The term bento as I understand it is a Japanese lunch form, where foods are packed snugly and tidily into lunch containers. Containers often have compartments or use dividers to keep foods separate. The bonus of the bento idea is that foods are made too look like shapes, characters, etc, to enhance their appeal. If that doesn't help brown bag lunches to have more success, I don't know what will!
First, check out this video of some of the fun bento style lunches we have made this summer.
Now, check out the info I handed out to explain it all and give ideas.
fun lunch tips
Lunch Trick #1 Make it Neat and Tidy
Stack crackers and cheese. Alternate foods in a pattern. Use lunch containers with compartments or make your own compartments with empty baby food cups or silicon cupcake cups.
Lunch Trick #2 Cut Shapes
Use cookie cutters to shape cheese, sandwiches, breads, baked treats, veggies, and fruit slices. You can even to cut the core out of apple slices with small cutters. Use a melon baller for any soft produce like melon, cucumbers, bananas, or kiwi.
Lunch Trick #3 Roll ups & Kabobs
Use toothpicks, cupcake picks, and party picks to create mini kabobs out of lunch elements such as fruit, cheese, meats, cubed anything! One of the most popular at our house is leftover pizza cut into squares and stacked with olives and pineapple. Picks can also serve as a small utensil in place of plastic forks.
Roll up layers of deli meat and cheese, either in flattened bread, tortillas, or without. Add flavored cream cheese for some zip. with Try flattened bread spread with pb&j, nutella, pb& honey, or any of your favorite spreads.
Lunch Trick #4 Mix it up
Try swapping out favorite sandwich breads for something new like one slice white and one slice wheat, bagels, flatbread, biscuits, tortillas, etc. Find other ways to introduce small portions of new foods. Remember to serve foods from all food groups for balanced nutrition.
fun lunch resources
http://www.easylunchboxes.com/neat_ideas/fan_sites/index.htm A long list of idea sites.
http://www.easylunchboxes.com/neat_ideas/index.htm click on “Yummy lunch gallery”
Any internet search for “bento” or “Muffin Tin Meal”
Main Dish Ideas
Tortilla roll ups
Cheesy tortilla shapes & salsa
Pita & Veggies with Hummus
Sandwich on a stick
Yogurt w/ sides of fruit and granola
Two toned sandwiches
Meat, cheese, crackers
Hawaiian kebab: ham, cheddar, pineapple
Meat & Cheese cubes
Carrot sticks & dip
Celery sticks & dip
Baby carrots & dip
Broccoli florets & dip
Mini candy bar