Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fairy Garden Quickie Bento

Friday, 8/17/12 - She had a make-up class at Little Gym, then we went to the farm to pick up our weekly CSA share.
Pb-chocolate almond butter sandwich, string cheese nibblets,
TJ's Yogurt Stars, green beans, Pink Dip, strawberries

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I needed to bang out something quick, so I chose my fairy cookie cutter and went with a sort of garden-y theme from there. flower cups came from World Market ($2.49/6.)

These lunches were really quick to put together. It took me longer to choose which cutter I wanted than it did to prep and pack all the food! So to anyone out there thinking "Nice, but who has the time?" - using a cookie cutter is faster than cutting off crusts or even slicing into quarters (which is *my* preferred method to eat sandwiches! I hate having to try and support a whole sandwich with one hand!)
Here I didn't use any picks (because I totally forgot! I have some super cute fairy ones!) but they take virtually no time to add, and not only make eating more fun (thus making them more likely to try new things or eat more of the good stuff,) but they also help keep fingers clean! How many schools do you know have the kids wash their hands before lunch? Do you really want them licking juice off their fingers? Ewwww!

A study found that kids prefer six different colors and seven different options when presented with a meal. Much easier to do when packing bento-style, since you can arrange smaller portions of more items, versus needing an individual baggie for everything. And if you just don't have enough different options to offer, muffin cups and picks are an easy way to trick them by adding color!

Mama's Lunch
Lettuce salad w/raisins, carrots, blackberries, and dressing;
chocolate-pomegranate jellies w/Naturebox Cinnamon Spiced Almonds,
sugar snap peas and hummus
I should really start saving time (and prevent lazy, unplanned trips to McDs) by prepping my salads for the week all at once. I could save a ton of time if I tore 5-days' worth of lettuce and cut enough carrots for five lunches all at the same time. My other add-ons vary, but the only time I don't have carrots is when I completely space and forget to add them!
Since I tear my lettuce up by hand, one or two leaves at a time (since I don't want to overfill my box,) it adds a few minutes to my prep time each day. And digging around to find a carrot, wash or peel the carrot, slice the carrot, then cut the coins smaller takes at least an extra minute each day.
I can also pre-fill my dressing containers all at once. I'd easily shave over a minute off my prep time each day, since I have to dig around in my sauce containers box trying to find a matching base and lid each day, plus get the dressing out of the fridge, shake it, open it, pour it, close it, and put it away.

EasyLunchboxes stack nicely in the fridge, if I wanted to have my salad compartment filled in advance, or I could just use a larger resealable container and fill from there each day. No more digging through the bags in the produce drawer, trying to figure out which one has the older lettuce (which I should use up first,) and where did the carrots go anyway...? Even if I'm not packing a lunch for her, I need to be making myself something in advance. I find I often snack on junk because I'm too lazy or only have time to either make myself food or feed the baby. So I either don't eat, eat convenience foods, or get fast food on the way to or from somewhere.

It was a fricken hot day, with no breeze, and Z cried and whined practically the whole ride to the farm that she was broiling, even though I had the AC cranked to full. She didn't eat much in the car, and we were just so drained, I decided we'd take a break and eat our lunches at the farm, since they have a picnic table in front of their store. Plus *I* didn't get to eat on the drive down, so I was pretty hungry!
The farm owner, Terry, came by and saw Z's lunch and was enchanted. She brought Z some (freshly washed) super tiny carrots to add to the mix! It was a lot of fun, even though Z spent more time ripping holes and digging the soft insides out of my loaf of Rosemary Bread (bought at the farm store) than she did eating her lunch!

Our EasyLunchboxes cooler bag (with an ice pack) kept our food chilled, despite the freakish heat. Scoooore!


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