Back-To-School Bento Tips
As this compilation photo demonstrates…there are many different styles of bento boxes and fillings to choose from. And if you’re a beginner, you may have some questions.
If you are new to packing bento lunches… here’s some help.
But before we get to the helpful hints, I’d like to again thank the talented bentoists who submitted their own back-to-school themed bentos for August’s B.O.M.B. challenge. Please note that you do not need to make cute lunches like these to be a successful bentoist!
Ok, so one of the questions I hear a lot is “What size and shape of bento box do I need?” I asked the same thing when I first started packing lunches…here are the guidelines:
1. Select a box that, when tightly packed, will contain enough calories for a satifiying meal.
2. The total calories (balanced carbs, protein, and veggies) will be approximately equal to the box’s ml size. In other words, if the box size is 400 mls, then the calories will equal about 400 or so calories.
3. You want a bento box that will sit upright in a book-bag or backpack to prevent possible leakage. Avoid having to tip or turn the bento on it’s side for transport.
Are there any specific “Back-to-School” bento rules?
Sure there are… the first (and one that I feel strongly about) is to be sure the “bento box lunch lifestyle” is for you. They take extra planning and little more of your time, but the rewards are immeasurable, especially if you involve your kids with menu decisions and assembly!
Other than checking with your child’s school for a list of prohibited items, all you need to remember is to label EVERYTHING and pack the most nutritious foods that you child will “tolerate.”
Strive to keep things simple and low-cost by using seasonal produce. You don’t have to be a charaben artist in order to pack a pleasing bento. Color and interest can be achieved by using a variety of foods.
But if you have the talent and time to make awesomely cute “Hello Kitty” rice balls… I say go for it!
“Where do I buy a bento box?”
If you have a local Asian grocery or department store in your area, check them out as they may stock them. Otherwise you can order boxes from the many online stores available on the web like my affiliates here.
“Do I have to use an official bento box?”
No you don’t. A sturdy, water-tight plastic food storage container will work fine as a bento box.
Need more inspiration? Some links to back-to-school bento examples:
Japanistic – cool, fun, well-designed Japanese bentos and other products!