Instructables

How to make a Bento Box (Japanese lunch Box) for a toddler

Picture of How to make a Bento Box (Japanese lunch Box) for a toddler
A Bento Box is a traditional Japanese lunch box. Bento boxes can contain any number of food items and types. Traditional Bento lunch boxes are filled with a 4:3:2:1 serving ratio; 4 rice, 3 Meat, 2 Veggies (pickled vegetables usually. They don't have to be dill pickles but you can use them if you like.) , 1 desert. The items and arrangement in a Bento is dependent on the function and sometimes on a theme. In Japan Bentos are very elaborate and are works of edible art. They even have contests for creativity and taste. Types of Bentos are also dependent on they type of vessel or "lunch box" you chose to put them in. I have chosen a Tiny Chuck E. Cheese tin (Metal lunch box) that my daughter received at her first birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. You can use a traditional Bento box (They can be purchased online or at Asian Markets), or any storage container with a lid. Think of a theme if you like, such as cartoon characters, sports, or nature to name a few. I will be creating my Bento for my toddler.

Step 1: Step One (Gathering Materials)

Picture of Step One (Gathering Materials)
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First of all you will need a box/container for your Bento. I have chosen the tiny Chuck E. Cheese Tin of my daughters. Also I am using tiny little storage cups with lids that fit perfectly within her tin. ( I bought them 10 for a $1.00 at the dollar store). Gerber makes a t.v. like dinner for toddlers that is microwavable, the little plastic dish is durable and I have even cleaned it in the dish washer. This little "tray" is great for a toddler sized Bento.

Your materials will depend on what kinds of food you want in your Bento. I chose Toddler safe items that are my daughter's favorites. I will list the items I used, but you may substitute your own. Everything I used can be purchased at Walmart and most grocery stores. You can include items that aren't asian if you like, anything that will fit in the Bento. Such as little sandwiches or even left- overs.

Materials
Alfalfa Sprouts
Match book Carrots
Multi grain Cheerios
Sweet Peas
Long Grain Rice
Imitation Crab legs
Shrimp
Eggs
Rice Noodles
Athens Mini Fillo Shells

You will also need to gather all your cooking utensils and appliances you will need to prepare these items properly.
 
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So cute. I look forward to making similar things for my soon to be toddler.
So cute. I look forward to making similar things for my soon to be toddler.
so lovely baby.
There seems to be a misconception that "a lot" of Japanese food is raw. While it's a true that some traditional Japanese cuisine like sashimi (slices of raw fish) and sushi usually (but not always) contain some raw components, the number of cooked Japanese dishes actually far outstrips the number of foods that is served. I would stand to argue that the number of raw dishes in Japanese cooking is no more than in any other style of ethnic cuisine--it just so happens that the one that is raw is, coincidentally, the most popular and well-known outside Japan =)

In point, food used in a bento is meant to be safe when kept unrefrigerated for at least a few hours until it is meant to be eaten, so the components in a bento are usually less perishable things such as rice and cooked foods, or stable items such as fresh vegetables and fruits. Traditionally, foods with anti-bacterial properties such as wasabi, ginger, picked plums, salt, and vinegar are sometimes also incorporated into bento.

Not trying to criticize, just trying to be helpful, as I make bento often for myself and for my little sister =)
lorrwill5 years ago
Love the bunny. That's eggwhite cut with a mini cookie cutter, right?
TeachNdahood (author)  lorrwill5 years ago
Its just a tiny metal cookie cutter I got a weird kitchen store in Evansville, IN. It works half decently with cutting onigiri (shaped rice balls) too. My daughter loves eggs so we just boiled up some eggs. Thanks for the comment.
It is just too cute. Thanks for the info. I bet if I hunt, I can find one in an Easter themed set of cutters.
TeachNdahood (author)  lorrwill4 years ago
Ebay and amazon.com are good places to look for such things online and asian markets if you have one near your home in person.
Mr. Brownie5 years ago
This is extremely clever of you! Keep up the good work!
TeachNdahood (author)  Mr. Brownie5 years ago
Thank you. I lived in Okinawa Japan for four years during my youth, military brat. Sometimes I miss it quite a bit, it helps to do things that remind me of Japan.
clamoring5 years ago
Nice job! I love how you cut the chopsticks down to make them fit!
TeachNdahood (author)  clamoring5 years ago
Thanks for the commnent. NICE HAIR... I love that color.