Packing Lunches...the bento way

Tired of packing the same old foods for lunch every day for you or your child? Wish you could pack healthier, fresher, more nutritious items? 

Packing Lunches...the bento way 1You have got to try packing lunches the bento box way! Essentially, bento is a style of Japanese cuisine that has gained in popularity here in the States because it's a super healthy and fun way to eat. It involves eating small quantities of a variety of foods.

Packing Lunches...the bento way 2Two brilliant moms created the bento-inspired Laptop Lunch System in 2001...and their system is kid-friendly and parent-proof. The "system" is a lunch box with four square-shaped containers (plus one "mini" dip container), a reusable water bottle, and a stainless steel fork and spoon. The system comes in an attractive insulated carrying case (free of characters or big brand names - love that!).

Here's how it works. Every day you pack different fresh items in each square. Need creative lunch ideas? No worries! A handy Laptop Lunch User's Guide is included and it's one of the best books that I've seen on lunch packing to date.

Check out just a short list of the ideas within the pages:

  • Sliced apples
  • Dried apricots
  • Blueberries, rasperries, cherries, or strawberries
  • Grapefruit slices or 1/2 of a grapefruit
  • A plum, a peach, or a nectarine
  • Raw veggies: carrots, bell peppers, green beans, celery, etc.
  • Steamed asparagus
  • Baked potato
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Black beans
  • Pretzels
  • Trail Mix
  • Cubed watermelon or honeydew melon
  • Mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (perhaps cut into fun shapes?)
The idea is that if you offer a little bit of a lot of different foods, your kids will get more variety in their diets and they'll also be more likely to try/appreciate new foods. 
Packing Lunches...the bento way 3     
The Laptop Lunch System is also fantastic because it helps the environment (think of all of the ziploc bags, plastic forks, disposable juice boxes, and single-serve plastic packages that you'll NOT be adding to landfills!).     
The Laptop Lunch System is ideal for kids, for teens, and for parents. The boxes are "cool" enough for older kids, yet "mature" enough for adults. The complete system is $34.95.     
Quick aside...if you're a SAHM or if you have littler ones that aren't packing lunches yet, you might want to try the muffin tin lunch concept. It's also kind of "bento-ish" and a whole lot of fun!     
YOUR TURN: What is your best tip for packing/planning lunches for you, your spouse, or your kids?     

Packing Lunches...the bento way 4WIN IT! One winner will receive a Laptop Lunch Bento Box System, courtesy of SuperMomz. To enter, leave a comment on this post prior to Monday, October 6 at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules). * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.

*UPDATE* The winner is #240 Sue. Congratulations!

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251 comments on “Packing Lunches...the bento way”

  1. My daughter teaches pre school education at the University here and she has shown me this Bento System. I would look until I found it if I had a child in this age group, it is just super, I had never seen anything as neat as this. I wish I could win one, I would talk my teacher daughter into bringing her lunch in one, this would share the information with the children's parents. Many of the parents in the preschool level are professionals, doctors, lawyers and so on, the find things like this and order them online. When you find a product that is great like these are it is so nice to be able to share with the other parents. By the first grade level the kids are just like they are in regular school and have to bring their own lnches to school, the don't get to have this much fun.

  2. If you are just STUCK in "using ziplock baggies" (sometimes for very good reasons, like leakage problems, etc), at LEAST try reusing them -- they CAN be washed and dried, and you maybe get a little "bento" feel by drying them inside out on chopsticks?

  3. My tip is to include a sweet note or message each day. It makes everyone in the family feel loved and appreciated :)

  4. This sounds like a great idea. I may have to borrow the lunch box until my little one is old enough to use it, haha

  5. We use our leftovers for lunches so often that if we don't cook one night, we have to scramble for packable items the following morning. I like to keep a few standbys, just in case, like: yogurt cups, cut up fruit and veggies, raw almonds, string cheese, nutrition bars, and the like. I've had whole lunches of "little meals" made up of these things when in a pinch. Thanks for the giveaway. I love the product idea.

  6. We plan the kids snacks/lunches the weekend before and I have been trying to see that there are healthy leftovers for my husband's lunch, as much as possible.

