Bento Boxes and Bento Lunches
Bento is a gorgeous Japanese way of packing lunches. Great care is taken to provide a healthy and cute lunch for children and adults.
The US is facing a problem that is new since most of us were school-age: school food is all about cost and no longer about nutrition. In the US, school pizza counts as a vegetable. That's insane. School pizza is something that resembles bread, a spoonful of tomato sauce that is oversalted with no nutritional benefits to start off with then frozen eliminating ANY vitamins, and something that is not cheese but rather fat and salt shaped and colored to look like cheese. That's a vegetable? Um, no.
Lots of parents no longer trust schools to provide healthy lunches and are taking matters into their own hands.
Bento is a fantastic way to give your kids a brought lunch that will give them a nutritious and fun lunchtime. Bento has been around in Japan since the 12th Century and is gaining popularity in the US.
But Bento isn't just for children. Adults benefit from using the bento method. It's not a diet, it's more of a lifestyle. When you take time to treat yourself to healthy food, think of that as time added to your life.
Cute Animal Bento Boxes
While the most important part of a bento lunch is the food, there are tons of fun bento boxes for kids that they will surely love.
These sweet animal bento boxes are so adorable. Much better than the Partidge Family lunch box I had as a child.
Eating should be an enjoyable experience from start to finish. If your child is a picky eater and you decide to start bento-ing, a cute lunchbox can help get them excited about it.
Get your child involved in the selection process, they'll love it!
Common Ingredients in Bento Boxes
Traditional bento boxes contain:
- Fish or meat
- Pickled or cooked vegetables
It's a good idea to add fruit too.
That's it! No cheetos, no chocolate... no food that doesn't benefit you in some way.
Bento boxes have a long tradition of containing healthy food. Lunch should be about sustaining you through the day, not creating sugar crashes or eating enough salt for two days. Bento boxes for children use fun shapes and creative placement and decoration of healthy food to entice them to eat, not giving them what's fast and requires the least effort.
There is a simple formula for creating traditional bento: 3 parts rice, 1 part meat and 2 parts vegetable. Easy peasy.
Would you bento?
Bento Egg and Food Molds
An important part of creating a fun bento box is shaping the food. Eye-catching and neat shapes will be sure to entice your child into eating the healthy food you have packed for them.
Shaped eggs are always a treat. They are easy to make and much better for your child than a bag of chips.
Just think of the cute ways to shape vegetables and more.
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There are so many wonderful ways to be creative in creating a bento lunch. So many wonderful foods and shapes and themes.
A bento cookbook is as necessary as it is fun to look at. There are so many ideas!
These cookbooks will help you create fun and healthy lunches. They give you ideas for shaping food and creating themes within the bento box, like how to make animals out of the food you use.
Any of these cookbooks will give you the inspiration you need to create loving, nutritious lunches for your children. The fun shapes and creative shaping of the food will be sure to put a smile on their face and make them the envy of the lunch room.
Shokado bento is the name of the black lacquered box that bento meals are traditionally packed in.
Believe it or not, chuka bento is Chinese food, but a kind of Chinese food that originates from Japan.
In the Nagano prefecture a type of bento cooked in clay pots is very popular and called makunouchi bento.
Noriben is a very simple type of bento. It is just nori (seaweed) dipped in soy sauce with rice.
Sake bento is an easy-to-prepare type of bento with a slice of cooked salmon as the meat portion.
Shidashi bento is catered bento often served at a special occasion. It is often made up of tempura, rice and pickled vegetables.
In the Gunma prefecture, tori bento, a chicken and sauce bento, is very popular.
A bento consiting of rice with a fried umo in the center is called a hinomaru bento.
Japanese Snack Sampler
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This snack sampler from Japan includes all kinds of fun treats, including Japanese candy and gum.
What a fun way to try another countries sweets! Use them as a fun afterschool snack. Get a Japanese dictionary and try to read the writing on the packages. Tasty and educational!
This set also makes fun favors for a Japan themed party.
Pretty Bento Boxes
Bento isn't just for children. Lots of adults who take control of their diet are discovering bento.
Picking out a really nice bento box is part of the joy of bento-ing. There are so many pretty boxes to choose from!
Your co-workers will surely be envious of your bento box and delicious food.
Click here for more great reading by brl on topics ranging from gifts for yoga lovers to Full English Breakfasts and lots of fun stuff in between.