Bento Lunches

When making the transition from Lunchables to healthy meals, it’s a good idea to make those fruits and veggies look just as fun and playful as the processed foods kids have grown accustomed to.  I love the whole bento lunch idea -- it’s basically the art of lunch.  And it is truly an art, with plenty of tools you can use to create shapes out of food, and little containers and dividers and such to make a lot of food fit into a tiny space.  I have some pictures in the gallery of some of the meals I have made for my Kindergartner.
A cookbook that got me started in The Vegan Lunchbox by Jennifer McCann.  Her recipes have never let me down -- every single one has been tasty and simple and with very easy instructions.
My daughter’s lunches have been the subject of much conversation at school, and other parents have been asking me how good food can be made to look so fun.  Here is a photo of some of the tools I use in creating these bento lunches:


And here is my favorite type of bento lunchbox:


Here is what one looks like assembled (the top compartment is for the silverware):


Let your creativity go wild -- I like to make garnishes out of my veggies for a fancy salad and add a tiny bottle of dressing, cut fruits into flowers or other shapes and use fun-shaped picks for spearing, and I like to also have a theme.  For example, we had Circle Day -- grapes, grape tomatoes, carrot disks, circle crackers with vegan pepperoni and circle soy cheese, and melon balls.  Have fun with it!