When it comes to creative school lunches, I always thought that the Japanese were miles ahead of many Americans.
I love the stackable lunch boxes, they remind me of the tiffins I’ve seen used in Indian cuisine.
History of Bento lunches
I really liked the above video that talked about the history of Bentos.
In the second video you can see some of the gorgeous craftmanship used in creating some of the bento boxes. Truly a work of art.
Japanese people aren’t the only ones that are into bentos. Here in the USA, I’ve seen bento lunch boxes make appearances in blog posts and other places online. The Vegan Lunch box, is I first time I learned about bento lunch boxes.
Although I found bentos fascinating I never felt the urge to purchase them. At the time, it made no sense (to me anyway) to sink money into a Bento Box (regardless of how pretty they were) if it wasn’t keeping the food hot without heating. I already had portable lunch boxes. Also I was working from home full-time and my daughter was still a toddler. The practical me knew there was no reason to purchase the bento lunch boxes.
Of course, all that has changed. My daughter is in school (and prefers hot lunches) since the Zojirushi stainless lunch jar keeps the food hot, I now think of cute ways I can enhance what she takes to school.
Although I like how some of the intricate bento lunches looked, it’s something I most likely would not do since some of those decorations take a lot of time.
Of course, while researching bento boxes I looked at the cute bento tools that people used to dress up their lunches.
Collecting Bento tools
Most of the decorations seem to originate from Japan. Over the years, I’ve ordered a few products directly from Japan. They’ve taken a while to receive, but the products I ordered were always worth the wait. Thankfully, Amazon has a ton of them, and I’ve already added a few bento tools to my collection, you can see some of them featured in my post about the Zojirushi hot lunch jars.
Throughout this post, I’ve included a few videos so you can see the creativity involved with these bento lunches. Aren’t the children adorable? I love children, which might explain why I do a lot of volunteer work with them.
Fast forward to the newly purchased Zojirushi hot lunch jar, and I’ve my views of ‘bento lunches’ has changed a lot. Adding simple bento decorations to food is something I’ve already started incorporating with my daughters lunches. I might purchase a few more bento tools, but for the most part I’m done.
I will say that, part of the enjoyment of making lunches for my daughter has always been the extras that I’d included. Often, she did not know what to expect. Occasionally, I’d slip a note into her lunch bag telling her something special and other times I’d include an unexpected treat. Those unexpected surprises always make her happy, and let’s be honest, it gives me a chance to stimulate my creative side.
Healthy lunches within minutes
Since my daughters food is now contained in tiered jars I can do a bit more within the creative department. I definitely won’t be taking hours to decorate her food, but adding a few minutes to decorate some of her hot meals, is something that I’m happy to incorporate into lunch preparation. Yesterday, my daughters hot school lunch took about 10 minutes to prepare; that included choosing the food, heating it and adding the decorative tooth picks. The few moments set aside to warm and add leftovers to her lunch, is worth the effort since she now eats everything in her lunch.