  7. This is a great contest. Thanks! I pack an ice pack with lunches so I can try and include fruits and veggies.

  8. My best tip is being organized and planning in advance to have variety. This organizer looks like it would be a perfect aid! Thank you for the contest.

  9. Plan meals (even lunches) in advance. Shop according to sales/coupons and plan for that week. Then the night before, do what you can do to make the morning easier when packing their lunches.

    Thank you SO much!!!!

  10. I plan meals a week ahead of time & get as much done as I can the night before the meal is to be eaten.

  11. Love the little dip container. I got some little things like that at a $1 store for dip but they are junk, lids won't stay on. TIP #1 ALWAYS pack lunches night before=no stress in the a.m. Tip #2 I keep goodies hidden in my garage frig, treats only for lunches, sometimes I even put little gumball machine prizes in there. Tip #3 If I feel their lunch is a little boring, I will go up at lunchtime and deliver something hot-mac n cheese, soup or even a cup of cold ice cream. I love this laptop system. I'm obsessed with making the kids lunces different, crazy and fun.

  12. Like others I suggest making lunches up the night before. Mornings are too rushed to try and decide what to put together. Thanks

  13. I try to keep easy-to-pack items on hand, like baby carrots, granola/trail mix, yogurts, etc., so we can grab a healthy lunch quickly.

  14. i make a list of what of what i'm going to pack at the beginning of the week so i'm not questioning what i want in the morning

  15. I make a list ahead of time of everything that is going into the lunch box. There are some things that can be packed ahead of time and others that can go in at the last minute. A list makes sure I don't forget something and there will be a balanced meal.

  16. Planning ahead and packing lunch (or most of it) the night before it is needed is my best tip. Varying drinks, entrees and snacks is important. Finally, keeping healthy items stored to pack is a great tip.

    I'd love to win this Bento Box for myself. It would fit my healthy lunch and a great drink.

  17. I also try to pack lunches the night before, so that hectic mornings go more smoothly. I've also learned that turning ordinary foods into something different and fun helps. For instance instead of cutting carrot sticks into small, short pieces, I tried cutting them length-wise so they are long and skinny - my kids loved it!

    This bento box is great - another creative way to make lunches fun!

  18. My kids won' eat their lunches if they aren't fun so I'll include a little kit of dried fruits or cheeses, croutons, nuts or seeds so they can sprinkle them on their salads or soups. I cut their sandwiches in fun shapes and slip in a little note.

  19. I just recently learned about bento, and I love the concept. My husband and I take lunches to work all the time. We try to use leftovers from meals out -- like when we have a few pieces of fish left over from the fish baskets at our favorite seafood shop, we make sandwiches. I try to save half my meal when we eat at the steak place or a burger joint. It helps cut portions at the restaurant and makes the price of dining out a little more economical (two meals for the price of one).

  20. they are picky eaters-so I pack what I know they will eat-raw fruits and vegs are good. they help me decide

  21. Our family started a little trick during the lean years. Don't feed them any supper and they'll be more inspired to eat their entire lunch.

  22. My ds refuses to eat sandwiches so I've been trying to figure out a way to send his lunch without it getting messy; this looks awsome... That said... Sunday we "plan" the weeks lunch.. then the night before we try to put together the stuff that can be together... Morning of check note of fridge that lists the items needed...

  23. The only way I can pack healthy lunches is to do it the night before. I often eat leftovers for lunch the next day so if I set some aside when I'm putting the food away, I'm more likely to eat it and not be tempted to eat fastfood or not fix a lunch in the morning.

  24. When we have leftovers from dinner I immediately package them in lunch sized containers so that my husband can quickly grab them out of the fridge and take them to work the next morning.

  25. My kids where so picky when it came to their lunches and now I have a grand-girl who is just the same. I packed things I knew they would like and every other day I would introduce something celery sticks with peanut butter or cheese whiz and most of the time it worked. They wouldnt try something new at home but they would at school..go!

  26. I am attending college and this would be great for my evening or very long classes. I really love the idea. Thank you for this chance to win.

  27. I will often freeze the lunchmeat for the sandwiches and then I know it stays cool but will defrost by lunchtime. It works out really well.

