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School Lunches & Bento

Fall is almost here, school has already started, and the signs are everywhere! Yes, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils are in the air and you know it’s time to start packing lunches again.

In Japan, a typical lunch can entail an elaborate presentation. The Bento box has become an art form, dedicated to skillfully arranging decadent yet simple edible masterpieces. A type of bento call the “kyara-ben” or (character-based bento) are known to be extremely complex and may take up to several hours to complete.

Beautiful impressions and intricate molds laid out in landscapes of protein, vegetables, fruit and starches. This hype around the kyara-ben has pushed school moms to out-skill and compete with the other mothers for the best lunch box bento their child can take to school.

Many people teach classes on how to create and improve in the bento art culture, websites now sell tools, and a whole industry is dedicated to selling bento equipment accessible to everyone.

Although making elaborate school lunch bentos is not on my agenda every morning, I have managed to integrate a few of their tricks and style techniques to add variation when packing my son's lunch. Cut outs, skewers and decorative picks are now part of my everyday lunch making.

Avoid monotonous repetition of cold lunch by simply reshaping some of your favorite lunch parts. Use cookie cutters to shape sandwiches and cut outs for veggies to make them more appealing!

Assemble your child's lunch at night and have them be a part of it. They will be more eager to eat up what's in their lunch box! Remember to incorporate at least three of these combinations to create a balanced lunch pack; protein, veggies, carbohydrate or fruit.

Here are a couple lunch box ideas + 1 dessert for both!:

Pita Pizza School Lunch

Sweet & Nutty Mega Bites and PB&J Kabobs School Lunch

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels and Orange Segments

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