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Back to School with a Bento Box Lunch

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When is a lunchbox not a lunchbox? When it’s a bento box!

Time-starved adults usually ask themselves this question at the end of their work day: What’s for dinner? Well, this still holds true, but with the new school year quickly approaching we also find ourselves asking that other important question: What’s for lunch that my kids will actually eat and, possibly, enjoy?

bento_box.jpgThe answer, my friends, is quite simple. Make the ubiquitous lunch box do half the work for you. I suggest that you invest in a bento box lunch box. They are all the rage among the school-age crowd. My teenagers love them and so do my elementary school nieces and nephews.

What is a bento box? A bento box is a single-portion “takeout” meal from home that is common in Japanese cuisine. A bento can have one compartment or several compartments. Other cultures have their own version of the bento, the most well known being the Indian tiffin. Kids love the commonly available bento box lunch box with several removable inner containers that allows for a complete meal.

There are several companies that offer different styles of bento boxes. One of my favorites is Laptop Lunches. They offer a great BPA-free plastic bento and their website has all sorts of great ideas for packing healthy, delicious lunches that won’t bore your kids to tears. This helps when the creative juices are at a standstill and you don’t want to resort to the school lunch program.

My kids like packing last night’s leftovers along with some fresh-cut fruit and veggies. There is even a tiny container for salad dressing or dipping sauce. The bento is a great way to get your kids involved in and excited about packing their own school lunch. With the bento you no longer have to worry about what’s for lunch. You can now refocus your energies on the age-old question: What’s for dinner?

[Photo credit: Amanda Quintana-Bowles]

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