T minus 3 days for back to school for us! Back to school means making back to school lunches. Again. A lot of people are interested in starting to make some fun lunches for their kids, but they don’t know where to start. I’m sharing the easiest way to add a little element of “fun” or “cute” to your kids lunches over at CBC Parents. Check it out!
Well, it’s here. It’s back-to-school time. And what goes hand-in-hand with going back to school?? Making school lunches! I’ve recently teamed up with the folks from Natrel Milk to make a fun bento-box lunch and cute bento-box snack for back to school. I show you all the steps I took to make them and show you how to make your own. Go check them out over on their website and click on the links to find out how I made them!
Well, we’re back to school in 2 weeks. Part of me is happy, part of me is sad. To be completely honest with you guys, I actually love the freedom of Summer and getting away from the hectic routine of everyday life. Back to school means back to routine, back to extracurricular activities nearly every single night of the week, back to early bedtimes, back to homework, back to making school lunches, back to life. Oh how I love the simplicity of Summer and doing whatever we want, whenever we want. But alas, whether I like it or not, we’re back in 2 short weeks. Things have changed with my kids school lunches over the last 2 years. I used to make my kids beautiful bento-style lunches every day of the week. It was something I loved to do, and something they loved to get. But somewhere in the last 2 years, our lives got busy. Like really busy. Kirsten started dancing competitively 2 years ago, and we will be at the dance studio 4 days a week this coming year. Camden plays indoor soccer 2 days a week, the kids both swim 1 night a week and I’ve now signed Kirsten up for piano lessons 1 night a week. My husband and I also work full-time outside the home. We are generally up very early in the morning and my kids are at daycare in the morning before most kids are even crawling out of bed. Most days I am up before the sun comes up and I don’t get home until it’s dark. My beautiful bento lunches that I used to photograph in gorgeous afternoon light, are now a thing of the past. And that’s okay. Our lives got busy, but they got busy for the better. The kids love their sports and love the friends they have made. Now I still make school lunches for my kids, but they aren’t nearly as elaborate. And they are also made at about 10:00pm at night right before I am about to crawl into bed and crash which means no beautiful photographs. My lunches are still healthy, still made with love, but more simple. I still love all my wonderful bento supplies, but I’ve found that over the last couple years that I love the more simple supplies. Supplies that make my life just a wee bit easier. Bento containers with less individual pieces to clean, bento picks that can make a lunch cute with literally ZERO effort and cute accessories. I always buy new stuff at the beginning of each school year. It’s not like I need new stuff, I have MORE stuff than anyone I know. But I love new stuff and I love finding my new favourites and things to make my life easier. So alas, these are the new things that I have purchased for this coming school year. They are simple, easy to use, easy to clean, and cute. They are going to make me a happy mommy and my kids happy too! Below you will find out about each of my new favourite things. Click on the title to bring you to the product (contains affiliate links).
Over the years I have figured that I love lunch containers with 3 compartments. 1 for a sandwich, and 2 smaller compartments for snacks – fruits, veggies, cheese, crackers, etc. They are the easiest for me to pack and the easiest for me to clean. I’ve found some new 3 compartment containers this year and I am super excited to use them.
