How to Make Bento

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How to Make Bento

Making healthy food more fun to eat than junk food, managing food allergies, and living a healthy lifestyle - by combining the wisdom of clean eating with the fun of a bento box!

A bento is more than your average packed lunch. You’ve probably seen pictures on the internet of elaborate, time-consuming works of Japanese food art, and it might seem just too far removed from the real-life chore of packing lunches. And really, no one makes those super intricate lunches every day. Those are generally for special occasions .

The basic goal with bento is to put together a meal that’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for your stomach, and that can be easy to do once you learn a few of the basics. You don’t have to use Japanese foods either – anything that would be good to eat in a packed lunch works perfectly in a bento.

I’ll show you how to put together a beautiful lunch in 4 simple steps, using ordinary food that you’re used to eating.

But first, you need to gather your supplies:

How to Make Bento

Here are some basic things that will help you easily make great bento lunches:

- Bento box – A good bento box is a great place to start, and fortunately there are a lot to choose from. See Where to Buy Bento Supplies below.

- Dividers – My favorite things to use as dividers are silicone baking cups, and they come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.

- Sauce containers – Its really nice to have little bottles or small lidded containers to include salad dressing, barbecue sauce, or dip to make lunch delicious.

- Extras: picks, mini cutters, molds – These fun little tools are where you can really ramp up the wow factor of your lunches and easily add the personality that makes it a bento.

How to Make Bento

- A small, sharp knife – One of the most useful, but most overlooked tools for bento is just a really good knife! The special bento cutters and tools are really great to have and will save you a lot of time, but you can cut things into cute shapes with a knife.

My very favorite place for bento supplies is . They have a huge selection at really reasonable prices, and they have great sales, too! If you are interested at all in bento, definitely check them out by clicking on this link:

I have put ALL of my favorite bento supplies, including things from my Etsy shop, cookbooks, kitchen tools, appliances and more in one convenient place right here on my . Go take a look – have fun browsing ????

What Kind of Food Should You Pack?

Sometimes the hardest part of packing lunches is trying to decide what to put in them! Here’s a handy list of food that works great in lunches. I’ve included a PDF version for you to print out, too:

How to Make Bento

Now here we are at last – the 4 simple steps of making a bento box lunch. Once you learn the 4 steps, you’ll see how easy it is!

If you pack it tightly in your bento box, making sure the food goes right up to the rim of the box, it won’t shift around when it gets carried to work or school and ruin your masterpiece. And a fully filled-in lunch box looks so much better than one where you can see gaps. Here are some examples:

Step 2. Keep Wet and Dry Food Separate

How do you pack your bento box nice and tight, but keep your food from getting soggy and gross? This is easy enough to do by using a bento box with divided sections, and also using silicone cups . You can see in the bento pics above how I used some silicone cups to keep the vegetables from touching the wet sandwich filling, and keep the soft fruit from mixing with the eggs, veggies, and meat and making everything mushy.

You can find all the cups that I personally own and use

How to Make Bento

Take a look online for bento box images.Or, to see LOTS of bento images!

What’s one thing all the great ones have in common? A wide variety of colors. A good bento artist tries to include contrasting colors – colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel – like purple and orange, blue and yellow, red and green, etc. You can use colorful silicone cups, or picks to add a pop of contrast as well.

Here’s another handy list of bento food by color, along with another PDF version for you to refer to when making lunches:

Step 4. Use a Variety of Flavors and Textures

When packing food in your lunch, try to balance creamy with crunchy, spicy with mild, sweet with savory. Food tastes better when there’s different things to tantalize your tastebuds. Don’t worry – you don’t need to over think it though:

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