Tonawanda News


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 — 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 — — 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.  

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