Saturday, April 10, 2010
Do You Bento?
BentoMania has hit our household. As if we needed another disorder. Actually this one is fun! What is Bento? It's a Japanese lunchbox that Japanese mothers have turned into an art form (mine have yet to resemble art). It's "hipness" is beginning to catch on outside of Japan. For those of us with children on special diets, with food allergies or picky eating (my child has all three), Bento boxes can be a great way to make lunchtime fun. It's also a great way to send your child off with a healthy lunch. My child is in preschool through the regular school system, so he eats breakfast and lunch in a cafeteria full of kids. Like many parents, I worry about him feeling left out. Since he's been bringing his food in Bento boxes, many of the children are interested in his food. He seems to like the attention and his teacher reports he eats better.
The actual bento box itself does not need to be anything fancy. It's the accessories that make it so fun: Cutters to make food into fun shapes. Little bowls and cups to separate foods. Small, colorful "Mayo" cups with lids for condiments, syrups and dips. Dividers with cartoon characters. Charming picks to make fruit, veggie, cheese or meat kabobs. Egg molds to mold peeled hardboiled eggs into hearts, bunnies and cars. Rice molds (Rice is not SCD legal). Bread Molds, and the list goes on. Bento's aren't just for children. They also make nice boxes and accessories for adults. We can have fun too, right?
There are books and blogs full of fun ideas. I have listed some articles, places to shop and blogs. The blogs are my favorite. They are full of ideas, but they also show the most important ingredient you can put into your child's lunch: LOVE.
Bento Boxes Win Lunch Fans by the New York Times
An Online Bento Evolution by Adventures in Bento Making
Bento-style boxes are just right for kids' lunchesby The Dallas News
The Bento Box Boom by Gourmet Magazine
Bento Boxes and Supplies (Many Bento Blogs Also Have Amazon Stores)
From Japan with Love
My Sweet Muffin
A Few Bento Blogs & Sites:
Maisie Eats Bento
What's for Lunch at Our House
Cooking for Monkeys
Happy Little Bento
Eating in a Box
The GFCF Bento