Monday, February 25, 2013

My First 5 Bento Lunches

Like most things in life... practice makes perfect! These were my first 5 attempts at bento lunches. Keep in mind I had a very limited amount of supplies to work with as this was before I bought any bento supplies at all, so it was made with stuff I just happened to have in the kitchen drawers! Hey, I didn't even have a bento box but I was so eager to try it out I took a shot at it anyways! Here's how it went:

Attempt #1

This bento was made a long time ago, when I first started reading about bentos sometime in 2012. This was just my random try at it to see if I liked it or not. And I did! I absolutely loved taking this little lunch to work! Even though I was expecting it and I know what was going to be in there, I really looked forward to lunch all day and it definitely put a smile on my face which made the long work day just a little more bearable than normal.
Note the horrid photography here! I am still working on that by the way. I am in the process of getting my photo cube set up in a designated area so I can snap photos of my lunches every morning (or night).

In this meal:
Heart shaped egg sandwiches, heart shaped mini pancakes, and pineapple chunks on heart skewers. 

This is packed in a normal old plane Jane Glad-Ware. The heart picks were bought at the Dollar Tree a while back and the little red cup came from a Chili's restaurant.

What I learned from this bento:
The pineapples did not work like that. I actually took the picks out after I took the picture and put the chunks in the cup. Somehow, even though the box remained up right the pancakes on the bottom got soggy with pineapple juice. I am sure that a bento box with divided sections would have fixed that easily.

Attempt #2

In this meal:
Macaroni and cheese bake, pear half, shaped frozen vanilla yogurt, Teddy Grahams.

This is also packed in a Glad-Ware. The star containers are silicon muffin cups. 

What I learned from this bento:
The frozen yogurt shape was a flop. While it was cute, once it had thawed out it didn't melt back into yogurt. Instead it turned into something that resembled the texture of cottage cheese (ick). It probably still was good to eat but I was too turned off by the texture to even taste it. 

Another thing... the Teddy Grahams got soggy. I assume this was from the moisture in the box from the other foods. I think next time I will put the teddys in a container with a lid or in a bento box that has separated sections that can keep the moister from traveling from one food to the other.

The star cups are also quite small and do not hold that much food. They also fit food awkwardly as you can see in the picture. It just doesn't look right. I think they would do better for small things like goldfish or tiny candies.  

Attempt #3

This was the first bento I made for my boyfriend. I made it the same day I made the bento from attempt #2 so I made the same mistake with the teddys in his as well.

In this meal:
Roast beef sandwich, pickles, Teddy Grahams, and pear chunks.

He told me he ate the sandwich and the pickles only. His teddys got soggy too but he seems to think it was because they were stored in the fridge. Who knows? I will have to look into that lol. And he didn't eat the pears because he didn't feel like it... (men).  He also said that it did not fill him up. So next time we are going to need a bigger container or better yet a large bento box!

What I learned from this bento:
Not to serve my boyfriend pears for lunch. My boyfriend has the appetite of a starving bear. (but I think I all ready knew that

Attempt #4

I made this on Valentines day but that morning I discovered that my house was flooded and could not go to work. So I ended up eating it at home, and I am glad I did because this bento was pretty fail!

In this lunch dessert:
Graham crackers, peanut butter, honey, and chocolate chips, and a confetti cupcake flavored Pop-Tart.

When making this bento I was first thinking I wanted to take a peanut butter and honey sandwich to work. The idea then evolved into this. I thought that it would be fun to dip the graham crackers in the peanut butter and then the honey and last the chocolate chips. It was fun... but messy. The chocolate chips would not stick very well so in the end I ended up with a big sticky blob of chocolate chips and honey. Since they were all blobbed up I could not sprinkle them on the crackers either so I had to either pick up the blob and put it on there or try and scoop it out. It was a disaster. 

This was yummy but not for lunch! It was much too sweet. I was only able to take about 5 bites before it was too much for me. I ended up munching on this as a snack all day long. I will not be doing this again! 

Attempt #5

This was a last minute bento and it actually was one of the best of the 5 first attempts. I was not planning on making this meal but in the spur of the moment while I was packing leftovers into the fridge I decided to try and make something cute for lunch the next day.
In this bento:
Tabbouleh salad, glazed ham shape, mixed veggies, a strawberry, and a skewer of grapes.

This whole bento was cold and I and I decided I wanted to eat it all cold as well, so the flavor and texture of all the items remained perfect. It was a great meal to eat.

I think that the appearance needed some help though. If I had a Easy Lunchboxes container I think this would have done really well in that. I could have put the ham star in the middle of the large compartment and then surrounded it by the salad. I then could have put the veggies and fruit in the other two compartments.

I think that I could have even just used some baran paper to separate the foods and that would have made for a much prettier meal.

All and all this one didn't turn out that bad.

I am glad that I tried these and learned what I did. I can not wait to become a bento making pro! I have all ready ordered my first round of bento making supplies! One bento box and a mixed lot of food picks. I know it is not much but I am sure it will help progress my skills.


  1. Thanks for stopping by Love your 'attempts'. It is some trial and error at first, and I think the EasyLunchboxes would be perfect for you! Looking forward to see what else you have coming.

  2. These are a great start! The tabbouleh looks delicious! I love those colorful star silicone cups! I do think you would like the ELBs. They are great for keeping stuff separated and hold plenty of food for an adult. I pack my husband's lunches in them.
    Wax paper can work as baran in a pinch.