This bento is basically no-cook. The red pepper-cheese whole wheat ravioli just got boiled along with the corn, and the broccoli and peapods got steamed with the same pot. Woo! Big lion has a nori face, and little lion has a sweet potato face on a corncob with nori details. I cut some pink flowers with a metal cutter and poked holes with a coffee straw. Fruit section has sliced plum, grapes (on bottom) and sweet strawberries. Three purple carrot discs round out the color scheme.
I'll admit I made this bento with recent bento articles in mind. Perhaps you've seen them: Here, here and here. Basically they all address the back-to-school task of preparing lunches for kids, and show pictures of cute bento examples. The responses to these articles have been mixed, with several commenters suggesting that making such a bento takes way too long for a typical busy parent to manage, and that cute lunches "cater" to spoiled kids. Well! I'm not going to argue the bento point here but I want to emphasize that what constitutes a cute detail is up to you. I can tell you that I did not take more than 15 minutes (not counting cooking time) to put this bento together. The only skill I used was the ability to punch out vegetables with a cutter and nori with a craft punch. And if I didn't have a craft punch, I would have used pieces of carrots or peas to suggest eyes and a smile (I have certainly done that before). As for spoiling kids, on the contrary: You don't spoil kids by lovingly preparing them a nutritious, fun lunch. I'd rather have them at least try the food before outright refusing it, which is what you're allowing them to do if you don't even try. I think they learn to appreciate food more when they see the care their parents put into it for them, and they'll learn to love food because it's delicious and full of positive memories. Parents can encourage this process by offering their kids' meal in an appealing way they can appreciate. I really believe this. How about you?
This bento was added at What's For Lunch. Feel free to add yours too!
I am a former research scientist turned stay-at-home-mom of 2 who got started with bento in an effort to help my kids learn that eating healthy and nutritious foods can be fun and cute. I make a bento lunch for my 9yo (4th grader) son & my 5yo kindergartener girl every school day, and post the pictures on my sherimiya ♥ flickr photostream. Here in this blog is where I describe each bento, and you'll also get a peek inside our family adventures. Thanks for taking a look, and please let me know what you think ^-^!