Bento Toddler Lunches

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For those having to pack a school lunch every day, whether your child is just starting preschool or a kindergarten pro, often times you're left thinking, "Now what?"

When we discovered Bento lunches, we found inspiration and a solution to our daily lunch conundrum.

Bento is a portable meal -- usually lunch -- packed in a small box. Bento boxes are usually multi-layered so one can include a variety of tastes in the lunches...Bentos can range from simple to completely elaborate. Traditional Japanese Bentos usually have rice and fish, but just about any ingredient may be used. Using many of our leftovers from dinner and simple fresh ingredients, we were able to pack a tasty lunch for our son.

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A PB&J, chicken sausage, muenster cheese, carrots and hummus

Often times, the key to making a good Bento into a great Bento, is presentation. Cute is king in the Bento world! You can buy egg molds to shape hard-boiled eggs into rabbits, bears or stars; sauces and condiments are placed in adorable containers. Many people elevate Bento-making to an art form by going all out. We don't go that far, but we still have a lot of fun making our lunches.

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Fried rice, carrots, cheese, a cornichon, and a hard-boiled egg shaped like a bear

For more information on Bento lunches, including recipes and where to buy supplies, visit Lunch in a Box, Cooking Cute and Bento Box.

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rotini pasta with cheese, fruit, grilled chicken, cheese and steamed carrots

(Re-Edited from 2007-9-10 - CB)

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