It’s all about the fruit salad

There’s other stuff in the bento, but really, who notices with all the yummy, colorful fruit in the first tier?

Top Tier: Two small rice onigiri, one large tuna onigiri on edamame.Bottom Tier: Chopped melons, pineapple, and dried blueberries for contrast. Dessert (ended up under the lid): a few of the horribly addictive strawberry chocolates and some panda cookies from Le Asia in Dublin which sadly shut down recently.

This bento is from a while back, when I was putting a little more effort into ensuring that I had all the colors included in my lunch.  Just looking at how colorful it is makes me want to start getting more melons to add into our lunches.  Well, spring is almost here, so there are bound to be more colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables available soon.

If you are assembling a fruit salad, I highly recommend trying it out with a dried fruit mixed in, preferably small.  Dried cranberries and dried blueberries add a great pop of tartness and flavor without detracting from the sweetness of the rest of the fruits in the salad.  Additionally, they tend to soak up a little of the juices that run from the cut fruit and become yummier and juicier, with the side benefit of you not having to open up your lunch and finding fruit juice sloshing around the bottom as much.  Since I’m so restricted on which fruits I can include in a fruit salad due to allergies, dried fruits also offer an easy way for me to easily “mix it up” a bit with the types of fruit salads I prepare so I don’t feel like I’m eating the same four fruits every day.  The other side benefit of keeping dried fruit on hand is that it provides variety without the same perishability of fresh fruit.  Only one caution: people often forget that dried fruits retain the calories and sugars of their fresh selves, so they are denser in calories and sugars.  You can fit a lot more dried fruit in a bento than fresh, but if you fill a tier of a bento box with dried fruit instead of fresh you’ll be getting much more calories and sugar than could be wise.  For my husband, I often use dried fruit as filler since it is so dense and he needs meals that are higher in calories.  For my meals, I try to include more fresh fruit and just a little dried since I don’t need the calories.

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