We have gone a little bento crazy around here! Back in high school while I was in Japan, one of the many things I feel in love with was the "bento" style lunch. Bentos are boxed lunches in pretty much every shape and style you can imagine. You can amazingly fit a lot in those small boxes and they are designed for portion control. You are supposed to pack them with the 4-3-2-1 rule: 4 parts rice, 3 parts protein, 2 parts vegetable, and 1 part "treat" (Usually either pickled vegetables or something sweet.) I tend to pack K's with more fresh fruit than veggies and I'm learning some of the traditional ways to pack rice. Luckily she loves rice, which works well since we are gluten free. Of course you can "Americanize" them and pack whatever you want!
Now, as with all Japanese food, the presentation is amazing. And I'll admit, kids are more inclined to eat something that looks "cool, neat or pretty." You can find tons of websites with photos of pretty amazing bento lunches. I have recently mastered the "octodog" which I vividly remember finding in my own bento lunch back in Japan :) I use turkey dogs and have found they work just as well, curling into perfect octo-legs when boiled in water. However, the best legs are produced in the traditional Japanese way of deep frying the dog for about a minute!
I have yet to get to that point of making the food beautiful, but I plan to...someday! Here are a couple of the bentos I've made for Kristin.
Here are the octodogs along with a few potato flyer chips (baked gluten free chips), mandarin oranges, bananas, and a few chocolate covered raisins.
PS....have you heard the news??? We're going to Disneyland in March!!!
Kristin is so excited and has told everyone she sees...even people she doesn't know! As soon as I type this I'm going to book our flight from Tulsa to Santa Ana (I found a good deal and am getting it now!), then I'm booking our room at Paradise Pier! Dare I even say it, but I'm a little excited myself :)