We take inspiration from Japan’s bento box craze by sharing some of our favourite fun lunchbox ideas.
Originating in Japan, Bento is a home-packed meal in a box shaped container that holds rice and meats with pickled or cooked vegetables in sectioned compartments. Due to its ‘cute’ (Kawaii) factor, parents around the world are beginning to take on this traditional method of packing lunches, taking Japan’s traditional ideas and adding their own cuisines to create a fun and diverse school lunch for their kids.
There are many forms of Bento; one containing a balance of cultural cuisine and another called ‘picture Bento’ when ingredients have been sliced and shaped to resemble pop-culture characters and cute animals.
When you think of bento, I’m sure all these immaculate artsy masterpieces made of food come to mind. But the great thing about bento is that you can personalise them anyway you like with the food in your fridge or pantry – the creative possibilities are endless. You can choose to go all out and make your food into art or use some simple bento techniques in your everyday lunchbox.
Here are some of our favourite super-cute Kawaii food ideas:
1. Decorate bread with faces using fruit and nuts – a peanut butter sandwich never looked so good!
2. There are so many great tools you can buy (see below) for cutting out shapes in deli meats or moulding rice and eggs into animals.
3. Draw faces on fruit with coloured markers or decorate with stickers.
5. Dinner left-overs are perfect for putting in your bento box!
6. Wraps, sushi or rice paper rolls are a great alternative to bread.
7. If you don’t have compartments in your lunchbox, use silicon or paper cupcake patties to hold fruit, yogurt and dips.
8. Place fruit on a skewer to make fruit kebabs.
9. Wrap cooked tuna in rice triangle balls called Onigiri. They can be wrapped in cling wrap and decorated with washi tape or draw faces on them with a marker.
11. Check out some of these hashtags for inspiration via Instagram.
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12. Let special occasions inspire themes for your bento – Easter, Christmas, or by country – trying a different cuisine each time.
Not sure where to begin? Let these bento essentials inspire your kawaii food making!
House Cookie Cutter Spotlight / Silicon Cup Cake Molds Kmart / Bear Pocket Sandwich Maker Little Bento World / Animal Food Picks Fairy Blossom / Munch Box Mini Trendy Lil Treats / Yummy Kawaii Bento: Preparing Adorable Meals for Adorable Kids by Li Ming Lee Kinokuniya / Light & Co Bento Grass Etsy / Bunny Egg Moulds Bento Land / Polka Dot Wooden Teaspoons The Party Cupboard / Sandwich Wrap Howards Storage World / Lunchbots Bento Trio Stainless Steel Green Chickadee
Happy bento box making!