As the Managing Editor here at 5 Minutes for Mom, I love previewing the posts from our food writers in the 5 Minutes for Food column every Thursday. I’m amazed by their creativity and a bit envious of their skills in the kitchen. I have pretty much zero talent when it comes to cooking or developing recipes, but there is one food-related trend I am very interested in exploring: bento lunches for kids.
What is bento?
Bento (弁当 bentō?) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container.
A quick search for Bento boards on Pinterest yields a massive list of results:
It seems I’m not the only one looking for a little inspiration here!
Tell Me: What’s the Attraction?
Why have bento lunches become so popular? For myself, I know the reason I’m looking into it is because it seems to encourage healthier choices for food and portion size, and it also seems to be the modern way to send an edible love note from mom.
If you do bento lunches, or if you are looking into it like I am, why?
What Do I Need To Get Started?
At first glance, it looks like I’ll need a lot of expensive little gadgets to get started, but maybe that’s not so. Rachel Lacy, one of our food writers here and owner of the site Following in My Shoes, wrote a great post all about bento resources and supplies for the beginner. She shares great tips for using ordinary, inexpensive supplies like hard plastic lunch boxes and cupcake picks as an alternative to buying specifically marked “bento” supplies.
If you prepare bento lunches for your kids, what are your favorite go-to brands and supplies for the job?
What Kind of Food Do I Use?
Now this – this – is where my creative wheels grind to a halt. My mind draws a blank when it comes to “fun with food.” Fortunately, there are some incredibly talented minds sharing food ideas for bento lunches, one of them being Melissa from Another Lunch. I just stumbled upon her blog and could sit here for hours oohing and aahhing at the foods she puts together for her kids’ lunches! Check out her site, then make it a Tuesday habit to check out Rachel’s I ♥ Lunch link-up for weekly bento food inspiration.
If you’re a bento fan, what are your favorite foods to include in your child’s lunches?
This time, you’re the expert.
The 5 Minutes for Food column is known for bringing you fabulous original recipes for your whole family, but this time, I’m turning the tables and hoping to hear from you! I know many of you have some experience or similar interest in learning more about bento lunches, and I’d love to hear your questions, advice, resources, and more. And if you have posts or blogs of your own related to bento lunches, feel free to post them in the comments!