  28. The best tip I have is just pack the night before.Mornings are too rushed .I currently use Rubbermaid collapsible containers for lunches. But this system would be great to have everything in one bag.

  29. When planning my weekly dinner menu I also include one for lunch. This would be wonderful to have. Thank you so much!

  30. This would be great because my daughter wants to start taking her lunch and we have started to eat healthier!

  31. I have four kids, and in my morning fog I can never remember who likes what. I have four index cards that they keep updated with a list of their favorites. When I pack, I just pull out the lists and put them next to the right lunch box.

    I would love to buy these for all my girls, but they are a little expensive for me. I'd love to win.

  32. My tip for a kids lunch is to make it fun, pack a little something exra, like a fun size candybar. And for the hubby, leave him a little note telling him that you love him or something of that nature.

  33. The Bento Box lunch system is indeed a great idea, compartmentalizing foods (especially for those kids who like certain foods and can't stand for them to be touched by the ones they dislike!) and creating more possibilities for tasting by
    the organized boxes! It's great when someone takes a tradition like that of the Japanese and integrates it into our culture for everyone to appreciate and use!

  34. I'd love to win this. I'm a big fan of Bento Boxes because they keep foods separated and are useful for so many uses. For example, you can keep your bread from being soggy with tomatoes by putting the tomatoes in the compartment next to the bread!)

  35. I think my best tip is to pack it the night before when you are not rushed. When I pack in a rush in the morning the result is a crappy lunch. I sent my husband a can of Spagettios and a half sleeve of Saltines one day. Let's just say that one didn't win any votes.

  36. We pack lunches the night before and the kids pick what they want and the amount so mornings are not nearly as hectic.

  37. We already pack lunches like this - a lot of small containers w/different foods in them. The kids love having a variety! But it's difficult to fit all the diff. shapes and sizes into lunchboxes so this Bento system would be a DREAM!

  38. Oh, my -- this is great! What a wonderful, and fun, way to use up nutritious leftovers.....I would definitely put this to good use.

  39. My husband is on a diet and is finally (Yay!) eating healthy - so I pack him a daily lunch box and snack pack (to avoid those office sweet-tooth temptations. I always include: an apple, two bananas and two small cans of (low sodium) V-8 Juice. For VARIETY, I vary the sandwiches everyday and alternate with, different "sweets" (muffins, healthy cookies and other snacks. Sometimes I throw in a small bag of unsalted nuts (curbs the appetite.) Although they're are kind of messy - I prefer unsalted peanuts or pistachios IN THE SHELL - which slows down the snacking!

  40. That's an awesome lunch box, it would be perfect for my son! My tip is to pack the no fridge required stuff the night before and have all the other stuff ready and together in the fridge so you can just throw it in, in the mornings.

  41. I don't pack lunches that regularly, but I always try to make sure I have a good variety of healthful items to put IN the bento box to help avoid a meltdown due to hunger when we're out of the house for an extended period of time.

  42. Wow, this is the coolest thing. I am so about stopping the waste cycle! I love that there are no plastic baggies and that there are no characters on the bag.

  43. I've always tried to be a little creative with packing lunches because they can get boring. I might wrap the food in colored cling wrap, put a sticker on the wraps or put a nice note in with the lunch. But, I always try and do as much as I can the night before since mornings seem to get away from me too fast.

  44. I buy small bottles of water, which I freeze and put into their lunch boxes in the morning when packing lunches, it keeps food cold and is unfrozen in time for a very cold refreshing drink of water.
    Thank you for a chance to win.

    [email protected]

  45. Oh my goodness! I've seen these in magazine lately and thought they were such a great idea. We're working really hard at living a more green life and this would be so wonderful to have! m_huston(at)hotmail(dot)com

  46. I'm new at being a momma of a school aged child, so I am still learning. I do always pack my little one's lunch box the night before though!

    I saw these laptop lunches in Parents magazine and fell in love. I am hoping so badly that I will win! :)

  47. WOW!! Those are great! No more ziplog bags!!! My tip is to ALWAYS make sure an ice pack is in the freezer and do everything the night before! Thanks!

  48. My son loves peanut butter sandwiches. I try to make them in different ways to keep it interesting like cutting it into triangles or strips or flattening the bread and making a "roll up". I pack his lunch every day, so I could really use this. Thanks!

