What's smaller than a bread box, easy on the environment, and cool enough for your kindergartner, fifth grader and high school student? That would be a bento box.

Bento -- a single-portion meal packed into a re-usable box, are as common as our brown bags in Japan. Traditionally they're filled with rice balls (o-nigiri), bits of fish or tofu, and some pickled or grilled vegetables. But with their growing popularity in the west, intrepid lunch-packers are learning that just about anything fits into a bento.

Of course, you're free to turn your kids onto o-nigiri (triangle-shaped rice balls with a bit of fish or pickled plumb tucked in the middle). They're the Japanese equivalent of a PB&J. Nutritious, delicious ... and way more healthy than that PB&J.

Interested in learning more? Here's a super-cool site featuring a wide-variety of bento boxes. And the go-to site for learning how to fill them? Lunchinabox.net, of course. Plug in your rice cooker and get started on the newest way to pack a back-to-school lunch.

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