Bento-ing can be contrary to my current frugal goal of tightening up my food budget.  It could be very wasteful.  I cut away a lot of bread to fit sandwiches to the box,  Fruit and veggie shapes leave a lot behind, cheese buses and sonics leave tons of scraps, and so on.  What do you do with all the leftovers from decorating bentos? 

1. Unless I know I can dice them and use them in another meal that day, stock-suitable vegetables (carrots, zucchini, celery, etc), go into a gallon bag in the freezer along with other cooking scraps (parts of onions, celery tops, etc) to make stock.  Since I’m planning on roasting a chicken a week for the next month, I’ll have plenty of carcass for making stock.

2. Cheese bits are saved in a baggie.  I sprinkle them on my taco soup lunches or use them to make grilled cheese sandwiches.  They can be tossed into scrambled eggs or omelets.  I also use them in savory meat and cheese corn muffins.

3. Meat bits go in those same corn muffins and egg dishes, or tucked into a sandwich if he has one that day.

4. I’ve been bad about bread, but I’ve started to save the crusts and extra bits.  If I collect bread scraps a few days, then whiz ’em in the food pro, I can use those homemade breadcrumbs for meatballs (one of the few non lunchmeat proteins I can count on the kidlet to eat) or breading cutlets for dinner.

5. Usually the fruit scraps get eaten right away by me or the kidlet.  I suppose you could save them and make a fruit salad, but I’m happy to let the kiddo gobble them up with breakfast for a little more nutrtion.

6. I don’t save nori bits.  I don’t use much of it; he doesn’t actually LIKE it, and peels it off anyway.  Just sometimes you just have to have a little black!  No one here (including me) likes seaweed in any form.  Truthfully, opening the bag I have the nori stored in to pull out a little bit to use makes me want to gag with that sudden fishy sea aroma that assaults my senses.  So, bits left after punching out eyes or whatnot just plain get trashed, with no apology.