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Posted on Oct 16, 2007 in Bento, Dumplings or Buns, Fish or Seafood, For Kids, Lactose Free, Meat | 8 comments

Orange and green lunch

Orange and green lunch


Without thinking about it, I managed to pack a lunch almost entirely with two colors: orange and green.

Dumpling lunch for preschooler

Contents of preschooler lunch: Pork and leek Shandong dumplings (full review here) and dipping sauce, grape tomatoes, kabocha squash simmered in mirin and soy sauce, steamed broccoli, and an odd fish fillet with built-in tartar sauce under the breading. The side dish container holds tangerine slices and kiwi.

Morning prep time: 10 minutes, mostly boiling the dumplings in a tiny pot to speed things up. The kabocha was leftover from the night before, and I used the simmering liquid from the kabocha to flavor the microwave-steamed broccoli. In the morning I briefly microwaved the frozen fish fillet and broccoli (in a microwave mini steamer), and sliced the fruit.

Packing: I fully drained the kabocha and broccoli before packing to keep stray juices away from the fish, and stood the broccoli florets upright in a mini silicone baking cup. Grape tomatoes acted as gap fillers to stabilize the lunch in transit. Packed in a Packed in a 270ml one-tier Thomas the Tank Engine box with one hard plastic sub-container removed to fit more dumplings, and a 150ml side dish container. The panda pick was part of a larger set for US$1.50 at Daiso, and I also used a little pronged Anpanman pick for the kabocha.

Verdict: Mixed. Bug ate most of this at preschool, leaving two pieces of kabocha, a bit of broccoli and the kiwi. Afterwards in the car, though, he ate the broccoli and the kiwi but passed on the kabocha. He said he really liked the dumplings and the fish. I’m starting to think he’s finding it difficult to eat kiwifruit pieces on his own — that’s coming back regularly until I help him with the pick. Something to keep in mind as I pack foods that are easy for him to eat on his own…



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  1. another cute, creative bento box lunch - sorry that there were mixed reviews from Bug!! the little Panda in the side dish container is too adorable :0)

  2. More great ideas as usual. Can I ask you where you purchase those dumplings?

  3. I love your site and read it every day for ideas for my own lunch!
    If you’re having trouble with kiwi, you could always try just cutting it in half, rubbing it in lemon so it doesn’t brown, and then giving Bug a spoon. As long as it’s ripe, its supereasy to eat kiwi like this, and it’s a lot less slippery. Kind of like grapefruit, but no little skins.
    Try it!

  4. @1 from VeggieGirl: Thanks! I like the little animal picks as well, but they’re probably better suited for firmer foods as they’re quite thick at the end (and only one prong). Not sharp at all, though, which is a bonus for parents worried about their kids wielding food picks as weapons at lunchtime…

  5. @3 from Jessica: Thanks for reading regularly, Jessica! Thank you also for the tip on kiwis; I hadn’t thought of doing this for a packed lunch. I’ll practice with Bug at home sometime and see if he takes to it before throwing one in a lunch. I hate to do away with kiwis in his lunches totally as they taste good and are visually interesting (oh yeah, and good for you too!).

  6. @7 from Beanbean: Sounds delicious! Did you take a photo? If you did, e-mail it to me and I’ll post a small version of it here in the comments. :-)

  7. @10 from Dunsinaine: Ooh, use the squeeze method! Pour a little of the liquid you want into a shallow bowl or dish, squeeze the sauce container with your fingers, place the open mouth of the container into the liquid, and release. Suction will bring the liquid up into the sauce container; repeat until full. :-)