  49. Like others above have said my tip is to plan ahead. This system would help me be more organized for my sons lunches. thanks for the chance!

  50. My best tip is to plan ahead for the week so everything is on hand for fast packing of healthy lunches!

    Thanks :)

  51. This is a great way to pack a lunch. I always have trouble getting leftover containers in the lunch bag I currently use. Thanks for the giveaway!

  52. I would have to say, pack the night before. I am not coherent in the mornings and it would be an adventure everyday finding out what strange thing I had packed! Great giveaway, thanks!


  54. If I have any vegetables left over - I put them in a plastic container and freeze them. Then when I make homemade soup I have all these vegetables already at hand. Makes wonderful soups!
    Thanks for this great contest and prize@!

  55. My tip is that I have alittle of everything in the house. I do the boys lunches in the morning and I neverk know what they are going to want that day to eat. I would love to be able to make lunches in the evening but my oldest is very picky about what he wants.

  56. So glad that you are back and at it on the blog! I was getting worried! :) My best tip would probably be plan ahead. When I pack my husband's lunch, I always like to keep a good variety so that he doesn't get burnt out on one thing...Planning ahead is the only way to go!

  57. I try to get what I can get done the night before. And I also plan for leftovers.

    If I'm making something I know my daughter or husband likes, I'll make extras to have for lunch the next day.

    Awesome contest.

  58. How cool is that! I've been trying to find creative ways to send my son to school without plastic bags. This would be fab for both kids!

  59. I totally love this system! I'm back in school myself and I've been eating whatever I can grab from the vending machines. Not good at all! I would love to lose ten pounds, but the way I'm eating I might just be gaining ten pounds.

  60. I like the classic tips of freezing the drink the night before to keep things cool or using a thermos to keep soup warm. Oh and always put the heavy stuff on the bottom.

  61. I love these! They would be perfect for my little grandson. He attends pre-school two days a week and they have what they call the "lunch bunch"...those children who will stay through lunch. He loves to be a part of the "lunch bunch". He eats a wide variety of foods so he is easy to pack for but he loves to be a part of the "packing lunch" process and he can do a good job of picking a fruit, picking a vegetable, etc. He would love filling the different sections.

  62. I've been wanting one of these for a while now!

    My only real "tip" for packing lunches is to not buy small sizes. If you like yogurt, buy a large container of yogurt and put it into a small tupperware container. Juice? They make small reusable things for juice. Don't buy small bags of chips, just put some chips in a reusable bag. Etc. etc. Don't be wasteful!

  63. Chance it up everyday. Throw in a few surprises. Like the one day I put a pickle in my sons lunch and he said his whole class was jealous. Who new, a pickle?!?

  64. I have to admit that when I made my daughters lunch this morning, I used 4 baggies - yikes! This system is great!

    My best tip is to make the lunch with the person who's gonna eat it! I've made so many uneaten lunches that end up in the trash because it just wasn't what they wanted. It's worth it to just ask!

    Thanks for the great contest!

  65. I just saw one of these on a site and thought what a great idea and so green. I then got one of the newsletters with it in there I put it in a folder because I hoping to be able to get my hands on two. It would save soooo many plastic sandwich bags :)

  66. We have six kids so making lunches every day is a real chore. We have made it easier by planning the lunch menu for the week every Friday night, then we go buy the groceries. Every morning it is easier to make the lunches since I already what is going in them. The kids are able to help, they just look at the menu on the fridge and put the stuff in the lunch boxes. Some days, the older kids have been able to make all of the lunches without our help.

    I would love to win this lunch box for myself, I've been working on losing some weight and this system could help me have correct portions to eat during the day.

  67. Welcome back! Lately, I've been on a wrap kick. You can make a wrap out of just about anything--throw it in and roll it up. My husband eats on the go. So, it's also easy to handle; and stuff isn't falling out of it like a sandwich.

  68. I make extras at dinner for lunch the next day and pack it up once it is cool enough. Would love to have a couple of these, lol

  69. I only have to make lunches a few times a week, so, I always include a little note to my husband or daughter along with their food. Sometimes its silly and others its a reminder of how much they mean to me.

