I have been following Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show on TV since it started 3 weeks ago. America is indeed a market for convenience food, from fast food chain drive up to packaged dinners that stocks up 1/3 of the supermarket spaces here. I think the fact that Jamie Oliver finds it very hard to create an overnight success to his call of serving fresh cooked food to our children is highly due to the reason that most parents in a household works and of course, the school budget system is always tight everywhere, hence the option is to take the easy way out with cheap and doubtfully prepared packaged food. To see a 13 year old kid who is almost 300lbs is very disturbing to me and I believe the government branch of this area should do more to promote good eating programmes by involving the parents, limiting the type of food served at our schools and perhaps train more people like Jamie Oliver to spread the word of the dangers of obesity as I am really shocked on how so many people in this first world country can be so ignorant on what types of food are good and bad for them!
Everytime I prepare Bento boxes for my kids, I think about the ingredients first. It is difficult to completely diss the usage of processed food and I can only try to limit their presence in my kids lunches. Sure, we take ham, meat franks and processed cheese products all the time as I, myself a busy mom also find these products time saving. But I go the extra mile to boil the sausages and wash my slices of ham to rid of some salt and nothing sweet in the Bento boxes except fresh fruits. Little steps like that comfort my mind and hopefully my kids will pick up good eating habits in their adult lives.
I didn't plan well for the kids Bento boxes today and used what I had in the pantry and fridge. I mashed up a can of salmon, seasoned it with salt and pepper and mixed in some Japanese bread crumbs Panko and chopped chives, and made them into patties. Pan frying them was quick as the salmon is already cooked. I used Beef frank or more known as hot dog sausages for the sushi rice filling. One thing about these type of franks, there are plenty of varieties and I usually stay away from those that is made of mixed meat of different kind and always boil them for a few minutes before using, even though they say it is ready to eat.
For Curry's Bento, I made a shrimp salad by mixing mixed peas, corn and cut carrots with the cooked shrimp and dressed it with pepper, Dijon mustard and mayonaise. With some homemade beef and chive dumplings, pan fried first and then cooked in oyster flavored sauce and ginger, stir fried green beans and nori omelette, this Bento box was fast to put together as long as I wrap the dumplings the night before. The rice was flavored with Furikake and toasted garlic slices.