It may not seem to you like I’ve been making any food at all, but this is why!
A friend of a friend of my friend works for parenting.com and asked me if I was interested in making 20 bento for kids. I was hesitant at first because all my bento are for my boyfriend, and I had never made bento for kids… but I do like a challenge so I decided to do it.
The difficult part was I could only use rice for a couple bento. Most ingredients had to be easy to buy at a local supermarket. As you can see, no hot dog was allowed because hot dog is choking hazard and not appropriate for kids. So are whole grapes, whole cherry tomato, popcorn, nuts, raw vegetables, etc… (Read anti-choking guide on each page for more information.) The age target was 3~10, so I made very small bento, middle size bento, and biggish bento.
Click on each image to go to the article of the bento.
I also have a couple of how-to’s I did for this project. Click on the bold text to check out the how-to!
How to seal a sandwich – I made a lot of sandwiches for this project. I think sandwiches are easy to prepare for busy parents. Also you can put pretty much ANYTHING in “sealed sandwiches”! You can put hummus (as they suggest in the article), egg salad, small hamburg, even pasta! You can buy various shaped sealed sandwich makers from bento store online, but I used stuff in my kitchen to make it.
How to make a ham flower – Ham and a tiny piece of uncooked pasta (optional) can make a pretty flower!
How to make a jelly sandwich flower – If your kids love jelly sandwiches, try this!
How to make rusks – As I was making sandwiches, I realized that I had a lot of leftover crust. I didn’t want to waste it, so I used it to make a very easy sweet snack for kids. All you need is margarine, sugar and a little bit of cinnamon.
You may notice that I used something that I don’t usually use for for my boyfriend’s bento… silicone baking cups! Small ones are great for holding ketchup, peanut butter, small snacks, etc… and you can use the big ones to cook the food in and put it in a bento box. Omelets are very easy to make with a silicone cup too. You just mix the ingredients and bake it until it’s cooked. I also used silicone cups to hold different kinds of fruit, so that juice from fruits won’t get to other fruit. The best part is it’s reusable!
I have some regrets, and things I could’ve, would’ve, should’ve done differently or better… but it was a lot of fun, and great practice for me.
All bento listed here are very easy, but some of the bento might take a longer than the others. If you never made a bento like these before, or a bento beginner, I have a couple of advices for you.
- Don’t try to re-make the entire bento. Just make one or two elements from each bento.
- Don’t stress yourself out on details! So what if your bear looks like a cat. The important thing is to make it with love.
- You don’t necessarily have to use the food you (or your kids) don’t like. Bento is like a training for you/your kids to eat small portion of various food, so it should be fun. (If you’re a parent, I’m sure you know how&where to hide the veggie in kids food. )
- Try making them with your kids or friends, and have fun!
I’d like to thank Ganda and Kathleen at Parenting.com for giving me this opportunity!
Go to the main page to check out 20 Easy Bento Lunch Boxes (at Parenting.com)!