Have you heard of bento lunches and bento boxes? It’s a fun trend in packed lunches that traces its origins to Japan.
Bento is a traditional way that Japanese people pack single serve meals they can take with them to work or school. There they often consist of rice, fish or meat, and cooked or pickled vegetables. The container is usual rectangular with separate compartments for each dish.
The key features of bento lunches are that it contains many different kinds of food (in small quantities of each), and they are packed aesthetically.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with bento style packed lunches for my kids, and I’ve been amazed at how much they gobble up. They’re even more likely to eat healthily when it’s presented in such a cute way!
This is what I’ve learned:
Bento boxes are traditionally made of stainless steel, but you can also find plastic and even glass versions. These food containers with an international flair are usually square and have internal compartments that allows you to keep your food separate. This gives you a great canvas to get creative with food.
Yes, with Bento boxes it’s ok to play with the food and come up with some fun and creative lunches for the kids (or yourself). Cut the sandwiches in cute little shapes, make some fun roll-ups, and get creative with fresh fruit, raw veggies, cheese and the likes as sides.
If you are ready to get even more creative, do a quick search online for bento lunch ideas. You’ll find ideas from gourmet food to fun and quirky kid-friendly lunch ideas.
Who knew that you could shape rice and make it look like an adorable panda? You’ll find entire Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts dedicated to creative bento boxes.
Of course there’s no need to go all out. You can make delicious and eye-pleasing bento lunches by taking just a little care with how you place the food in the boxes and taking advantage of simple little tricks like pouring gold fish crackers or raisins into paper or silicon cupcake liners.
Why I love bento lunches
What I like best about bento lunches is that it gives you the opportunity to pack several small, snack like items into one lunch. Your child will have fun picking and choosing for lunch and you know he will still get a healthy meal.
Plus what child doesn’t love a bunch of colourful finger food for lunch. Heck, you may even convince your picky eaters to try new fruits, veggies, cheeses and the likes if you cut them into cute little shapes.
Try it yourself!
Of course these fun and delicious lunches aren’t just for kids. Order a couple of bento boxes and start packing your own lunch. You can go as simple or gourmet as you’d like. Or grab a few of your own favourite healthy snacks and call it lunch.
The possibilities are almost endless with bento box lunches. Let me know if you try it!