Make your lunchbox waste free in style

Thinking outside the Bento Box - Make your lunchbox waste free in style

A traditional bento box, common for lunch in many Asian cultures, typically contains rice, noodles, fish or meat, with pickled and cooked vegetables, and sometimes even a small treat, creating a bright assortment of flavours and textures.


In other words, a bento-style lunch is a well-rounded, colourful and nutritious combination of foods tightly packed into a box with little need for plastic wrapping – It might already sound like the perfect lunch to pack for your kids!


Unfortunately, we tend to pack much more plastic into our kid’s lunches than we realise. Research suggests a child’s average lunch produces three pieces of rubbish every day, which amounts to about 30 kilograms of waste per child, each year. We know that plastics are harmful to our environment, and can be toxic to our bodies, and our children. 


A traditional bento box provides a fun, healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to a traditional lunch. 


If you’re interested in trying your luck with a bento box, there are only a few things you’ll need to get started.


The first is the box itself; you can purchase a box specially designed for bento meals, which will range from the cheaper plastic variety to thermal lunch sets. Of course, you can pack any container bento-style, so long as you fill it right up to the rim to prevent the foods from meshing together in transit.

Silicone baking cups are recommended, too – they’re colourful and handy for separating foods, especially moist ones. You will also want a knife and a cookie cutter to put the icing on the cake of your bento presentation and to put a big smile on your child’s face.


Kids love bento boxes because they’re colourful and cute and provide so much variety – while we’re going to provide some basic tips and techniques for your presentation, you might want to take your food art to the next level by depicting their favourite cartoon characters, animals, or movies – just a thought!


To begin, you will want to cut your food into small, cute shapes, and the cookie-cutter is perfect for this – try it on a mini-sandwich. You might also want to roll up pieces of deli meat and cheese. 


Your next step will be to pack the box to the brim – stack them, pile them, line them up, and squeeze them in. If there’s no space to breathe, the food will be held firmly in place, and this is what you want. 


Show your child your bento handiwork and pack them a nice surprise – they will be delighted, and you’ll have done your part for the environment, too. Two birds in one stone!

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