kids

Great Bento Ideas: Simple and clever Halloween bentos by a really cool mom

Tombstone sandwich

Hallowe’en seems to inspire bento artists around the world like almost no other holiday. If you’re planning on a special spooky bento for someone special, now is the time to start gathering ideas. Here are two great very simple, cute and clever sandwich based Hallowe’en bentos by Tiffany, aka Cool Mom From Vancouver. continue reading...

Back To School Week on JustBento!

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Kids of all ages, not to mention quite a few adults, are either gearing up for going back to school (or kindergarten/college/university/daycare) or are already there. So what better time than to have a big Back To School Week? We’re going to have at least one giveaway every day this week of great bento boxes and related items, as well as coupons, useful tips and more, so stay tuned! ^_^ continue reading...

Bento tidbits from Japan: Ready-made bento foods from the supermarket

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So, you think that Japanese moms (and wives) prepare homemade bentos completely from scratch? Think again… continue reading...

Bento No. 71: Tiger Corn Muffin and Soup Bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 510 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 25-30 minutes to decorate the muffins (muffins are pre-made and frozen)

Type: Not Japanese, theme bento, vegetarian continue reading...

Bento no. 69: A Day At The Farm: Riceless charaben

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Bento contents:

  • 5 small Sweet Potato and Carrot Oyaki filled with ham and cheese, 250 cal
  • Sausage bunnies and cauliflower sheep using 2 cocktail franks, 70 calories
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise, 60 cal
  • Blanced broccoli, carrot butterflies and other vegetables, 30 cal

Total calories (approx): 410 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes the night before; 20 minutes in the morning

Type: Quick, not-rice-based charaben continue reading...

Bento: The Magical Bond for Parents and Children

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Two hungry kids tackle their bento lunch (Note: They’re not Linda’s kids, they are related to Maki :)) (Photo: Michiko Ebina)

This is a guest post by Linda Rolle, a Japanese-American mom to twins and co-owner of the online stores True Renu and True Renu International.

When our twins were born, we made all sorts of promises to ourselves about how we’d like to raise them. One of those wishes was to share with them our love and appreciation for good food, as my husband and I both come from a family of chefs and restaurateurs. For example, their first solid foods included miso soup, tofu, edamame and Weißwurst (a mild German veal sausage). To this day, they will choose edamame over chips, and tofu over just about everything.

When they entered preschool, we needed a way to continue feeding them in ways they would enjoy, while still (subtly!) hammering home the concepts of choice - and balance. Bento was the obvious solution. Having to prepare two lunches each weekday while running a business has forced me to be more resourceful, and plan meals more efficiently. But in so doing, I’ve also learned an even greater lesson; that the Bento is far more than a packed lunch. It has become a treasured link between me and my children as well as one of my most rewarding responsibilities as a parent. continue reading...

Speed bento tips from a busy American mom

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This is a guest post by Amy Vander Vorste of Avlor’s Imprints.

Are you sure you don’t have time to plan or pack a lunch? Speed tips are here to the rescue!

Bentos are “the in thing” in lunches right now and for good reason! They provide a great way to pack a nutritious meal while providing reasonable portions.

As an American mom, I was frustrated at what our school was providing as a “healthy” lunch. I love our elementary school, but I don’t have an ounce of affection for the lunch program. I’ll spare you the details - but lunches are 9 times out of 10 full of highly processed food. Milk is also pushed - but not just plain milk. There’s strawberry, chocolate, and cookies-and-cream sweetened versions. Yipes! I hope you find it as humorously ironic as I did that the school district sent home reminders that a pop, chips and a cookie don’t constitute a good lunch.

I want better for my children who need to learn and pay attention in school. Last year my son’s teacher mentioned to me that my son was having troubles paying attention in class. After I started packing nutritious lunches, my son’s attention problems virtually disappeared. Quality food may not be the answer for all attention problems, but it’s helped us tremendously! Squeezing time in to make a lunch is essential for my family.

I wondered how my son would handle taking lunches that are different from the ones his friends have. But he’s enjoying it and even asks to take chopsticks. His quote, “It’s awesome!” There’s positive attention over his lunches (and the chopsticks) from his classmates, and not much of the negative “Eww is that broccoli?” He’s becoming very conscious of what is good for him and what is not. Could a mom be more proud? continue reading...

Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in less than 5 minutes!

I am a bit wary of putting Japanese YouTube videos here, because soon after I do they seem to be taken down. But I’m taking a chance with this one (via sherimiya on Twitter) because it’s just too funny. It’s from a program on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System), one of the major Japanese TV networks, called Jitan Seikatsu Gaido Shou (時短生活ガイドショー), an infotainment show about how to save time in all kinds of ways. continue reading...