As we talk about Back-to-school we simply have to mention lunches. This year I’m going to do a little more than mention it though as we delve into great lunch ideas and in an effort to go completely green in the lunch department, Bento will be key. From supplies to recipes and great sites for you to use as resources, we’re going green and Bento all over the place!!!
Care to take the plunge with me? Great!! Today, we’re going to look at the basic supplies and where to buy them.
Going Bento is not as challenging as it may seem, or as expensive. I admit I was so lost at first. I loved the idea of doing bento type lunches for my family, but I was struggling with the “hows” and “where-to-buys”.
In keeping with my standard back-to-school shopping advice, you have to “think outside the box” more than ever here. From where to shop for Bento boxes and supplies to how to creatively package daily lunches (without going crazy). While you’re thinking outside the box however, keep in mind that there’s a lot of products out there and you’ll be building your Bento supply box over time.
Start with the Box!
Finding the perfect box may seem daunting, but there’s simple solutions for those who are just starting. Here’s some ideas.
EasyLunchboxes is probably the simplest of them all! Last fall they sent me a set of their fantastic lunchboxes and it was an amazing introduction for me into the world of Bento. Alas, my life was so crazy at the time I wasn’t able to fully appreciate it or share it with all of you until now, but I’m so excited to do so.
Since these boxes are already compartmentalized you will have no problem building a cute lunch without needing an excess of supplies. Just purchase a set of these sturdy, durable boxes (comes in a set of 4 for around $14.99 – WOW!) and a couple little bento goodies and you’re totally ready to send up to four kids back to school for under $20.
Search for local shops (specialty, Walmart, Target, etc) and even look at garage sales, Craigslist, etc for bento options. If you can buy locally (and if their prices aren’t through the roof), you won’t have to worry about shipping costs and of course there’s the whole supporting local businesses idea to feel good about.
More Box Shopping
Feel like you want to take the plunge even deeper into bento? Check out AllThingsForSale.com a surprising little online Bento store that has simply amazing prices!
There’s a lot of creative solutions there and while it may seem daunting, I hope to offer a little more information on these over the next few months as we try some out ourselves.
Though there are tons and tons of places to shop here’s just a couple links to keep you going:
- Amazon.com - offers very cute bento boxes and accessories at definitely affordable prices!
- Ebay – honestly a fabulous place to shop for bento just use the normal cautions (ie: beware of sellers that gouge you for shipping or have low feedback ratings).
- The Container Store – another surprising find with amazing options!
- http://megasuperbento.ecrater.com/ - haven’t shopped here but got the suggestion from a few bento sites.
- Bento&Co – admittedly not the cheapest place to shop for bento but definitely unique.
Wondering where on earth to begin? Well it all depends on how in depth you want to go right off the bat, but frankly I recommend keeping it simple. Although all accessories are truly optional, I do recommend that you at least start with silicone cupcake cups (can be found literally at any store that sells cooking supplies or online) or food separators of some sort (usually purchased in bento specialty shops or online at the stores I mentioned). Most can be purchased at any of the above mentioned ideas/links.
- Bag – if you buy boxes that don’t have one you may want to find something that fits the containers and a thermos or drink container for portability.
- Picks – the ultimate accessory for cuteness and keeping small food (grapes, olives, etc) where you want it to be in the box.
- Sandwich Cutters – not all boxes fit standard sized bread and let’s face it kids love shaped sandwiches!!! This is an affordable, simple and fun option to have.
More on Lunch
Be on the lookout for future posts that expand on ideas, suggestions, accessories and more all to do with Bento! Also, I plan to feature some fun lunch ideas over the next few weeks that are (of course!) simple simple simple!!!