Illustration by Apryl Stott
Children in Japan often bring bento boxes for their school lunches. Bento boxes are a whole meal in one container. Traditionally they’re made with rice, meat or fish, and vegetables, but you can make yours out of your favorite healthy lunch foods. Kyaraben, or character bento, turns your favorite lunch foods into a picture. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
Bunny bento is made from rice, grapes (for the background and one sliced in half lengthwise for the nose), cheese slices (for the inner ears and cheeks), raisins (for the eyes), and baby carrots (for the background).
Star bento is made from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into a star shape, raisins (for the eyes, nose, and background), cheese slices (for the cheeks), and apple slices (for the mouth and background).
Puppy bento is made from a slice of lunch meat, pickles (cut lengthwise for the ears and sliced for the spot around the eye), olives (cut lengthwise for the eyes and nose, and chopped into bits for the whisker dots), cheese (for the muzzle), and celery sticks (for the background).
Lion bento is made from macaroni and cheese (for the lion mane), a tortilla (cut into a circle for the head and triangles for the ears), lunch meat (cut into triangles for the nose and inner ears), raisins (for the eyes and mouth), and soybeans (for the background).