After a number of my Facebook friends teasing me that I should come over and pack lunches for their children, and one indicating she was interested in starting to do this herself, I figured I would put together a simple "how to."
Now, please know that you can use whatever foods appeal to you and your children. For this little demo, I will try to stick pretty closely to the 1/3 carbs, 1/3 protein, 1/3 veggie & fruit that I have read about in Kawaii Bento Boxes and seen around the web.
First, we start with carbs. I am using steamed white pearl rice. Pack it in.
Next add the protein. For me today this is an egg and sausage bake. It is shaped like a cupcake because I used my friend's Damarle at Home muffin tray to make it. One of the reasons we are putting it in next is because it isn't going to fit easily into whatever room is left over. If you were using lunch meat, you might wait till a later step.
Next we want to fill in the gaps. Grape tomatoes are just one of the great gap-fillers out there. Use something that you like. These work great because they don't mix with anything nearby, but if you want to use a little bit of some sort of side salad (potato salad, for instance) you could put it in a mini cupcake paper and fit it in there.
I still see little spaces though, so let's keep filling them up. Broccoli is pretty to look at and can be cut into any gap-filling shape you need. Now nothing is going to jiggle around during transport. Mission accomplished!
Next, add a little something "just for pretties." I chose black sesame seeds and some dried savory. I just sprinkled it on the rice. If you want to go further, this is where you could make little faces and such.
But doesn't that little bit sprinkled on top just make it look so much more appealing?
Now, if you only have one tier, you are done. Congrats! If you have two... carry on. I like to use dark lettuce leaves to fill the gaps in my upper tier. So I just fill it with that to start.
Next you will want to put some fruit or veggies in there. I skewered my grapes today on little party toothpicks and plopped them in there.
I still had plenty of room, so I added a couple slices of banana, with the peel still on.
I got carried away and added blueberry embellishments, before I remembered I was showing how to fill the box up before you decorate. Oops!
To fill the last bit of space, I cut a couple pieces of carrot into some flower shapes and wedged them in there. Then I finished of the banana with a couple sesame seeds, just for fun.
And that's it! Now you have a tasty, healthful lunch to take to work or send with your little ones.
Need a second opinion? Check out what Biggie has to say on the subject over at Lunch in a Box. Or take a quick peak at how it's done at Just Bento. And/or Not Exactly Bento. Think a slide show might be more your speed? Hapa Bento has one for you.