1) Tupperware Lunch-It Containers – Who doesn’t love Tupperware?! It’s probably the longest lasting most trusted name in plastic containers. A friend of mine was selling Tupperware and when I saw this brightly coloured pack of lunch containers, I just KNEW I HAD to have them. They look awesome, they are beautiful, and with only 2 pieces (lid and container), they will be super easy to use and clean. I can’t wait. Tupperware Lunch It 2pc Set – Divided Lunch Square – Green and Purple
2) Sistema Snack-Attack Duo – Another 3 compartment container. But what’s different about these containers are the 2 smaller compartments. The smaller compartments have snap close lids on them so you can put runny stuff inside. My kids love carrots and ranch dressing. I can put carrots in 1 compartment, ranch dressing in the other, snap close the lids and everything will remain separate and fresh until lunch. These are unique and I haven’t really seen any other containers like this out there. I’ve already used them for Kirsten’s dance workshop last week and I already love them! They will certainly be a container I will be grabbing over and over again. Sistema Snack Attack Duo To Go Lunch Box (Blue)
3) Thermos Stack N Lock Containers – These are a new thing for us. My kids generally don’t get hot lunches at school because they didn’t want them. They were perfectly happy with a sandwich and snacks. But they’ve been starting to ask for hot lunches – and who am I to deny them that? I found these cute Thermos stack n lock containers and fell in love. They are easy for kids to open and use, and stack on top of each other for easy carrying and storing. They will keep their lunch hot (or cold!) for hours and I’m super excited to use them. Thermos Graphite Stack N Lock 12 Ounce Insulated Food Jar
4) Preserve Mini Food Storage Containers – These are fantastic. They are 8oz containers in fun colours that have a twist on-off lid that is super easy for kids to use. They will be great to hold yogurt, puddings, jellos and leaky fruits. And they’ll also be great for holding just about any other snack too. Love them! Preserve Round 8-Ounce Food-Storage Container, Mini, Apple Green
5) Happy Face Forks and Spoons – Talk about CUTE! These are one of those accessories I was talking about which requires ZERO effort from me and ups the cuteness of their lunch instantly. They are stainless steel, and totally awesome. I bought lots of extras so I don’t run out. The kids love them and they are absolutely perfect for school lunches. SODIAL(R) Smiling Smiley Face Spoon Fork Set Kitchenware Tableware
6) Birdie Picks on a Tree Base – It’s no secret, I’m a bird nerd. And my kids are becoming little bird nerds too. When I saw these birdie picks, I fell in love. And what’s even better about them is that they come with a SUPER CUTE tree base that holds all the picks in place. It is absolutely adorable. These picks will make my lunch cute, again with ZERO effort from me. Love it! MU NEJE Bird On The Tree Shape Birdie Fruit Fork Holder Set(White)
7) BUILT lunch bags – I always buy new lunch bags every year. After a year’s worth of use and washings, I always like to start fresh. I’ve been wanting to buy these BUILT lunch bags for awhile, and this year I did it. They are fantastic. They fold compactly, but also hold a good-sized lunch. They will easily store all my lunch containers I bought, and are insulated to keep the lunches cool until lunch time. I always pack an ice pack in the lunch bags too. BUILT NY Gourmet Getaway Designer Neoprene Lunch Tote Lunch, Dahlia (LB31-DLA)
8) Tupperware Water Bottles – These are new, bright, colourful and fun. I saw them and I loved them. They have a unique flip-top lid so the kids don’t have to take the lid off and potentially lose it. They come in different sizes and colours too so you can get exactly what you’re looking for. And Tupperware is the most trusted name in plastic containers, so they just have to be good! TP-760-T750 Tupperware Aquasafe Sports Water Bottle (Flip Top 750ml, 4 Pcs)
9) Lunch Mail lunch notes – These are another one of those things that I can pack in my kiddos lunches to make them instantly more fun with ZERO effort from me. They are super cute, have really cute graphics, and entertaining and encouraging messages. My kids are going to love these. Lunch Mail – Food
So that’s that. Simple supplies. Bright colours. Easy lunches. Fun stuff. It’s going to be a good year.
Are you looking for more bento supplies? I have it all. I’m not kidding. Below you will find a write-up I did of my favourite bento supplies from last year. Here you will find everything from more simple stuff, to genuine bento-making supplies. These are tried and true items that I still have and love!
1. One of my most favourite new bento boxes this year is the Rubbermaid LunchBlox Kit – the kits come in Purple/Pink/Green and Blue/Orange/Green I’ll have a whole post about them this week and I can already tell they will be my go-to bento box this year!! I love them.
