After the nightly wrangling of kids into the bath, into their PJs, onto the potty, into bed, back into bed, and under the covers, I typically collapse into a useless heap on the couch. And the last thing I want to do is pack a lunch.
I’d welcome anything that made this task less tiresome. But something has come into my life that fills me with geeky-mom glee: Henry’s new bento lunchbox.
When I spotted this bento with its own camouflage carrying case (camouflage carrying case!), I seriously couldn’t type in my credit card info fast enough. Thankfully, Henry greeted its arrival with as much delight as I did. We marveled and fussed over the little compartments, matching stainless steel water bottle, and tiny dry-erase board (for love notes from mom, natch).
My husband hoped Henry wouldn’t get laughed out of the elementary school lunch room.
So far, he hasn’t. And I’m having a ball scurrying around the kitchen finding ways to fill it. I’m well aware of the art form that is bento, and I’ve spent more time than I have on sites like this one. But for now, I’m packing Henry’s bento with his usual favorites, so as not to rock his world too much. The poor kid just started first grade and is riding a bus for the first time in his life. Cheese cut into the shape of airplanes and a hard-boiled egg with a face might just put him over the edge.
Here are some of my first cracks at it. Main courses have been PB&J, whole wheat banana bread, string cheese and Wasa crackers, and ham and swiss. There’s always a fruit and a yogurt and usually a little sweet treat like a granola bar or a few M&Ms or recently, pieces of candy corn mixed with nuts. But that’s the beauty of bento: Food in little compartments just looks cute and delicious (Guess who already knew this? The evil genius who dreamed up Lunchables.)
I love that I don’t have to mess with multiple plastic containers or worry about stuff getting crushed. What I don’t love? The high-maintenance care instructions (Remove the lid’s five silicone rings and hand-wash them daily? Um, no.) This bento is also probably a bit large for little Henry, looking more like a young executive’s briefcase than a lunchbox. If this becomes a problem, I’ll simply snag a smaller box for him. And make my husband carry the camo one to work.
If you’re looking for bento ideas, you can read my story for Parents magazine here.
Want to see some amazing cheese turtles and cucumber flowers? Check out this cool site.