  70. I let my son choose one food to pack in his lunch everyday. It's not usually the healthiest food in his lunch, but I have found that he eats more of the healthy stuff if he has a part in packing his lunch! He would love this lunchbox!

  71. Not sure why but my first comment did not go through so I will try again. This is such a cool item. would love one of these bentos. I like packing lunches for hubby and the kids in tupperware containers with compartments but this looks even better.

    I always like to pack lunches the night before. It makes the mornings easier. Also, I use the Gerber plastic containers my daughter used to hold snacks.

  72. My kids love it when I freeze frozen yogurt the night before in a thermos and send it in their lunch. By lunch time icecream is softer and Yummy!

  73. So glad to read your posts again, Stephanie! Welcome back. I hope the rest of pregnancy is much more restful and wonderful for you!

    I grew up with a mini bento style container that I sometimes used for my school lunches. I LOVED IT. I definitely want to use a lunch box system for my entire's way cheaper than going out to eat!

    Plan ahead and make sure there are plenty of fruits and veggies. If you have time, you can roll up kim bop (Korean style sushi that doesn't need to be refridgerated)...sushi is so easy to make as long as the chopping prep is done the night before.

    If you have things that turn brown from oxidizing, like apples or avocadoes, squeeze a little lemon juice or orange juice on them.

  74. I make enough sandwiches with deli meat for one or two weeks.
    I individually wrap and freeze them, minus any kind of dressing.
    I add the dressing before putting the sandwich into my lunch sack.

    janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

  75. So good to see you back!

    I love this idea. Right now my son takes a lunchbox to school with his snacks, and I always have a hard time fitting his water bottle in with his food. I'd love to have one that it built in. I could use one for each kid!!

  76. Bento boxes are so cool. I re-use butter tubs and things like that for crackers or fruit. If it comes home, great, if it gets lost or forgotten, its no big deal. Thank for the chance to win!

  77. I love the idea of small portions of different foods. I am trying to get some baby weight off and this would be a great way to avoid the lunches at school and eat healthier.

  78. My idea is to try to change up the food as much as possible and to try to have as much put together the night before as you can.

  79. This is a really great idea. It is really cute and a great way to eat a healthy lunch in style. Also, it organizes things so that you can keep your portions under control and aren't just filling things to the top when they may be much too big. This way you can keep yogurt separate from fruits and veggies or a sandwich. Really great idea for a product. I think I need a couple!

  80. This is such a great packing device! It would fit in well with what I do. My favorite pick for packing my kids lunches is to make it interesting and fun. That way, getting lots of nutritious and healthy foods in them is easy! One big way I do that is through "dippers"! Instead of just celery or carrots, I'll add in a small container of hummus for them to dip them in. With apples, a bit of organic, natural peanut butter. We'll let them make home-made "lunchables" with whole grain triscuits or similar crackers, some lean turkey and cheese. For my kids at least, things that can be dipped or put together themselves are much more fun!

  81. OH what a FAB that I'm packing lunches for 2 cherubs it gets a little tricky! My best tip is to make the lunches up the night do it that morning is nutzo!! Thanks!! :D

  82. I'm always looking for clever ways to do lunch. The colorful and unique design will make my daughter want to take lunch every day (and it may inspire her to let me include new things!).

    Thanks for the opportunity to win this wonderful item!

  83. My tip is to pack lunches the night before; whenever I tell myself I will just do it in the morning, I end up not getting around to it.

  84. I have been in love with the idea of Bento boxes for a long time now. I would say pack a variety of things so the kids won't be bored of there lunch. Try to put in stuff that won't spoil to easily. Put in fruits, veggies, and a sandwich. Try to be creative and put in different foods each time. Try to pack the food a day ahead of time if you are able to.

  85. A friend was just telling me last week that she likes lunch trays/dividers like this because it reminds her to provide her kids with a variety of things to eat. She said one of her sons even reminds her if she happens to leave one of the compartments empty!

  86. I love this! I have been looking for a practical lunch box fit for work and beyond...I like to keep lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and nut mixes on hand for a quick lunch on the go.

