Eat healthy and save money-Pack your own lunch!

My family is very fortunate to live in Florida.  I grew up freezing my skinny white legs off in Minnesota.  I often joke that once I thawed out, I never wanted to go back.  I do miss all the wonderful Minnesotans I knew in my younger years, but I can always go back & visit.  I live in paradise!  Yes, we have our share of snowbirds driving slowly everywhere and some of the old South mentality, but sunshine is abundant here, and most days I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Lady Liberty Miss Piggy

We don’t have season passes, but our kids (currently 3 and 4) are old enough to really enjoy Disney now.  We live in Sarasota on the Gulf Coast so we wake up & drive to Orlando in the morning and usually return the same evening.

Bentoriffic the herbivore

Even before we were plant based (meat & dairy free), we had trouble finding food we considered acceptable in the parks.  There are a lot of unhealthy choices in all the parks, and we also have severe (life threatening) food allergies to worry about.  When we inquired after the first big trip, we realized we could bring coolers into the parks  Rather than worry all the time about food contaminated with allergens or something not having healthy ingredients, we pack lunch ourselves.   Hurray!   That was it for me.  Unless we’ve stayed overnight there, we’ve never paid for a full meal since then.  Even as a Florida resident, the tickets are still about $90 per person.  Yikes!  Not to mention that even at the most affordable places to eat in the parks, a family of 4 can plan on lunch starting at $50 for a meal & drinks.  You can see now why we make it a day trip.  The days of taking the family to a theme park for a day can cost more than a couple of nights in a hotel!


So, when we go to the park for lunch, picnic, the zoo or any road trip or theme park, we always pack our own meals.

I have an arsenal of lunchboxes, bento boxes and lunch packing containers.  There are a few that I highly recommend for traveling light.  For this trip in particular I chose Easy Lunchboxes.  Here are the reasons why I love them.

1.They’re lightweight but heavy duty in the durability department.  These aren’t your cheapo grocery store lunchboxes.  They take a beating and still look like they did when I purchased them.

2.They stack two at a time into the Easy Lunchboxes compact cooler.  There is still room for ice packs, napkins, utensils and the Epi Pens we travel with just in case.  AND they stack inside one another once they’re empty.

3.They are one of the best values for your money with a longer term lunchbox.  Amazon is the best place to find them.  They’re available in classic colors and a newer “brights”.  There are also Mini Dippers that are great for sauces, dressings and dips that fit inside.

Bentoriffic Mickey & Minnie Sandwich minisI owe an extra HUGE thank you to a sweet woman who I’ve never met, Daisy Selalu.  She is an amazing bento artist currently living in Japan with her family.  She bought these Disney bento picks at Tokyo DisneyLand for me and mailed them.  When you have a moment to be in awe, please check out her creations here Daisy Selalu’s blog.  They truly are food art.

The sandwiches all have almond butter, SunButter and either strawberry jam or agave nectar in them.  I used Rudi’s Organic Whole Wheat bread and some mini cutters that I bought on eBay.  In between the sandwiches I wedged in sugar snap peas and apple slices.  In the top compartments are pineapple pieces and local Minneola tangelos sliced.

Bentoriffic Mickey rainbow fruit bentoWe all shared this fruit packed Easy LunchBox to go with our sandwiches.  To be honest, I’d rather have the fruits & vegetables than the sandwiches most days.  In the top left are more sugar snap peas, blueberries are packed in the top right with a cantaloupe Mickey on the top right.  In the main compartment are pineapple sections, cantaloupe chunks, apples and a dried apricot Mickey.  The colorful forks are actually Mickey corn picks that I found on our last trip.  We used these instead of utensils this trip.  Yum!

Bentoriffic Mickey bentoMy husband’s lunch is just a larger sandwich with a Mickey bread heel cutout on top.  His Mickey Mouse container is full of cashews.   Helpful hint: go look for fun Easter “egg” containers now in stores.  They make great mini containers all year-long with your little one’s favorite characters on them!  I fill them with dried fruits, nuts, seeds & small berries.  And lastly he has cucumber slices.

Bentoriffic Minnie bento

I packed myself a Minnie bento box with cashews as well in the small container and mini carrot sticks in the top left compartment.

DSC_0001Other than a fruit cart, this was really the only option for a snack.  So glad we packed all those fresh fruits and sandwiches!

Next time you’re planning a fun, family outing plan ahead to save time and lots of money. Enjoy the weekend!

Traveling lunch items we also use and recommend:

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6 thoughts on “Eat healthy and save money-Pack your own lunch!

  1. daisyselalu

    It’s half past 3 in the morning here, something woke me up, and I found your post, ha! 😀 Thanks for the shoutout Sarah! Great lunches, and so cool of your husband to let you make his lunch cutesy too. I wish to visit your Disneyland one day!

  2. Alicia

    This is the craziest find!! I have never owned a bento. My first one came yesterday. We are planning our 7th family trip to WDW. We are staying in a villa for the first time, we recently became a family of 5, so we will have a kitchen. In the past we have always bought the dining plan. Six months ago, however, we became an all organic family. We love our table service meals, but the breakfasts and lunches we realized we could easily do without. And with being in the villa, I decided I would prepare those meals. So then the question was how to take them into the parks. Enter the bento! Then I find this blog!!! Thank you! I have a couple of questions. 1. Have you seen those Disney picks anywhere else? I want to order some! 2. How does your cooler check go upon entry. Was it a total hassle? I wonder if you didn’t have transparent containers if they would want them opened?

    1. bentoriffic Post author

      1.I would kill for more of those picks! I have never seen them here. My friend bought them in Tokyo DisneyLand where bento making is very popular. I bought those colored Mickey corn holders that work well. In Orlando, they have cookie cutters, toast presses, etc that work well for the same thing. Other than that, your best bet is eBay.
      2.I am always surprised how fast the cooler check is. We’ve been to Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom and never once been questioned. If so, my answer is that a) we have life-threatening food allergies and b) we are plant based (vegan) which are both true and valid reasons. No hassle at all. The lids to the lunches are colored, and they’ve never looked inside. We also transport EpiPens with needles and those are never questioned either. I am sure plenty of people bring those & diabetic needles too. Congrats on your new addition and have a wonderful trip!


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