Fun with Bento lunch boxes

Posted by on November 23, 2013 at 2:00 am.

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.

Bear Sandwich Cutter

Of course, while researching bento boxes I looked at the cute bento tools that people used to dress up their lunches.

heat shaped sandwich cutter_

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.

4 Comments

  • suituapui says:

    This is one thing I wouldn’t bother with. I see doting mums making those for their pre-school and school-going kids. Gosh!!! Imagine them growing up and not wanting to eat anything unless it’s so very prettily presented. That would be interesting! Hehehehehe!!!!
    suituapui recently posted..He said she said…

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    Opal Reply:

    @suituapui, Could you imagine that, hee hee.

    It was interesting to read why some went all out with decorating the boxes, for some, it seemed they were worried that their packed lunches might not look as nice as the other moms. That would not bother me at all, perhaps that’s part of the culture? I’m not sure. But still, I would not do that, if I did not want too regardless of what pressure I felt.
    Opal recently posted..Fried rice with broccoli

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  • Jennifer says:

    I’m going to check out the videos a bit later thanks for including them on your site. I used to follow the vegan lunchbox years ago but haven’t visited lately I should. Thanks for the reminder.
    Jennifer recently posted..Apple Cinnamon Flax Crackers

    [Reply]

    Opal Reply:

    @Jennifer, I would occasionally check in on her, she has not updated her site in months.
    Opal recently posted..Cooking Adventures: Sausage making

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