Bento Lunch

February 12th, 2013 posted by Susie Tilton

For many of us, school has been in full swing for a few weeks now. Already, the turkey sandwich, apple, chips and cookie routine is getting old. I pack what is easy and admittedly I get into ruts. But all over, you can find great ideas to keep lunch interesting. Here’s another. The Bento Box. Bento is generally a packed lunch, Japanese style. Now, it is terribly impractical to expect your child to eat rice or sushi with chopsticks for lunch, but there are no Bento rules. Sometimes packing the same stuff in a different package makes it new again. Bento usually has divided compartments, and the children’s version is relatively small. If you have never had the pleasure of observing school children with their sack lunches at school, you would be amazed. The waste is astounding. Most children cannot eat an entire sandwich, a container of yogurt and an apple at one sitting. Many times an older child will buy something tastier in the cafeteria and dump or give away the brown bag lunch. We tend to overpack their lunches, period. A Bento is great portion control. My student is in high school, and admittedly a level of self confidence comes along with such seniority. Her Bento is usually half a sandwich or wrap cut up, a few kinds of fruit, a little something salty (party mix, nuts, whole grain crackers) and a small treat. I do send chopsticks. I mean, how cool is it to eat your cheese cubes with chop sticks?! I buy a multipack of wrapped chopsticks, and I feel better knowing they will degrade in a landfill unlike plastic flatware. You can even buy Bentos with the chopsticks attached to the box. My daughter loves olives, pickles, edamame, cucumbers, red peppers and asparagus. These are healthy little items that can be cut and put in the Bento. A lot of different tastes and no one thing that takes 20 minutes to eat. It is a fun diversion from the brown bag. Want to make it even more interesting? Next time you head to the grocer, pass the local store you go to every week and head to an ethnic store. Asian markets have some of the most interesting items. The snack foods are packaged in the happiest little wrappers. The names are funny and the items are generally much cheaper than our over processed American junk food. I like to send a few of each so she can share her International experience with her friends. Most of these markets has someone who can decipher the labels for you so you know it will be delicious. To make it truly authentic, make sure you wrap the Bento with a cloth napkin and tuck the chopsticks in. Such a civilized way to lunch! All over the internet you will find sources to buy Bento boxes, clever ideas for lunches for children of all ages, and even very sophisticated adult Bento. Why should our kids have all the fun!

Susie Tilton (17 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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