  87. I have to pack my lunch every day...I only have a 30 minute break between classes and I can't leave the school. I'm SO tired of packing lunches, but I think this would make it a little bit more fun! My only tip is to have some Lean Pockets in the freezer for days when I don't have time to make a sandwich! Thanks for the giveaway!

  88. Variety is the spice of my lunch box menus.

    My husband, being Danish, liked only open-faced sandwiches for lunch. I could place three bread slices (usually a dark rye) with things such as pate or sliced egg and capers or shrimp in mayonnaise sauce into a special lunch box. I needed only to separate them with pieces of waxed paper.

    I made a list of many, many sandwich combinations and checked them off through the month. Never had any complaints, only favorable comments!

  89. Definitely needs to be done the night before. I got my kids involved in the process when they were quite young, they are older teens now and pretty self-sufficient.

  90. I've seen these before and love them. I think they would be great for my hubby. I'd like to be able to send him off with something more interesting than leftovers. I don't think I really have any great advice for lunches b/c the only one I pack now is hubby's and it's usually leftovers. I guess I could say to always have something on hand for sandwiches somthing quick for those times when you don't end up with leftovers!

  91. I am glad that my daycare provides lunch so I don't have to worry about it. But it will only be a couple of short years that I will be sending my daughter to school with lunch and this is perfect. I would probablly use it myself. Of course my girl would have to have the pink one!

  92. My picky husband hates a pre-made sandwich that sits in a lunchbox or fridge for hours. So, for egg salad and tuna, a put the mix in baggies so you can just squirt them out onto his bread for a fresh sammie!

  93. My tip: I only get hubby to get a packed lunch about once a week, otherwise he is usually at client lunches. But when I do I always make sure to add a favorite in, luckily with my husband that could be avocado spread on his sandwich or yogurt with wheat germ and fresh fruit! Hopefully my kids are this easy!

  94. I've been hearing a lot about these bento box lunches lately. They look so cute and healthy! I would love to start doing this - I also think it would be great for my husband's lunch.

  95. Our absolutely best idea for packing lunches is to pack/plan the night before! I know it sounds simple, but it saves time and money. I actually have my older boys (13 and 10) pack their own lunches from a set list of available items. That way they get to have some say in what they are eating, and it teaches responsibility. Funny thing is, I still plan my husband's lunch! Oh well! :)

    tfisher83 AT myexcel DOT com

  96. tip- make extra food at meals and set aside in fridge before serving dinner/meals- and make the lunches at night- alot more detail and love is usually put into them

  97. Hello. Growing up I hated the sandwiches in my lunchbox. They would either be to soft and mushy or the PB&J seemed hard and stale. So, what I do for my daughter's lunches is place all spreads and sauces in a separate container with a plastic knife. This allows the bread to stay fresh. As for the PB&J we reserve those for afterschool snacks.

  98. My best tip is that you don't have to pack cupcakes or cookies to leave something special in a child's lunch. I regularly leave my son drawings of friendly monsters, robots and other creatures in his lunch, and he appreciates that a lot more than he would any sweets. Plus, it lasts longer, too. :)

  99. So many ideas, so desperate to win! I would preslice and dice the evening before, and pack the box the morning of. A little split duty.

    Thanks for the contest!

  100. These are so cute and such a fun idea for packing lunches. It would force me to pack more of a variety so I could fill it up.

  101. I would absolutely love to win one of these. I've had my eye on them for almost a year now, and just haven't taken the jump to buy any.

    I've always been terrible at packing lunches, usually just stuffing some leftovers into a plastic container, or slapping together a PB&J sandwich. These containers make *me* eager for lunch... and I'm betting they would make *packing* a lunch fun, too!

  102. wow, I need to get more organized! I am usually running around in the morning trying to see what I can send with my 2 kids for lunch. It would be much easier to send things that aren't pre-packaged if they had a lunch box like this one.

  103. We like to go grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon and spend Sunday evenings as a family chopping up fresh fruits and veggies and splitting them up for the week into baggies that can be easily grabbed for packing lunches. Even my 2 year old gets into helping by counting how many carrots go into each baggie. This way I also get to grab healthy snacks for work instead of those horrible frozen meals.

  104. I plan the night before school/or going to the park and it saves much time. My family is picky so its not always easy sneakin in good foods.

