Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bento and Bento Tips

Here are my bento from last week! I've also come up with a few tips if you're trying to get started packing lunches :). I'm trying to stay away from microwavable foods because the microwave at school is a bit moody, so I'd love some no-heat food suggestions if you can think of any!

This had to last me the day since I had to work right after school, so it's a bit more food than usual.

Top tier: Pita bread, homegrown cherry tomatoes, carrots, Babybel cheese.

Bottom tier: Ham roll ups (ham, cream cheese, and green onion).

Extras: Candy, chocolate/Pocky, gum (to combat the onions! haha), small plum. The white container has roaster red pepper hummus.

I thought I was being clever and made this one all dipping foods haha xD.

Top tier: Chicken nuggets, apple slices.

Bottom tier: Cucumber, carrots, cauliflower.

Extras: Mini candybars, ketchup, caramel, spinach dip, Babybel cheese.

Drink: Santa Cruz organic raspberry lemonade.

Leftovers, yum!

Top tier: Steamed pork dumplings from my favorite Chinese joint.

Bottom tier: Dried dates, edamame (frozen, this photo is from the night before. I warmed them and ate them with salt come lunch time).

Extras: Hard candy, mini organic chocolate bar, Babybel cheese, teriyaki sauce.

So here are some money saving/bento packing tips:

1. I think planning is important when you want to start packing lunches everyday. At the end of each week, I try to come up with a list of 5-7 ingredients that can be used a lot of different ways. This way I don’t have to have the same thing 3 days a week. For instance dips or spreads (cream cheese, hummus, spinach dip…). You can pair them with vegetables, pita, lunchmeat, anything! I also like it because I usually end up using everything up and nothing goes to waste.

2. Buy bottled water in bulk. Or drink tap/water cooler water from school or work. Sometimes I allow myself one (overpriced!) coffee or vending machine drink per week. You could also use a thermos and take iced tea, orange juice, or whatever else you have in the fridge from home.

3. Freeze, freeze, freeze. For example, I‘ve bought frozen veggie nuggets, edamame, etc. That means I can also use them the next week if I only wanted to have these items once this week. I think it keeps your menu from being boring! But, I try to limit to one frozen food per bento.

4. Buy in bulk. I get my dried fruit and nuts from bulk bins. That way, it’s cheaper because I only want to use a small amount for the week.

5. Use leftovers. This one is kind of self-explanatory… ;)

6. Invest in one of those little ice packs for your lunch box! They’re only a couple bucks and you can use them over and over. It’s an essential for me, because the a/c in my car doesn‘t work, so my lunch sits in my hot car for an hour on the way to school, yikes :P

7. If you want to buy take out, buy appetizers or a small amount. Or even split a main course in half and eat one for dinner, and one for lunch the next day.

So...what do you do for lunch :D?


  1. Your lunches look so delicious and make my pb&j look pretty sad!!

    Love your tips. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Speaking of bento, go check out luxirare post, it's amazing!
    I make sushi a lot for my bentos, also i preportion things i freeze out before i freeze them into ziplock bags, so i can just take stuff out in the morning and throw it in!


  3. Oh dear, I want to eat all of this. POCKY!!

    I think my husband is going to start packing lunches soon, so yay ideas!

  4. YUM!!!! I am too lazy to make bento boxes - but you know, I'm going to try it, you've inspired me. I usually take left over dinner from the night before for lunch if there is any. I'm trying very hard to not buy lunch at work, its way too expensive and I need to save my penny's.

  5. Yum, the ham roll-ups and dumplings! I've never attempted making a bento although it seems like so much fun.

  6. So much healthy stuff! This is definitely inspirational to me, as I usually ending up eating the same thing everyday for a week just because I can't think of anything else.

  7. You have really delicious lunches! I need to buy a bento box now!

  8. Girl I hope school and work isn't too stressful! I anxiously await your next post!

  9. Oh ! Yummy !

  10. yummmmm. i love that you always have the little candybars for snacks! your posts make me so hungry!
    apples and caramel dip are my favourite snacks!

  11. your lunches look so good! I only live 2 blocks from my office, so I usually end up walking home for lunch every day. Today I made mini pizzas out of a whole wheat english muffin and paired it with apple cider. My lunches are not nearly as exciting as yours!

  12. i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you these comments are so supposed to be reserved for livejournal, right? too bad! im on blogspot now.