Be your kids hero with Bento Boxes
Look how cute these are!!!!! The other night after blogging about school lunches, I started researching more ideas on how to make a Hello Kitty sandwiches for my 1st grader. In my research I came across some fun ideas. Have you ever heard of Bento Boxes? The picture above came from this bento box blog.
Bento Box lunches are very famous in Japan. The simplest definition of bento is that it is the Japanese word for a boxed lunch. The lunch is usually 3 parts carbs, 1 part protein,and 2 parts fruits, veggies and sometimes a small treat. The foods are selected to provide a balance of colors, flavors and textures.
Looking at bento box pictures has inspired me to add more fruits and veggies of different colors. Bentos are all so beautiful. Oh man, I am so excited!
A whole new world of creativitiy with food has opened up! My bento boxes will probably be nowhere near as cute as the ones posted here because of lack of time. But, I do like how colorful and nutritious they are. I also like the idea of adding a few flower shaped carrots, a smiley face and accessories to lunch. Even something as simple as this one is still cute. This picture comes from this site. A cute newlywed has started making bentos for her husbands lunch This is one of her first bentos.
I’m in love with these cute tiger muffins.
There are lots of Bento Box Blogs out there with hundreds of ideas on how to put them together. One of my favorites is called Happy Little Bento. This cute Kailan bento is from there.
Look at those darling flower carrots! Kailan is a hard boiled egg (a great source of protein). Her edible face was made from these craft punches available at any craft store. Who knew you can use them on food?
So, how do you get started?
You probably have most of the items in your kitchen already. You need a box with a lid for the bento box. You can buy bento boxes in all shapes and sizes. I guess in Japan this year, bento boxes with fairy tale characters are very popular right now. I bought this one for my daughter. She loves cats and black and white.
This set includes a bento box with a double layer in the box, a chop sticks set, a band to hold the box together and a bag to put it all in. I spent a year in China when I was 19, so because of my stories, my 1st grader loves everything Asian. She’ll be excited to show off her chop stick skills in he lunchroom.
You will also need cookie cutters, (the stainless steel ones are to cut shapes into veggies) and silicon cupcake dividers keep wet foods from touching the dry food. They are oven and dishwasher safe. The ideas in these picture come from this site.
After that it just takes a few simple steps to make a darling bento. Stacking veggies and fruit looks great and ham and cheese roll ups add more protien and will please even the pickiest eaters.
I ordered this book called “Yum Yum Bento Box” on Amazon by Crystal Watanabe, to give me some more cute ideas. I am excited to learn how to make sticky rice balls. I really like to eat them, I just haven’t mastered the skill yet to make them, let alone die them fun colors.
Did you know you can press hard boiled eggs into shapes?
Make sure the egg molds you purchase say they are for large or extra large eggs. Some molds are made for quail eggs. After your eggs are pressed, you can dip them in a cup of food coloring. How fun! I can’t wait to try it out.
You may be thinking that making bentos is way too time consuming, but I found a lady named “Biggie” that gives lots of bento speed tips on her blog for making quick bentos. She teaches how to freeze sandwiches already made, how to use leftovers and make quick inexpensive jello cups. That way your bentos will be easy to assemble every morning.
After you assemble the food then comes the fun part. There are bento accessories you can put in your bento! Below are some cute little plastic character toothpicks. You can also buy tiny sauce containers with animals on top. The possibilites are endless. I love these pandas that cost only a few dollars on ebay.
You can see how they are tucked in to this bento. Adorable.
I would love to hear if you have ever made bento boxes before. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of these until this week! I’m sure grateful for the incredible bloggers that share these fun ideas with us.