August 7, 2012

Back To School: Get Ready...Be Prepared!

I've been meaning to post a back to school event for quite a while now but I just couldn't get myself organized. I am actually holding a series of giveaway for all those getting their stuffs ready for school. So keep watch of it. I have cool giveaways you wouldn't want to miss.

Everything is related to school lunches.  I know that many have criticized the bento world.  Like we have too much time to do cute lunches for our kids. But truth to be told, we don't. We're like any ordinary moms who are advocates of healthy eating presented in a whole new perspective. Welcome to the BENTO World!!

Here's to get you started:

Bento Boxes & Bags:
Purchase all the needed supplies like bento containers & bags, preferably something your child would want to use and eat on.  That's important because it will encourage and motivate them to eat healthier.

We're making use of the Easy Lunchboxes this year.  And I will be holding a giveaway very soon. So stay tuned if you're interested to try out the best and most economical lunchbox system I've found so far.

Menu Plans:  
The key is planning ahead of time.  Here are some pointers:

  • Make a weekly calendar of main entree and sides (fruits, veggies or treats) ready by Friday to give you ample time to shop for the ingredients. 
  • Cook all food items at least the night before so it doesn't add up when packing it in the morning.  It's best to pack at night especially if you're not a morning person.
  • Pre-cut fruits, veggies, and other treats to add appeal to your lunches.
  • When making big batches of hamburgers, chicken nuggets, eggrolls, meatloaves, and the likes, divide and store them in containers so you thaw per consumption only. 
  • Refer to your school's cafeteria monthly menus for ideas. Ask your children what they like best. Make a home-made version of it with the use of healthier ingredients.  This is very favorable on families with allergies.
  • Refer to frozen store-bought pre-packaged meals to get ideas on what to pack. I'm not recommending to purchase them but just to give you an idea that the option is varied and endless.
  • You can also sign up for MOMables to help you get started with a plan and go from there. I learned to make my own version of pre-packaged lunches through them. So in my honest opinion, it's worth the try. And we're keeping them. I'm holding a giveaway for MOMables at the end of the month to celebrate my blog anniversary. So stay tuned for that too.

  • Bento Accessories: Bento Products
    Gather up your supplies to complete the Bento idea.  Remember you don't need to make it beyond your skills. Just keep it simple but appealing so as not to stress you out. Make use of accessories to jazz it up, then you'll learn your way in once the creativity kicks in.  I get most of my supplies through All Things For Sale since they always cost at a fraction of its price, unless you find something similar in the Dollar Store. That works too.  You can shop locally at any Japanese Bento outlet located on Malls or Japan Town if you have any in your area. Daiso and Marukai are 2 other places to frequent for bento supplies.
    • Make use of silicone cups, or baran sheets as dividers when using undivided bento boxes.
    • Make use of bento picks/forks instead of regular utensils.
    • Make use of cookie cutters to add shape on your lunches. You can start with playdough cutters, sandwich crust cutters, or bite-size cutters, such as FunBites, to make the meals kid-friendly. (I have a giveaway for that too as part of my Back-To-School Event.)
    • Make use of bottle sauce/dip containers when sending in dressing, salsa, dips, ketchups and sauces.
    Pack with Water Bottles: Don't forget to hydrate. Shop for insulated water bottles to keep cold drinks cool for longer hours especially on warmer weathers. Or if you prefer plastic spout reusable bottles, you can fill and freeze them overnight, for another purpose of an ice pack to keep foods fresh.
    • You may also freeze yogurts, and juice pouches for the same purpose. They will thaw by lunchtime.
    • Choose 100% juice rather than from concentrate when choosing juice pouches.  That's a healthier option.
    EXTRAS: Don't forget to label. Label your bento boxes, lunch bags, and water bottles.  It's the best way to keep track of your belongings when you misplace them in school or left them on school bus, after school care, daycare. I'm sure you would want each one of them back.

    I guess that's about it.  I hope this helps in some way.  Any questions? Please leave a comment and I will answer them as honestly as I could. If you want to see the lunches I've sent, you may find them under Bento Galore.

    Happy bento-hunting!!


    Disclosure: All images found herein belong to the said company/manufacturer.  They were used for visual purposes only.  I have not received any compensation for my recommendations.  Recommendation is solely based on my personal  positive experiences with the said company.
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