Build a Bento!

So the first week of school is coming to an end, and so far the lunches I've packed have been somewhat successful, at least eaten, but that hasn't stopped me from spending just a little too much time googling "kids school lunch ideas". Something that comes up again and again is the bento box idea. If you're unfamiliar with what a bento is, it's a traditional Japanese take home or home packed meal that is packed in a little box, hence bento box. Since the bento style lunch is packed in reusable containers, they reduce waste such as plastic baggies and disposable containers, and allow you to pack a wider variety of food for lunch. The visually appealing style of bento boxes can be appealing to picky eaters, and bento box devotees can get incredibly creative when it comes to packing their little compact lunches. In this post I'm going to give you a roundup of the best bento box blogs out there to inspire you and get you building your own bentos! First off I found Lunch in a Box, which offers a wealth of information for bento beginners.

They have a FAQ section that tells you what you need to get started, ideas for kids lunches and tons of recipes and suggestions for what to put in your bento box. She even has some ideas for what to pack for picky eaters, like mini shepherd's pies and mini frittatas. Lunch in a Box also has a section with links for online shops that sell bento gear as well. Another aspect of bento box lunches is called kyaraben or oekakiben or "decorative food", and here is where things really get cute. People can do AMAZING things with food and these bento boxes, and if you want to check out some seriously cute food to get inspired try Anna the Red's bento gallery. I'm convinced I could get my super picky three year old to eat anything if it was shaped like Hello Kitty. Also check out the Cooking Cute blog, it hasn't been updated in a while but still has a lot of ideas for bento and some super cute pictures in the gallery section to stir your creativity. Another site I stumbled on while googling was Cute Food for Kids and I'm in LOVE with their Babybel cheese suggestions. One of the only things my picky eater will eat on a regular basis is cheese, so I love the idea of making it just a little more fun, and I might just get Finn to try some too if I make it into an Angry Bird. If you'd like an actual paper copy of a bento box cookbook, check out the Yum Yum Bento Box Book! It is packed with endless ideas for fun and fresh kid food. It comes from the people behind Adventures in Bentomaking, another great online bento resource that is guaranteed to keep you busy all year coming up with exciting bento ideas for your little ones! A quick search into Amazon came up with tons of bento gear, and I'm going to head there to get started, I'll keep you guys updated on my own personal adventures in bento making, and let us know if you already pack a bento for you little one or if you want to try it!