Our family has just completed our very first East Coast beach vacation! The timing is fitting because we’re celebrating our one year anniversary of our big, cross-country move and the kids are between camp and school right now. We teamed up with some awesome friends to spend a few days together in Bethany Beach, DE. We loved the beach and the pool. We also loved the kids club! How nice to get a break from the kids so the adults could relax a bit too!
The kids club ran from 10 to 2 daily and required a “bag lunch” for each child enrolled. One of the things I love about my style of packing lunch is that I minimize waste. I’d prefer that my kids not make a single trip to the trash can, so I send them with their own utensils and cloth napkins. I want them to re-use as much as possible. We talk a lot about the 3 R’s and how we can make better choices to Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle. I thought this beach trip would be a great exercise to demonstrate a way to re-purpose something that could otherwise end up in a landfill.
I was inspired by a few of my bento blogger friends’ field trip lunches earlier this year and planned ahead to save plastic containers when I purchased strawberries and blueberries from the supermarket. I also saved a plastic egg tray for poolside snacks. I found that Nick Jr. has a spot on their site where you can make personalized labels with your child’s favorite characters and print them from your home’s printer. Armed with some plastic containers, scrap paper (I printed on the reverse side of my kids’ daily camp reports), and some extra cupcake liners, I set out to make a couple of cute disposable bento lunches. I am pleased to report that they were a hit!
Check out this strawberry container that I turned into a personalized bento box!
Here’s another that was a gigantic blueberry box in its former life:
Fun, right? It was easy too and just took a few minutes. I did rely more on convenience foods than I would for my regular packing, but I was very pleased with these lunches I made with minimal supplies on hand.
And this will not earn me many adult fans, but check out my complete junk-food pool party snack tray:
This was a 24-egg carton that I turned into a feast of candy and popcorn to the delight of the 5 kids in our group. Luckily they had plenty of time to burn off all that candy-crazed wildness with swimming and other pool tricks. Girlie is a fabulous swimmer after a month of camp and spent all her time in the deep end without any floaties. She could even jump in and swim underwater pretty easily. I was so impressed with her improvement this year!
Want more inspiration on packing disposable bento lunches? Two of my bento heroes have written great articles on the topic and have some excellent advice to share. Please check out Biting the Hand That Feeds You and BentOnBetterLunches to see the field trip lunches that I used as inspiration for these meals. If you’re a fan of pinterest, here’s a great board to follow for disposable lunches.
Have you tried making a lunch box out of something you salvaged? I’d love to see your creations!