Monday, August 1, 2011

WFLW - Ballet Bento (What a Waste!)

Last week we had our very first ever Summer Camp! Now that she's 3 and potty-trained, we can start doing fun stuff like this! One of the downsides, however, was that it was on the same day as her ballet class, with only an hour in between to eat, relax, and get there. I made sure to pack us a lunch we could eat on the go, and a snack (as requested) for ballet camp.
Left column: Loose chocolate milk, banana, spoon.
Snack bento: apples w/PB, carrot flowers, Baby Bell cheese.
Right column: Top: apples w/PB, crackers w/brie, turkey and cheddar croissant.
Bottom: PBH, sprinkles w/Kool-Aid, edamame, raspberries, yogurt
I packed our lunches in EasyLunchBoxes since they're the best I've found for use in the car. The snack bento is in a little Sugarbunnies box I got on clearance at the Sanrio store. I like that she can open all these boxes by herself.

For her snack during ballet camp, I tried to choose cleanish foods, and things she wouldn't need help from the teachers for. Also, I wanted to avoid picks or silicone liners, since I didn't know where they'd be eating, and I didn't want them to get lost, stolen or tossed. Since she hasn't been eating her lunch sammies lately, I didn't want to include yet another one for her to not eat, so I added a little PB for protein with her apples. I knew she'd probably prefer raspberries, but they're messier, and I didn't want her wiping berry juice on her leotard. I cut grooves down the side of the carrot before cutting it into coins, even though we were running late, mostly because she eats the carrot when cut into flowers. I pre-stripped the pull-tabs on the wax coating so she wouldn't need to ask the teachers for help getting her cheese open.

My lunch is leftover McD apples with crunchy peanut butter, Wheat Thins with some Triple Cream Brie from Trader Joe's, and a turkey and cheddar croissandwich. I didn't get to eat in the car, since I was driving, so I ate in the lobby during camp. The banana was mostly for me, to help prevent these pregnancy Charley Horses I keep getting, but I would have shared had she asked. The chocolate milk was for either, but she usually prefers water.

For her lunch, I had wanted to make a ballerina sandwich with a new cutter I got, but I couldn't find it and we were running late. Since ballet camp had a princess theme, I went with a crown instead. Our produce drawer had only carrots as veggies, and I didn't want to double up on carrots with her lunch and snack, in case she'd be tired of them by then, so I put some frozen edamame beans in a star silicone liner (eBay.) She likes them frozen or room temp, so I figured she'd eat them whether they thawed or not. She's been omnomnomming every raspberry in sight this Summer, so I figured it would be a good bet to put some in. I put rainbow jimmies (sprinkles) and some unsweetened grape Kool-Aid powder into a bento sauce/sprinkle container (eBay) for her yogurt. I included both a spoon and a shortened bendy straw, and let her decide how to mix and eat her Greek honey yogurt. She chose straw.
I made the mistake of letting her see the lunches before we left the house for her ballet class, so she was immediately demanding to start eating them, before we'd even left. And she wanted her camp snack bento the most, so ate very little of her lunch, out of protest. Just the edamame and some yogurt.

I was able to withhold the snack bento until just before camp, when I gave it to her to put into her camp bag. Then she busted into it. Ah well. I ended up drinking the milk, and she had her water bottle, but she came and had sips of my milk and ate 1/3 of my croissandwich during her snack time, since I was still eating my lunch.

Out of the 31 Princesses at camp, Z was the -only- one with a waste-free snack. [I don't count the cheese wax or banana peel, since they are biodegradable. And I don't count the chocolate milk box, because, quite frankly, I'd rather throw out a box a day than a reusable sippy or drink bottle that didn't get washed out in time and is now too hinky to use again. I use reusable water bottles for daily use and always keep one in the car.] There were 3 or 4 other kids who had reusable drink bottles, but everyone else had a drink pouch or box. And a few more kids had reusable lunch bags/boxes. But Every. Single. Item in Every. Single. Snack (other than ours) was individually wrapped. I wish I were kidding, but I am SO not. There were 2 plastic grocery bags of garbage at the end of snack time. For 30 kids. I was surprised at how disgusted I was about that. I mean, really, I started this waste-free/bento thing mostly for selfish reasons. First and foremost, to make cute food to blog about. Secondly, I was tired of wasting all the plastic baggies. Not from an environmental standpoint, but from financial and tired-of-needing-a-baggie-but-being-all-out standpoints. Don't get me wrong. I'd totally "talk the talk" from an environmental view, but really I viewed it as a personal bonus, rather than the end-goal. But apparently discovering, reading and following other similar blogs have changed my views a lot.

Another issue: since most of the kids had prepackaged stuff, they had to wait for one of the two teachers to open Every. Single. Item. Z was halfway done with her snack before many of the other kids even got to start eating, since they'd had to wait for the teachers to help them. That's why I'd made sure to bring a water bottle I knew she could operate (Contigo, from a Costco 3-pack. I had her try it out first at the store to see if she could press the button,) and peeled her cheese open in advance. I wasn't sure about her bento box at first, but figured it should be fairly quick and easy to get a teacher to help, if they were snacking in a room other than the lobby, where I was. As it turns out, she was able to do it on her own, which pleased her to no end. The only other kids able to snack right out of the gate had their stuff in those fold-over sandwich baggies. (Yes. Every item in its own baggie. Gah!)
And the worst part is that I didn't even shame inspire any of the other mommies into changing their ways, since they'd all dropped off their little angels and gone off to buy more baggies do errands or whatever.

She ate all her carrots and cheese, plus a few apple slices. And some of my our chocolate milk, and the last of my sandwich. I'd left her lunch leftovers in the car, since I hadn't thought she'd be snacking with me, and I wasn't interested in eating any of hers. She ended up finishing it after dinner.

Not surprisingly, after ballet class from 11-12 and ballet camp from 1-4, she was knackered, and fell asleep before I'd finished backing out of my parking spot.

She did wake up when we got home, and we played dress-up and she showed off her Princess hat craft from camp.

Up 'til now, her favorite Disney Princess has been Ariel, which happens to be my favorite too. But now she says she like Belle. But... but... but... we don't have any Belle stuff! And next week is Beauty and the Beast theme...!
Luckily, while cleaning the garage this weekend, I found a Belle knock-off costume that had been on clearance from Oriental Trading Company, and a Mattel Belle sparkly-hair doll (an after-Xmas clearance, ages ago... years before she was born.) I've already packed them into her ballet bag. This time my little Princess won't be the one without a Princess dress!

Check out this week's other fun bento meals!
Bento Lunch 


  1. Your daughter is SO SO SO lucky to have a mom who posts all these amazing details about her young life. What I wouldn't give to know what my day was like at that age. Fabulous! (And I'm really sad to hear how all those other kids lunches were filled with packaged food. Ug!)

  2. Love the photo of the little girl enjoying the bento!


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