Monday, February 23, 2015

Bento Class: DIY Pizzables!

This month & next I'm teaching an after-school enrichment class at my sproutlets' elementary school, introducing kids to the principles of bento & helping them learn to pack their own creative nutritious school lunches! My class is called Bento Lunch Fun - & I think it's living up to the name :)  I know these two have been having fun:

This week's theme was Kid's Choice, & they all wanted to make something with pizza. Like pizza lunchables, they said. That gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about making a lunch that's not just fun, but also nutritionally balanced.  I asked them what they like about pizza lunchables. They were unanimous - "You get to make your own little pizza!" Of course, I agreed, that is fun! Then I asked them what's missing from lunchables. Aha! They quickly realized, & agreed - fruits & vegetables! Right! Okay, so the tomato sauce is technically in the veggie food group, but you don't get much of it in a store-bought pizza lunch. When you pack your own version of a lunchable (that my sproutlets call momables - the class liked that) you can include however much you want of whatever fresh fruits & veggies you like!

Here's my version of a DIY pizza lunchable, with fruit & vegetables, a Clifford the Big Red Dog cupcake ring, a pizza cupcake pick, & alphabet picks:

The kids chose pepperoni & mozzarella cheese for the mini pizzas. For fruit & veg I brought strawberries to show them how to notch the tops to make a heart, apples to show them how to checker the peel (though I didn't use any in my example), mini peppers they could chop for toppings or eat whole, & baby carrots they could decorate with cupcake rings. I brought a tackle box filled with an assortment of my own accessories for them to use - but didn't think to take a photo until after class, so the cupcake rings were already gone :) All the accessories I brought came from BentoUSA.

The students were very proud of their creations :) The little girl on the bottom left pointed out that we could make our pizzables even healthier if we used whole wheat - an excellent point to make,  & another great thing about packing your own bento - you can choose healthier ingredients than what might come in a pre-packaged lunch. These kids did great!



I had actually planned to get whole wheat sandwich thins for our pizzables, but couldn't find any (I should have shopped earlier!) so ended up making do with plain mini bagels sliced & flattened with a cutting board. 

We could fit 3 flattened mini bagel halves in each EasyLunchbox, but some decided 2 would be plenty for their lunch - which made another good point - when you pack your own lunch, you can customize the portions to your appetite, so you're neither left hungry nor with wasted food left over :) 

EasyLunchboxes generously provided my class with reusable divided lunch boxes & Mini Dippers that they got to take home, so they could take their bentos to school for the next day's lunch if they wished! These are the boxes I use most often for my own family - they're so versatile! I also gave each child a spoon that fit in the EasyLunchbox, for spreading the sauce on their bagel, & voila - everyone had their own unique healthier-than-a-store-bought-lunchable pizza lunch! I saw a couple of my students in the lunch room the next day, enjoying theirs :) Our DIY Pizzables were a hit!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Look Who's 100 days Smarter!

It's the 100th Day of School for most of my sproutlets! Kindergartner Birdie reaches her 100th day tomorrow :) It's also breakfast for lunch day at school, so most of the kidlets wanted the pancake hot lunch. Bella wanted some of last night's supper leftovers though, which she planned to heat in the lunch room microwave, so I packed her a Laptop Lunches bento box:

She has some saucy pulled chicken to heat & spread on the bun under the Lunchbox Love note, carrots, cucumbers & tomatoes, mozzarella string cheese, a dark chocolate, nuts & sea salt KIND bar, & Light My Fire spork.

To mark Bella's 100th day of school I added a couple of "Look Who's 100 Days Smarter" stickers - one for her & one for a friend - & wrapped her spork in an owl print cloth napkin. I know she'll find this lunch delicious & fun!  :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

What's black & white, black & white, black & white?

A panda bear rolling down a hill :)  Heheh, cute. And I love it when I have bento accessories that go with the jokes, riddles, & facts on our Lunchbox Love notes. Bella loves pandas too, so she loved this lunch:

Her EasyLunchbox is packed with turkey & cheddar wraps secured with panda picks, Craisins in a mini dipper, grapes in a flower cup, & celery with a little panda sauce container filled with peanut butter for dipping. Oh, and the last of the pumpkin pie Oreos :)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Bynto Bentos

It's Throwback Thursday,  (the internet says), so I'm throwing back (is that right?) to a Thursday last February, almost a year ago! My bento blogger buddy Beau - aka The Lunchbox Dad - had just begun hosting a weekly Throwback Thursday lunch link-up :) That week I had linked up this heart-filled Goodbyn Bynto from the previous Spring.

Sydney Bean still loves her Bynto lunchbox, in fact she took lunch in it yesterday. No pics of that lunch though - it wasn't anything creative. I'm still trying to find my groove again - life just seems a whole lot more hectic now than it was 3 years ago when I began this blog. I thought this parenting thing would get easier as the sproutlets got older and more independent, but it seems like the more independent they are, the more involved I find myself having to be! Gone are the days when I could gate them safely in the playroom to amuse each other while I accomplished something. Lately I'm just not finding the time I used to have for my blog :( Oh well, at least I'm making them lunch, right? And it was a bunch of her favourite fruits & a granola bar in a colourful container she likes, so she was happy with it ;)

Here are some more throwbacks to Bynto lunches she's loved:

That rainbow bento was one of my favorites too.
I don't think I ever blogged this one!


 I love how happy she is with her lunch :)
We both liked this one because it goes with a book!

How Did That Get In My Lunchbox tells about the journey foods make from where they begin until they get to us. Read more about it in this post :)
And I love this one because my little Bean Sprout made it herself!

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