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As an anime fan, I have a habit of saving photos of cute bento lunches in my phone gallery. I also love binge-watching videos of Imamu room on YouTube, where she documents the husbento or bento meals she prepares for her husband every week. I know I have always wanted to learn how to make one.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a post of Mommy Liz Torrefiel in the Tipid Living Facebook group – an online community for those who want to share and learn budgeting tips, sulit budol finds, and DIY projects, including affordable meal plans.
Mommy Liz shared adorable photos of her home-cooked bento meals. After scrolling through the pictures of the nutritious bento lunches featuring cute designs like Disney princesses, penguins, and rice bunnies, I immediately sent her a message to ask how she made those – and she replied!
I learned that Mommy Liz makes bento meals for her daughter and husband. She started exploring making bentos in 2019 after attending a workshop by Kat Maderazo, a Filipino bento artist, and learned more techniques by watching video tutorials on YouTube.
Now, she’s running The Spoiled Mama Diary, an Instagram page dedicated to her cooking and bento-making journey.
“As a homemaker, one of my achievements is to make sure that I feed my family clean and healthy food. As much as possible, ayokong nag-oorder [sa] fast food [restaurants]. Kaya pati ang husband ko may bento baon din sa office,” she said.
Mommy Liz shared that she pushes herself to keep learning how to make bento meals. She didn’t even notice that her daughter started to eat everything she put on the table, including vegetables because she finds bento lunches cute.
So if you’re a homemaker who wants to treat your kids and partner to healthy bento meals, or you’re simply a frustrated bento enthusiast like me who wants to learn the basics of making a decent bento lunch, read on!
Below are the tips from Mommy Liz a.k.a The Spoiled Mama Diary on how she makes cute bento meals and the tools and accessories she uses to make them.
1. Prepare the bento ingredients, tools, and materials.
The first thing Mommy Liz does is to prepare the ingredients and her bentools. Let’s say she will make a rice ball. She will then prepare the rice, rice mold, and seaweeds. To decorate the bento meal, you will need scissors, a paring knife, tweezers, a nori puncher, food picks, and a cute lunch box. Don’t forget to prepare the fruits and vegetables. You can also throw in some juice and biscuits for the snacks!
2. Mold the rice with a kawaii mold shaper.
There are many cute rice ball design inspirations you can find online. But if you’re a beginner like me, try making a kawaii bunny first – a design that kids will love! Go ahead and shape the rice like a bunny using this nifty rice mold. Cut the seaweeds to mimic bunny ears and whiskers. Next, use this nori puncher from Daiso Japan to create some fun facial expressions. Imagine, the nori puncher only cost P88 – super sulit!
3. Peel the fruits and vegetables with a paring knife.
When making bento meals, the goal is to create a healthy, balanced meal, which is why it is essential to put in some meat and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Mommy Liz recommends using this pairing knife from Deli Tools to cut vegetables like carrots. A paring knife is a handy tool among bento makers, perfect for peeling and slicing fruits and vegetables. You can also use this vegetable cutter made of stainless steel and plastic to turn a carrot into different shapes like a heart, flower, and star!
4. Put everything together in the lunch box.
It’s time to assemble the bento meal inside the lunch box. Ideally, a lunch box should have several compartments like this Yumbox Panino, which has four – just enough space for a whole sandwich or a rice meal plus the fruits and veggies. It also has a tiny compartment for yummy snacks like candies and biscuits. For the drinks, you can never go wrong with Dutchmill, a fruity yogurt drink.
5. Add cute bento designs and accessories like food picks.
You’re almost done! Here’s another bento tip: Use food picks to keep the sandwich in place and entice the kids to eat the sliced fruits and veggies at the same time. You can choose a food pick design with your kid’s favorite animal or cartoon character. This food pick from The Kooky Cart offers cute designs from animals to assorted flowers!
So what are you waiting for? Check out these bentools online and mold a bunny rice ball for lunch! Happy bento-making! – Rappler.com
Follow Mommy Liz and her cooking adventures online @thespoiledmamadiary.