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Bento Box Lunches

bentoboxlunchWhat do you do when your beautifully hand-crafted sandwiches come home again, unwrapped, uneaten, in your kids’ lunchboxes? When the kids start getting bored with what you’re packing for lunch, it’s time to try a new style. One style that is taking the lunchroom – and our forum! –  by storm is the Bento Box.

Bento boxes are taken from Japanese “obento” lunchboxes – they traditionally have rice, some form of chicken, beef, fish, or pork, tempura vegetables, pickled vegetables, and some fruit. In our western culture, we’ve adopted the style but substituted our own foods – usually bits and pieces that look pretty and are easy to make and eat.

Some of the most popular items to go into a school Bento Box include:

  • Salami sticks and cheese cubes
  • Dip and crackers/veggie sticks
  • Sandwiches cut into tiny pieces or cool shapes
  • Boiled eggs
  • Fruit skewers/fruit cut into cute shapes
  • Dried fruit/sultana/nut/cereal mixes (if your school allows nuts)
  • Little servings of leftovers
  • Sushi/rice paper rolls
  • Any “mini” foods – sausage rolls, pies, muffins, scrolls, falafel balls
  • Deconstructed sandwiches – cold meat, cheese, salads, crackers or fresh bread/roll

You can use basically any food your kids love that will fit into little sections and looks fun to eat. The main incentive to eat the food in a Bento Box is that is looks good! These kinds of lunchbox options can easily be suited to any dietary requirements or allergies that your kids might have – it’s easy to make them gluten free, nut free, dairy free, anything free! The prettiness can also help get fussy eaters to try some new things as well their well-loved favourites.

So next time you’re trying to think of lunchbox ideas, go for Bento!

Thanks to the forum members for these great ideas!

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