How to Make a Bento Box

Bento boxes turn lunch into art. Follow these simple steps to get started with this unique Japanese craft that makes food fun.

You will need

  • Bento container or plastic container
  • Balanced meal plans
  • Food items
  • Artistic flair
  • Garnishes
  • Toothpicks
  • Vegetable sticks (optional)
  • Cookie cutters (optional)
  • Colorful skewers (optional)

Step 1 Use sectioned food container Use a sectioned food container or purchase an authentic Japanese bento box.

Step 2 Balance it Plan a balanced meal. Bento box lunches traditionally provide a set ratio of grains to proteins and vegetables. A common formula is three parts grains to one part protein to one part vegetables.

Step 3 Use color Pick colorful foods. Hard-boiled eggs with bright yellow yolks, vibrant red cherry tomatoes, and brilliant white rice are popular bento ingredients.

Step 4 Use contrast Add interest with contrasting colors, flavors, and textures. Include a mix of bright and dark fruits and vegetables, sweet and salty items, and chewy and crunchy foods.

Step 5 Pack it in Arrange your food selections artfully. Place the proteins, grains, and fruits and vegetables in the separate compartments. Pack your box tightly so the contents won’t shift.

Step 6 Get creative Turn your lunch into edible art. Make flowers from radishes and cut stars out of carrot slices. Garnish with little pepper rings and make mini-kabobs on toothpicks.

Step 7 Get cute Add little faces and edible animals to your box. Give cherry tomatoes sesame seed eyes. Turn a hard-boiled egg into a bunny with cabbage-triangle ears. Making lunch cute is a big part of bento-box making in Japan.