There is absolutely no reason why your kid’s lunch should be a boring one. Cute cooking has become a full-blown craze that has captivated pop culture to the fullest. Bento boxes, meaning “convenient” in Japanese are an attractive way to encourage picky eaters to enjoy their lunch while at the same time, reducing waste because a reusable container is customarily used.
A bento box lunch uses inexpensive ingredients and are a healthier choice than fast food or restaurant kid’s meals. They are also helpful in measuring food portions and equally serving carbohydrates and proteins in the meal .
Bento box making requires a few inexpensive tools you can find around your kitchen and at some specialty Asian stores.
Essential tools for Bento box lunches:
- Cookie cutters
- Small knife
- Q-tips for cleaning drips
- Small scissors (for cutting faces out of spinach or dried seaweed)
- Cute toothpicks and appetizer picks
Bento box friendly ingredients:
- Red lettuce, spinach, dried seaweed, arugula
- Cucumber, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, olives
- Carrots, onions, avocado, cabbage, zucchini
- Kiwi, strawberries, apples, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries
- Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cranberries, pecans, flax seeds, poppy seeds
- Deli meats, cheeses, rice, pasta, hard-boiled eggs
Bento boxes do not consist of strictly Japanese food — be creative! You can use any type of food you wish as long as there is a protein/carbohydrate balance. Use apples and cucumber slices for animal ears, small berries and seeds can become faces on a round sandwich or slice of cheese. How about creating some messy hair with alfalfa sprouts or angel hair pasta? The possibilities are endless when you put your creative mind at work.
I gave this bento box a Mexican twist by cutting out some quesadilla flowers with a cookie cutter and placing them on a bed of arugula and cherry tomatoes. Pair it with blueberries, strawberries, kiwi butterflies (cut with cookie cutters), almonds and wafers and adorn it with cute animal picks.
By using fun, familiar and nutritious foods you can turn your child’s mundane meal into a fun feast for the eyes.