Can you believe that this is a little girls school lunch? It looks so good, I wouldn’t want to eat it heheh. I mentioned on a previous post about bento lunches and how popular they are becoming in Europe and the States. Guess what? We have a very creative bento mommy right here in Kuwait. She created the adorable hello kitty lunch. She has an amazing talent when it comes to creating delicious pieces of art. I managed to interview her and get some tips, tricks and a little inspiration for magical lunch boxes 🙂
I’m so excited to finally contact you 🙂 Please introduce yourself to our wonderful readers.
I’m a mother of 2 very precious children, a wife of a wonderful husband. I love making bentos for my children and love to see the big smiles on their faces when they see them!
What is a bento lunch?
Bento is a Japanese style lunch box packed with a healthy balanced meal presented in a very appealing way. In Japan its a tradition that homemakers pack lunches for their kids, husbands and themselves! Bento lunches usually contain rice, cooked veggies and fish or meat. Food can be packed neatly in a simple way or sometimes food can be cut and shaped to form famous cartoon characters or cute animals, people, and then garnished with fresh veggies cut using special flower shaped veggie cutters.
How did you get interested in bento?
It started more than 2 years ago just before my eldest started going to a pre school I looked up on the Internet for tips on packing healthy lunches for children then I found out all about bento, I fell in love and got addicted to making them.
Do you need any special products to get started making bento lunches?
Not at all! I’ve been asked this question several times by moms! I started making bento using a normal plastic container instead of the traditional Japanese bento box, in fact, one of my best bento, the Simpson’s bento, viewed 13465 times so far on flickr, wasn’t made by using any special tools. For a start all you need is a plastic container like lock and lock that is not deep and some cute small cookie cutters and/or garnish cutters.
Are there certain foods that should be used for bento lunches?
You can use any kind of food your kid like; but cold sandwiches and rice balls are good food for bento as they’re usually best served at room temperature. I also sometimes pack mini pizzas and mini cheese fatayer and other kinds of small savory pastries for a change and they are also good at room temperature.
Why is there such a focus on the presentation in bento lunches?
In Japan it’s in their culture; not only food, everything should be presented in an attractive manner. No doubt making appealing bento is the best way to beat other junk foods that our children are exposed to everyday starting from in schools to TV commercials. It’s obviously working, no wonder today bento is very popular in North America and Europe! You want kids to associate cute, happy and pretty with healthy food, specially now days with all the temptation of empty calories junk food. We see how bakers come up with all sort of ideas for making the cutest most whimsical cupcakes and birthday cakes for kids. Why not make their nutritious and balanced meals look as cute?
It looks like bento takes a lot of effort and time, can a working mom who is always on the go prepare a bento lunch?
Absolutely yes! Almost everything can be done the night before and in the morning you or anyone just puts everything together! Just adding eyes and nose with a mouth to a sandwich will not take a long time and will guarantee a smile on your little one’s face. It doesn’t have to look perfect! Some of my bentos are really easy and speedy although they look hard to make! Its all about the small touches that take the least time and effort and most can be done ahead! Examples: lining the box with lettuce and using tiny cutters to cut carrots and cucumbers. Using silicon cups for cut fruits and veggies. Don’t have time for that? Cut the sandwich with a cookie cutter instead of normal knife and get cute picks and put them on the sandwich.
How do your kids respond to the lunches?
They just love them! I can really see how it encourages them to eat healthy. They do sometimes ask for hard stuff that is almost impossible to make and once they see my version of what they have asked for they get disappointed!
What is your favorite bento lunch that you’ve made to date?
Although I think people in general loved my “The Simpsons” bento the most, for some reason I love my hello kitty valentine’s bento the most so far
Would you recommend parents to try bento lunches? and why?
Of course! Bentos are really fun to make and kids will love to help making them! It will encourage healthy eating in a fun way! If you don’t have time you can always make something simple!
Can readers request bento boxes from you for special events, parties etc?
Yes, that will be possible soon, however, as I will be at a starter stage I may not be able to take big orders (no more than an order of 25 boxes max in one day).
For more information on bento lunches or to place an order contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also check out some more amazing bento lunches on her flickr page.