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
- 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.
Use sticks of celery, carrots, or peppers to separate the food if you don’t have a box with compartments.
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.
Cut the food items into shapes with cookie cutters and use colorful skewers.
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.
Did You Know:
A traditional bento box lunch contains about as many calories as the box’s volume in milliliters.