Kids' Korner: Japanese Bento-Lunch box
- Play with your food!
We always hear, "Don’t play with your food," but sometimes it’s not such a bad thing. While most Japanese elementary school children are served a nutritious lunch by their schools, many kindergarteners, middle school and high school students bring bento, or boxed lunches, to school with them. These boxes are filled with foods that are cut and shaped into flowers, hearts, or even animal faces. And guess what -- you can do it too! Leave those peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches home today and give a Japanese bento a try!
Photo: Chiaki Torisu 2015
- Seaweed and Rice Balls
What goes into a bento? Typically, it includes rice, meat/fish, fruit and vegetables. But the fun part is decorating those ingredients and making them more special. Here are a few things you can add to bring your bento to the next level.
Onigiri - Take some rice (make sure it’s short-grain rice, which is sticky), and roll it between your hands like you’re making a snowball. You’ve just made Onigiri! These rice balls can be used to make character or animal faces.
Nori - Do you know that green stuff wrapped around a sushi roll? That’s called nori in Japanese, and it’s a piece of dried seaweed. Nori is great because you can cut it out to make patterns or faces on your Onigiri.
- Pssst- Hey Parents!
Creating fun bento is a great way to make sure your children have a homemade lunch made with fresh, healthy ingredients like chicken, fish, and vegetables. Keep in mind that any of the ingredients listed here can be substituted for something of a similar color, shape or texture. The goal is to create an attractive, balanced boxed lunch that your child will be excited to eat. To take your bento to the next level, you can buy molds and cutters online or in Japanese markets. Packed in small, portion-controlled boxes, bento are also a great idea for grown-ups trying to manage their diets.
- Luigi's Lunchbox
Try making this bento, courtesy of a Japanese mom who works here at the Consulate, Chiaki Torisu.
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