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“Bento” refers to a Japanese boxed lunch commonly made by mothers for their children. Often times they are elaborate and arranged to look like cartoon characters or animals. There are even bento contests where homemakers compete to make the most aesthetically pleasing lunches!

While most busy American moms aren’t going to be competing in any bento competitions, there are still delicious ways to make bento quickly on a budget!

For bento, you will need a lunch box, silicon baking cups, and dividers.
You can get creative and use edible dividers like lettuce leaves or spinach leaves.

Bento meals follow a structure of ½ the box being carbohydrates, ¼ proteins, ⅛ fruits, and ⅛ vegetables. Separate these sections using dividers.

When choosing which food to include, use bold colors to make the meal more appealing. Tomatoes, oranges, strawberries, and bananas are all appealing colors.

It should be packed tightly so the food doesn’t shift before consumption. First, pack the larger food like meat, then pack flexibly shaped foods, and end by packing small accent food like broccoli to fill the gaps.

Here is a quick and easy bento idea for beginners:

Rice, Meat Kebabs, and Berries
Add brown rice to half the box and sprinkle soy sauce and rice seasoning on top.
Cube a grilled chicken breast and cheese cubes. Using a small skewer, add the meat and cheese cubes. Pack these in the box using half the remaining space. Fill in any empty space between the skewers using cherry tomatoes.

Add a divider between the meat and the empty space. Add another divider in the middle of the empty space.

On one half of the divider, add berries like blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries. Add corn in the other half.

Bento is a fun way of expressing your love in a creative way, so make your own recipes and designs!

 

By Kelsey Sinclair

 

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