  105. I love the Bento box! Right now - I send DH to work with leftovers in disposable plastic containers. (I prepare meals with the purpose of having enough left over for his lunch the next day. Pssst - that's my tip.) The Bento system might make him more likely to actually bring the containers home. Lol!

  106. Well, this lunch box interests me because I do like to eat healthy and have been tossing all my seperate items into little ziplob bags. It is working since I then take all my little bags and toss them into a large ziploc bag with ice in it. This would make way more sense!!!

  107. I forgot to leave my tip -- Personalize it! Make sandwiches in the shape of letters starting with your child's name. It makes it hard not to eat!

  108. We are big fans and followers of Muffin Tin Meals, but I really want to buy Bento boxes for the kids. They'd love them!
    Thanks for the contest...
    musesofmegret (at) gmail (dot) com

  109. We pack lunches here. . . the trick is to send good, fresh food. Not prepackaged junk. The kids love wraps, a thermos with sloppy joes plus whole wheat chips for dipping, and salads with chicken. We keep dice cooked chicken and keep it in the freezer to quickly toss on a salad with fresh veggies or fruit. Small container on the side holds the dressing. Love this lunch system. . . makes so much sense. MKW

  110. The best tip I have is, packing it the night before. If I wait until morning, things are so rushed, I'm more likely to put processed junk into it.

  111. My tip for lunches: I make homemade bread once a week or so. To keep it fresh, I slice it and store it in a big ziploc bag in the freezer. If we are taking a picnic lunch somewhere, I make the sandwiches on the still frozen bread, and they thaw by the time we are ready to eat. If we're eating at home, I just pop some slices in the microwave for a bit.

  112. That is a cute little lunch pack! I've abhorred the standard lunch boxes for years. Both of my daughters and my husband usually prefer brown bags, because the standard lunch boxes are no better. This would be a nice change of pace, it would certainly save me money, and it would mean one less person buying up throw-away bags.

  113. We aren't packing lunch regularly for our little guy yet, but we do love to picnic whenever we take a day trip. This would be great because I never have enough room in our insulated bag. My tip:when the weather is nice, we picnic even when we're at home (on the front porch or in the back yard). My lo loves to eat outside and seems to be less picky if he's not in the usual high chair situation ;)

  114. I have always allowed my girls to help choose and prepare their lunches the night before. I also sneak a little surprise in there each morning. They have found that they actually look forward to lunch each day and almost always eat it all!

  115. For picky eaters especially, it's good to get them involved in the planning (and preparation, too, if possible). It seems like everyone tends to eat better if they have some involvement in the process.

  116. my husband always takes leftovers and a PB&J, As for my daughter we just got started and I her help me. She helps every step of the way and then she really does eat her lunch. It takes twice as long to make but she eats it!! One side note is she like to try new combos in her sandwiches which I have her take a bite before packing just in case she does not like it.

  117. My kids aren't in school yet, but the system would be cool even for picnics in the park. I also love the muffin tin idea, I think that I might try that tomorrow. The kids seem to eat more when you kind of trick them by changing things up. Great ideas!!!

  118. These look great! We pack Blondie's lunches in a metal lunchbox, but her cup and sandwich tupperware don't fit in it together, and we have to get creative (and use a LOT of plastic baggies) to get everything in there. I like the compartments and the fact that the drink fits inside as well. Thanks!

  119. Hi Steph! How are you feeling?
    I love this idea! Here is my tip. We love the sandwiches at Whole Foods but they're pretty expensive. So we get a nice bread like a whole wheat ciabatta (several actually), we go to the WF deli and buy the meat and cheese and then cut up veggies and then it's super easy to put together. It taste just like the sandwiches at WF and we can prepare them ourselves in just a short amount of time! : )

  120. Plan ahead! I like to have some kind of idea before I start to assemble the lunch... otherwise it ends up really haphazard!

    One of Roo's classmates has this lunchbox system and it is really cool. I'd love to try it out, too.

  121. My best tip for packing hubby's lunch is to change it up often. I try to send a different lunch each day. Thanks for the chance to enter. I have been reading some on bento boxes lately so this is perfect timing.

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