2. Another favourite of mine, Yumbox, has come out with new colours for their previous style lunch box and a new design which will now hold a full sandwich! I’ve already used mine a few times this summer and it’s awesome! These 2 hold full sandwiches – Yumbox Anguria Pink and Yumbox Pomodoro Red
3. One of my all-time favourite set of bento sandwich cutters are made by cutezcute – see them below. Cutezcute has now come out with a new set of sandwich cutters called Cuddle Palz. I love how adorable the designs are and how easy they are to use. You can take a simple sandwich and turn it into a piece of art in seconds. I’ll have a full post about them this week too! – CutezCute Sandwich Cutter Kit
4. I’ve recently begun using special carving tools to make my bento boxes and they make things SOOO much easier. This particular set is the best I have found. These bento carving tools help you make precise cuts, circles, balls are more. I love them. Bento Carving Tools
5. New and large silicone cups. I love silicone cups in my bento boxes, but I find that most are usually very tiny and hold very little food. These new silicone cups are large and wonderful. I absolutely love them! The come in hearts, flowers and clovers – Bento Silicone Cups
6. More colourful silicone cups. I had bought these silicone cups at a Canadian grocery store and all my followers were always asking where they could get them! Well they are in luck! Amazon now carries them. They are large, colourful and add a great element to bento boxes! – Freshware 12-Pack Flower Silicone Reusable Baking Cup, Six Vibrant Colors
7. Eye picks! Are these not the cutest bento picks you have ever seen?! I adore them, and that is not an understatement. They add instant cuteness to a bento box! – Eye Bento Picks
8. Reusable silicone baran. Sometimes you need to use baran in a bento box to help separate dry foods from the wetter foods. I love these baran because they are thick silicone, bright and colourful and last forever. Did I mention that I love the bright designs?! -Bento Silicone Baran
9. And finally, new thermos water bottles. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of thermos funtainer bottles. My kids bring water to school every single day and their water is still cold when they come home from school after a long 8 hour day. These bottles are amazing. My kids are getting bigger though, and needed bigger bottles. I found them and they are marvelous!! – I got Purple for Kirsten and Charcoal for Camden.
So, there you have it! 9 new bento supplies that I absolutely love and you will be seeing a lot of this year.
Are you looking for more bento buying inspiration?! Here is a re-cap of last year’s post……………..
Now that my kids are getting a bit older/bigger, I’m really loving the larger style bento boxes. They can hold an entire meal for my kids and there are some really cool designs and layouts out there. I usually use these boxes for my kids afternoon nutrition break, which is like a lunch for them.
#1 – Easylunchboxes – EasyLunchboxes Classics and EasyLunchboxes Brights
#2 – YUBO – there are lots of different colours and dozens and dozens of different designed face plates – here’s a link to a blue pirate one – Yubo Blue
#3 – Yumbox – Green Yumbox and Pink Yumbox
#4 – Goodbyn Bynto – come in several different colours – Green, Pink, Red
#5 – Sugarbooger Good Lunch box – owls, bugs, and robots
My kids have a morning nutrition break at school as well as an afternoon nutrition break. For their morning nutrition break, I usually like to pack a smaller bento box that is more snack-like. These smaller bento boxes are also great for bringing out to sporting events, running errands, appointments, etc. These are my current faves.
#1 – Steeltainer snack container – White and Blue
#2 – Lunchbots – Orange Duo
#3 – Trudeau Fuel Everest sandwich box – Assorted Colours
#4 – Lock and Lock 4-square – Lock and Lock
#5 – Colourful two-tier bento boxes – Blue, Pink, Green and Orange
And then there are novelty bento boxes – super fun and super cute! These are the boxes that are both functional, and favourites with the kids. There are so many cool designs out there, it’s easy to find a favourite for your kiddo. Here are my tried and true favourites.
#1 – LEGO lunch box – Assorted Colours
#2 – Hello Kitty bento box – the one I have is currently out of stock, but here is a similar cute one – Hello Kitty Bento Box
#3 – Fruity bento boxes – Pear, Pineapple and apple
#4 – Froggy bento box – Froggy
#5 – Assorted 1-tier designed bento boxes – Hello Kitty, Bear, Panda, and Round Polka-dot
Then we have picks. I adore picks – they are probably my most favourite bento supply. There are SO MANY fun and cute designs out there and they are one of those things that add instant cuteness to any food without really any effort at all. Gotta love that! Here are my favourites.
#1 – Assorted cute and colourful animals – 8 animals
#2 – bee, ladybug, flower, clover – 4 assorted
#3 – music notes – music notes
#4 – leaves – Leaf picks
#5 – alphabet – letters
#6 – panda bear – pandas
I also really love small bento cutters. I use them to make fun design elements in the bento box, and to cut veggies and fruits into fun shapes. There are a lot of fun designs out there and these are some of my favourites.
