Tonawanda News

Features

November 7, 2012

Bento boxes help keep lunches fun, healthy

Tonawanda News — We’re about a quarter of the way through the school year and if you pack your kids’ school lunches, you might be looking for a little inspiration to keep things interesting. Or perhaps you’re starting to realize how costly it can be to buy your noon-time meals every day from the fast-food joint near your office.

Whatever your reasoning, you might want to consider one of the latest rages in lunch-making: bento boxes.

These Japanese-inspired lunch cases come in a variety of shapes and sizes with an even larger assortment of accessories and compartments, making them one of the most versatile ways to keep lunch interesting, healthy, inexpensive and just plain fun.

We spoke with a couple of bento bloggers about their favorite way to bento (yes, it’s a verb in the bento world), what works, what doesn’t and where to find the best tools.

The boxes

When it comes to the actual hardware, the possibilities are endless. Bento boxes can be small, with a single compartment, or larger with stackable tiers or multiple compartments. They can be plain, they can have Hello Kitty decals, or they can be more traditional. 

Sheri Chen, author of Happy Little Bento blog — www.happy

littlebento.blogspot.com — said if you’re looking to bento your kids’ lunches, she’d start with a small box that can hold about 350 to 55 mililiters. 

“It may look small, but you’d be surprised at how much you can fit into this space when you plan wisely. A well-packed (snug) box also has the benefit of keeping the food from shifting around and mixing together,” she wrote in an email to the News.

Both she and Crystal Watanabe of Adventures in Bentomaking — www.aibento.com — suggested using cupcake cups to separate foods in a box that doesn’t already have compartments. Watanabe likes disposable paper cupcake cups for ease of cleaning, while Chen is a fan of the reusable silicone ones.  

Text Only
Features
  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Gardening with chickens

    There is no need to get mad as a wet hen if you want to juggle flourishing flower beds, viable vegetable gardens and free-range chickens.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Let's unlabel our pets

    Several weeks ago, I mentioned how we should not use labels. I said that labels are circular, meaning that if we use them we just will end up where we started. An example of a label is saying that “all scarlet macaws are vindictive” or “all pit bulls are aggressive.”

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Volunteers honored 1 040614.jpg Women Who Move the City (and beyond)

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1040614j jpg.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - crib notes RGB Enough of this winter -- it's time for spring

    Midway through separating the bits of dog food from the shredded paper towel pieces on the saturated bed sheet that had been strewn across the dining-room table, I finally realized I’d had enough.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Dear readers, it's me, Kenny

    I have bad knees. I have been told to blame my grandmother. I have also been told to blame her for my love of animals. Today, we celebrate the 100th Critter Companions column.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE mummies 1 033014.jpg 'Mummies of the World' exhibit arrives in Buffalo

    As visitors arrived for the recent NCAA basketball tournament games in Buffalo, a much older group of visitors arrived via motorcade at the Buffalo Museum of Science — but these newcomers to the Queen City wouldn’t be seeking out a place to have a beer between games or where to find the region’s best chicken wings.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - double trouble RGB Years later, still spending sunny days on Sesame Street

    I always knew we’d hit “the Elmo years.”

    Going into parenthood, it seemed like a given. Both my husband and I  were “Sesame Street” fans from childhood ourselves, and we were happy enough to pass it on to a new generation. And we knew, having friends with children of the applicable age, that in this day and age “Sesame Street” equalled Elmo, the squeaky-voiced “furry red menace” (thus dubbed by Oscar the Grouch) of parents everywhere.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Local Restaurant Week 2 033014.jpg Back for another bite

    As spring finally starts to unfold in Western New York, residents are likely eager to get out of their houses — and organizers of Local Restaurant Week hope they’ll consider eating out as they do that.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wineries invite visitors to take a Taste of the Trail

    If one weekend of food and wine pairings is a good thing, two weekends of food and wine pairings must be even better.

    For the first time, the Taste of the Trail event, which takes place Friday through April 6 and April 11 to 13 on the Niagara Wine Trail, will be split into two weekends, with half the trail’s wineries taking part the first weekend and half the second, said Elizabeth Maute, wine trail coordinator.

    March 31, 2014