It’s the little things that make the big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class. ~J. Willard Marriott
I have a confession to make. I went to Japan and came home with an addiction. Yup. I am addicted to bento box lunches.
Every store I went into, I looked for more bento supplies. I ended up having to buy a little suitcase while I was there just to bring home all the stuff I bought!
But in all seriousness…the bento is brilliant.
First of all, it’s cute.
Secondly, and most importantly it’s efficient and good for our planet. I have not bought or used a single plastic sandwich bag since I got home. This means no more lunch trash to throw away. Everything I bought is washable and reusable. Oh, and did I mention it’s all cute?
And the last thing I love about bento (if I had to narrow it down to 3), is that my kids eat EVERYTHING! I don’t have squishy brown pears and half-eaten sandwiches coming home anymore. The bento boxes come home empty, without fail. Why? Well, that’s easy. It’s because everything is cute! Well that, and I’m packing smaller amounts of each of the different foods, and there is far more variety. It’s all just less, well…boring!
Here is an example of what I’ve been sending with my kids on a daily basis. They are all very simple. I make them the night before and put them in the fridge. The kids just grab them in the morning and put them in their backpacks. This probably saves us a good half hour in the mornings. Like I said…brilliant.
I don’t always send the drop cloth, but lately Coco’s class has been eating lunch outside on the grass and she was so worried about getting her white drawstring bag dirty! Oh the worries of a first grader! The drop cloth takes care of all those fears. The bento has an answer for nearly everything.
Now that both of my youngest children are converted to the art of the bento, I decided it was time to move on to the rest of the smalls. I wanted to share the love. So today, we had a bento snack party.
We started by exploring an actual bento box, right from Japan. Yes, I washed out the box that lunch came in on the train and I carried it all over Japan in my suitcase so I could show it to the kids at home. But what’s better than the real thing when it comes to teaching?
This one had steamed rice and seasoned beef inside. It was yummy! The boys had fun trying to use the hashi (chopsticks)…
After we talked about the bento box and everyone had a turn with it, I handed out each bento which I had designed especially for each child…
They were all pretty excited! Let the bento snack party begin!
These photos will help break down what is in each of these boxes…
Now in case you are thinking that you need fancy schmancy boxes straight from Japan in order to do this…think again. These little green boxes are sandwich boxes from Tupperware. And you can use silicon baking cups from Wal-Mart or dollar stores. Little cookie cutters work for cutting veggies, breads, cheese, etc. And little pill containers from the dollar store work for dips and yogurt.
But if you want to get really authentic AND get a mountain of brilliant bento ideas, go and check out this blog…MEET THE DUBIENS. Seriously. She is a guru. And she also has links to where you can buy all the fabulous bento tools online!
And if you still want more…check out this YouTube video from Angelique Felix for making cute little bento jellyfish.
And if you’re anything like me, and can’t get enough, check out these fabulous snackbox ideas from Learn With Play@Home...
Oh, and here is a fun twist on the bento…make the children’s snacks in their own muffin tins with JDaniel4sMom!
One thing I’d like you to remember about creating these pretty little lunches, is that they are not complicated. They CAN be. But they don’t have to be. If it can be cut into small enough pieces or put in a small enough container, it can be part of the bento. Bentos are supposed to make lunch time happier and less stressful, so if you are over-thinking and pulling your hair out for ideas, you are missing the point.
You don’t have to be super-mum to make a bento lunch…ok? No stressing allowed. Only fun. Oh, and cute. Cute is allowed.
Thanks for stopping by!
We have hooked up with Glittering Muffins for their Around the World in 12 Dishes Series. When you get a minute, go on and check it out!