Bento box hacks

Add a touch of creativity into your very own kiwi lunches and become the object of lunch envy with these creative bento box hacks! 

This Korean-Filipino mum of two finds cool ways to make sure her kiddos get 5 plus a day. Kat uses fresh fruits and vegetables, sausages, ham, and other Asian-inspired dishes such as egg rolls, dumplings, Japanese katsu and Korean side dishes, to provide flavourful, colourful and highly nutritious lunches for everyone. Little details really help bring all these ingredients together in one box – a bento. 

1. Cupcake holders aren’t used just for baking!

Bento boxes are all about a variety foods while maintaining attractiveness and neatness. If you’re adding lots of flavours into your bento box, silicon, foiled or disposable cupcake holders are a great way to separate condiments in your bento box. Reusable cupcake holders will save you money and time, plus they’re eco-friendly. Ditch the plastic wrappers and forget about washing bigger plastic containers! (Note: a key tip in saving time is cooking large portions or packing leftovers with snacks. Because these cupcake liners come in different sizes, combination foods can be made to fit into one lunchbox like so:

2. Behold the octo-sausage!

If you’re needing an alternative to the same ol’ square sammies, these Octo-sausages are just as simple and easy to make. Plus, kiddos love the cute shape of octopus in their lunchbox! Delicious and adventurous is the way to go.

How to make Octo-sausages:

  1. Grab any cocktail sausage and slice around 1-1/2 inch off one end.
  2. With a knife, cut 8 slits off the non-rounded edge of your hot dog.
  3. Heat your pan to ready it for the upcoming magic!
  4. Fry your sausages sideways first, and turn them every 10-15 seconds or so. Watch the slits cook and brown as they curl upwards into what looks like octopus legs.
  5. Set cooked sausages on paper towels to absorb excess oil and serve on a bed of rice or with some veggies in your bento box!

Optional: Draw faces on your octo-sausages with skewers to create two eyes, and using a knife, carve in a mouth/smiley. And viola! When making octo-sausages, make happy octo-sausages. Alternatively, you can also make spaghetti-sausies by puncturing uncooked spaghetti noodles into sliced sausages before cooking them.

3. Animal toothpicks and ham camouflage

Cute and decorative animal toothpicks are essential to any bento box, as they are great for holding condiments such as sandwiches, or for holding together fruit/meat skewers to snack on. Plus, they are environmentally friendly and reusable!

A great trick is to wrap veggies such as sliced cucumber, beans or broccoli with lightly shaved or turkey ham. Ham-camouflage is a perfect way to get kiddos to eat their ‘delicious’ vegetables. Here is Kat’s take on it:

4. Heart-shaped boiled egg 💖

Forget written love notes, send a little message of love with this heart-shaped boiled egg instead.

What you’ll need:

  1. Egg
  2. A juice or milk carton cut, washed, dried and folded in half length-wise.
  3. Chopstick or satay stick (preferably a rounded one)
  4. Rubber bands

What to do:

  1. Hard boil your egg. While it is still warm, peel and place in the folded carton.
  2. Place your chopstick on the centre of the egg, with a rubber band on each end. (Note: make sure that the egg is warm, as it will crumble under pressure if it has already cooled down.)
  3. Leave the egg like this for ten minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, cut in half! And viola! A heart-shaped egg. 💖

Kat’s Hot Tips!

From the words of super-mum Kat herself, bento is best prepared when you’re organised. Staying on schedule can be a challenge for any parent. But something as little as adding bits and bobs from leftovers or preparing most of the food the night before can be your ticket to winning chaotic mornings. From one parent to another – good luck!

For more #inspo on your next bento, check out Kat’s foodstagram here.

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