cups or the squeezable applesauce (which I have to order online). For veggies, which we don't do every single day, but every few days, we do mostly sliced mini cukes (or cut regular slices in half) and baby carrots. Other ideas if your kids will eat them: cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced sweet peppers, frozen peas.
For dips and anything you don't want leaking, these mini dipping cups are great. They fit right into the lunchboxes and are the perfect size. They are pictured in the 1st pic above- with the cukes and dip. They have snug-fitting lids.
I'll try to share other school lunch ideas here from time to time. I don't have a crazy amount of variety with these yet, but it's fun looking for new ideas. :)
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