One of the things that can interest a kid to eat his lunch is the style and way it is presented. What is common nowadays is the bento-style lunch, which not only attracts kids to eat them, but is also healthy and easy to prepare, making it preparation a win-win situation for both moms and kids. But what is bento-style lunch and how it is prepared?
What is a bento?
Bento is Japanese single-packed take-out or home-packed meal, usually for lunch. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. What is interesting about bentos actually is that, in Japan, they are carefully prepared to be even more pleasing to the eyes. There are character bentos, which is carefully decorated to look like a cartoon, anime, comic book, or video game character (this is common for kids); there is also picture bento, which is designed to like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. The diversity of bento preparation is endless according to one’s imagination. But this is more common for the fact that it is easily prepared and easily carried (as it is served in a single box with divisions for all the components).
How to prepare a bento-style lunch?
What goes inside a bento box is not a definite recipe; it varies from one person’s preference to that of another’s. But the general idea is a balanced food group; thus typically, a bento box contains rice, fish, meat, vegetables and fruits (either fresh or pickled). There are a lot of bento recipes on video tutorials posted on the Internet, and they are very easy to prepare (here is one from Body Talk Daily ft. Sorted Food).
The preparation of a bento box is easy. You do not need to buy a bento box for this; you can simply use anything in your kitchen cupboard. The specifications? It has to be leak proof, with several divisions for each food group, and preferably microwavable. Next is to decide what to put in the bento box; remember to balance the food group and do not overload one type of food.
Prepare your food before placing them in the bento box; never put raw food in your bento. Either you prepare the food just before placing them in the bento box or have them precooked and stored in the refrigerator until needed to be packed (that is why microwavable bento boxes are preferred).
Remember that bento boxes are normally prepared to make them pleasing and enticing to the eyes of the eaters, thus, you may want to be creative in placing the rice, meat, vegetables, and fruits into the box. If there are gaps between the compartments of each food type, you can fill them with different kinds of visually appealing and delicious vegetables and fruits that are not in your main bento course to serve as deserts.
Here is another bento recipe from Ochikeron, a Japanese food channel on YouTube.
About the author – Manilyn Moreno is a caterer and a writer for a catering software company. She is always on the hunt for healthy and affordable recipes to serve to family and friends. She loves baking and the outdoors.