Bento Babies - Supplies
I've been posting for a little while about my Bento Babies feature and, rather bizarrely, am enjoying the mixed reaction. I love seeing other Mums' creations and I relish the challenge of converting those who are sceptical of the power of a fancy packed lunch.
This post will come as no surprise to those who know me well and read my blog. Excess is my middle name!
I have had quite a few messages and tweets about where I get my Bento supplies and what would make a good starter kit.
All you need is a box. A regular plastic, non-fancy box. The extra bits are of course lovely (who wouldn't want a moustache pick sticking out of their sandwich) but they are extras and sometimes less is more. Unfortunately for me, more is almost always more!
I have trouble resisting a nice plastic or tin lunch box and having a growing collection bursting out of the larder cupboard. I buy mine in local supermarkets (the pig and monkey were £1 in Asda), The Range and the orange puppy was from Ikea! These are my favourites:
Silicone cups work better than the paper cake cases for moist food like pineapple, melon and hummus. As the paper cases tend to get very floppy when wet. I like the way the star shapes fit together like a jigsaw too.
Everywhere I go I see potential Bento supplies. Pound shops, cake shops, toy shops. Add a Lego figure or Happyland person to make your little one smile. Browse in the cocktail making aisles in the supermarkets and think creatively when in a party shop.
I love that I can make a Bento lunch as simple or as elaborate as I want, or just use a plastic pick to jazz up a bog standard toddler tea.
If you have never tried it I urge you to give it a go. I have got my 3 year old eating raw cauliflower and kiwi fruit all because of the way it's presented. You don't even need a box - a fairy cake/muffin baking tray or tin is perfect. I have used ice cube trays too.
When it comes to genuine Japanese Bento picks and accessories, All Things for Sale is a winner. They ship internationally and have the best range online. I was lucky and saved on shipping when I stocked up when we were with my brother and sister in law in America in February and will be placing another cheeky order, for when we visit again in August!
I adore the plastic food separators and discs, you can use to stack and layer your food.
I also have a massive collection of cookie cutters after raiding the boy's play dough box. I find the metal ones cut more easily and have an alphabet set which are great for cutting letters out of pre sliced cheese. If you want the effect of lettering pressed into wraps and bread for example, cake letter presses are a good buy. You snap off the individual letters and arrange them in a plastic ruler or use them on their own. You can find the one I use here.
I use mini plastic egg cups for containers. The plastic eggs around at Easter, that you fill for egg hunts are great as well for your Bento supplies box.
Every week I will be posting a new Bento idea. Most of them will be super simple to copy, as no one has masses of time in the morning, when you are dashing out on the school run, or later in the day, when you have a hungry toddler desperate for their tea.
I am going to attempt some basic animals later this month as Sammy is getting excited for his Circus themed birthday and I want to trial some ideas for his party!
Don't forget to tweet me a picture of your creations so I can add them to the Bento Babies Pinterest board. If you are not on Twitter email me a photo or send me a link to your Facebook photo.
You don't need a preschooler or children in uniforms to join in. The principles work well for babies who are at the weaning stage and my 22 month year old loves it.
I will be posting a weaning Bento Babies, specially for all the parents who follow with tiny ones, so check back in or become my email buddy and subscribe!
All my themed picks are from Bento USA.
My wish list items are the sandwich cutters with little faces, the nori puncher which cuts seaweed into amazing emotions and the hot dog sausage cutters.
Guess what I will be asking for my birthday this year!
What Bento accessories would you love?