I am of the firm belief that if you use the right strategies, nearly anything that’s in your fridge can look great in a bento box lunch.
Ease back into the school routine by relieving yourself of the pressure to make lunch look like the elaborate creation you saw on Pinterest.
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Make Several Lunches at Once
I work from home. Lunchtime is when my inbox is the most active. So, eating becomes an inconvenience or something done in haste.
If I pack my lunch and my daughter’s bento lunch box at the same time in the morning, I am more likely to eat a more sensible lunch especially if it’s in a pre-portioned bento. This way, I grab my bento box from the refrigerator, pause for a minute to eat, and keep on keeping on.
Otherwise, I’ll grab something in haste that is far less healthy or tasty just for the sake of not being hungry. I also waste less as I’ll use leftover bits from my daughter’s bento lunch to make mine.
Use Lots of Color
I’ve read that experts believe kids are more likely to get excited about their lunch if it’s colorful. My daughter who learned to “eat a rainbow” in preschool which is certainly in line with this idea.
A recent study showed that kids prefer meals with 7 items and 6 colors because they want visually stimulating food presented with a little pizazz. And, you can totally do this with a bento lunch.
Incorporate Little Bento Gadgets
Of course, there are going to be the days when your fridge isn’t offering up color diversity. Sprinkle in a few of these colorful bento gadgets and you’ll be good to go (it sounds so silly but it does make a difference).
I’m a fan of the reusable animal forks (pictured above) which come in multiple colors. There are many other similar gadgets like these that can work, too.
Create Easy Shapes
Vegetable cutters are seriously the easiest way to quickly jazz up cheese, carrots, cucumbers, melon, sandwich meat and more. I give my daughter the cut shapes and take the remainder (which also looks cool) for my lunch.
Big cookie cutters also make perfect sandwich cutters. We also make sure the leftover bread goes to good use (currently, by hiding my dog’s medication in it).
Use Leftovers/PreMade Food
Have some leftover stir fry and rice? There’s no reason why it can’t go in the bento! Planning to add a little cooked chicken or fish? Prepare it the night before.
Seriously, do whatever it takes to cut down morning prep time. And, start to think about what you’ve prepared the day prior that might work as part of a lunch.
Keep Food Mostly Separate
A key to successful bento lunch making is to keep every section separate. Not only does it keep wet foods from mingling unintentionally with dry foods, but it maintains the neat and tidy look that is so common with bentos.
With the help of bento dividers, silicone muffin cups, and other containers, it’s possible to turn any container into a properly divided bento box lunch. You can even use snap peas or lettuce leaves to separate food, too.
Pack it Tightly
A tightly packed bento keeps food from sloshing around. It’s why the sandwich is wedged in place with broccoli, for example. Even if this bento box is flipped upside-down, not much moves around.
What are your bento box lunch tips?