Try a convenient Back-to-School Bento Box — a simple yet satisfying lunch of crisp vegetables, creamy avocado, and fluffy Carolina® White Rice. It will change the way you think about packed lunches.
Cook rice according to package directions. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Stir into rice.
Divide rice between 4 bowls or lunch boxes. Arrange eggs, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots and avocado evenly over top. Top with sesame seeds (if using).
Pack in a divided compartment bento box if desired.
Top rice with your favorite vegetables!
Originating in Japan, a bento is a single-serve meal, packed in a portable bento box — a divided container that keeps the balanced meal at its best until it’s time to eat. The best bentos typically have these three key elements:
Rice: With a base of hearty Carolina® Rice, you’re guaranteed to have a satisfying meal. Using our Quick Guide to Different Rice Varieties, select the best grain — perhaps a nutty brown rice, a fragrant jasmine, or flavorful blend with quinoa— for your lunch. **Don’t skip the first step: the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar will keep your rice from drying out.
Protein: While this recipe is vegetarian, typical bentos contain fish or meat. Unless you have a way to keep your container chilled, avoid raw fish. Bentos are a great way to finish up leftovers: slice up the filet or shred the chicken breast. Better still, when you revamp leftovers, little picky eaters won’t be complaining about eating the same food two days in a row.
Vegetables: Toss in vegetables — raw, cooked, or pickled. In fact, pickled or cooked vegetables with a pinch of salt can withstand staying out at room temperature until lunch.
Goodbye brown paper bags, hello bento boxes! Level up packed lunches with containers that come in all shapes and sizes. After determining which size and compartment configuration is best, let the kids choose the bento box with their favorite designs and colors!
Make vegetables fun by cutting them differently. Take a spiralizer — or buy precut veggies — and whip up this vibrant Spiralized Veggie & Jasmine Rice Bowl in 10 minutes; this is a simple bento to prepare when there are no dinner leftovers. Alternatively, toss in some hearts, flowers, or star-shaped veggies to their bentos with quarter-shaped cutters — typically called vegetable shape cutters. Don’t worry about it being too much work: your kids will be begging to make the shapes themselves! Don’t stop with vegetables, you can add some deli meat or cheese shapes, too!
Another way to get kids excited about their midday meal is by getting them involved in making it! Let them select their veggies: if they get to choose what they have, there’s a greater chance that they’ll clean their plate — or in this case — bento box. When they are old enough, they can roll up their sleeves and get to work in the kitchen! From stirring to scooping, there’s plenty of kid-friendly cooking tasks. In fact, get the whole family involved in meal preparation by using these Fun Tips for Cooking with Kids.