Don't know what a bento box is? Well get ready for a schoolin'.
Here in the U.S., kids carry their lunches to school in paper bags, with each item wrapped individually in plastic bags or foil. It's a little boring, not to mention wasteful. What's an eco-friendly mom to do?
Enter the bento box.
The bento is traditional in Japan, and consists of a container that looks kind of like an old school lunch tray, only with higher sides. Each dish is displayed in its own separate section, making for a neatly put-together lunch with nothing is wasted. Also, your picky kids will love it because they can keep their foods from touching.
You can find bento boxes and other delightfully Japanese kitchen items at this nifty website
. Once you've got your supplies all set, you can focus on what to stash inside.
Traditionally, a bento meal is some kind of meat or fish, rice, cooked or pickled vegetables and a piece of fruit.
These Japanese Rice Balls
, also known as onigiri, make a perfect addition to bento because they're portable and your kids will love eating these little package-like treats. Tempura shrimp are also a typical bento item, but these Almond-Crusted Shrimp
are even tastier and less of a hassle because they're not fried.
For a side dish, try these Udon Noodles with Broccoli and Peppers
. Your kids might even love their veggies when they're dressed in sesame and garlic! Simple Sushi Rolls
are also a good side dish, and you can fill them with whatever vegetable your little ones desire.
It wouldn't be a bento box without a whimsical dessert. Surprise your kids with precious Hungry Caterpillar Snacks
or Fruit Roll-Up Flower Cupcakes
along with some orange slices for a complete meal.