#1 – animal cutters with faces – Animal Faces
#2 – cute small cutters with faces – 14-piece set
#3 – stainless steel veggie/fruit cutters – Large and Small
#4 – wilton alphabet cutters – Alphabet
#5 – assorted packs of small bento cutters – Set 1, Set 2, Set 3, Set 4 and Set 5
And then there’s large cutters. I mainly use the larger cutters for making shapes out of my kids sandwiches. These shapes are some of my favourites, and some of these even make sealed sandwiches which the kids think are very cool!
#1 – Cutezcute – Sandwich Cutter
#2 – Lunch Punch sets – Animals, Transportation, Puzzle, Sweets and Whimsical
#3 – Wilton comfort grip cookie cutters – Flower, Butterfly, Heart, Daisy, Round
#4 – Kotobuki sandwich sealers – Assorted Shapes
These are some of my favourite sauce cups and small silicone cups. These are great for holding small bits of condiments, or small snacks or treats. They have some adorable designs out there and the kids really enjoy these.
#1 – Monbento sauce cup – Pinks, Blues, Green/Gray, Black/White
#2 – Animal sauce cups – 4 Animals
#3 – Panda/bunny sauce cups – Panda/Bunny
#4 – Fruity/veggie silicone cups – Assorted
#5 – Animal/flower silicone cups – Assorted
#6 – Fun animal silicone cups – Assorted
#7 – bunny silicone cups – currently out of stock, will update when available
And then there are LOTS of fun bento extras. There are super fun egg molds, colourful silicone cups, decorative sandwich cutters and stampers, silicone elastic bento bands for keeping bento boxes closed and baran. Baran is an awesome tool to add instant cuteness to a bento box. I use it a lot. Here are some of my favourites.
#1 – egg molds – Car/Fish, Monbento, and Bunny/Bear
#2 – silicone bento bands – Assorted
#3 – silicone cups – 2 piece
#4 – baran – Assorted, Silicone Leaves, Colourful Silicone Flowers and Pink Colourful Flowers
#5 – assorted sandwich cutters and stamps – Bunny/Bear/Frog, Bear/Bunny/Flower, Transportation and Hello Kitty
I use bento décor items a lot. These tools can really take bento and cute food to the next level. They are easy to use and I really love them. Here are my favourites.
#1 – food safe markers – Assorted Colours
#2 – sprinkles – these are some of my favourites – Chocolate Jimmies, Rainbow Nonpareils, Jumbo Confetti
#3 – icing eyes – Candy Eyeballs
#4 – crinkle veggie cutter – Crinkle Cutter Knife
#5 – carrot curler – Carrot Curler
And finally – those items that complete the bento experience. You’ll need good drink bottles, utensils, ice packs, and of course good lunch bags. I use the skip hop animal bags for my kids smaller bento boxes, and the other 2 for their larger boxes. I’ve also been using Thermos Funtainer drink bottles for them lately and I’ve been loving them. They keep drinks cold all day and the kids love them. Here are my favourites.
#1 – Thermos Funtainer Drink Bottles – Assorted Popular Designs
#2 – Ice packs – 4 pack
#3 – Utensil sets – Monbento, Blue Rabbit, and Pink Bear
#4 – Lunch bags – Skip Hop Assorted Fun Animals, EasyLunchboxes Assorted Colours and Wildkin Olive Kids Assorted Designs
Happy bento shopping!
Looking for more? I highly recommend the bento supplies at All Things for Sale/Bento USA. They have awesome service, great shipping worldwide, and a HUGE selection of bento items. Check it out! There are hundreds and hundreds of items.
I love using Earth Day to teach my kids the importance of our planet and how important it is to love earth! I also love celebrating my doing a fun craft and/or having a yummy snack. Here are 10 fun earth day crafts and yummy earth day snacks that my kiddos have enjoyed over the years. Click on the links below to get to the original posts for full instructions…
Happy crafting and eating!
St. Patrick’s day is coming up quickly and this easy bento box lunch filled with lucky shamrocks and colourful rainbows is sure to make your little one feel like they found their pot of gold. Get all the details on how I made it at CBC Parents.