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My new secret weapon is a bento box.

In Tokyo when Terry and I were on our honeymoon, bento boxes were everywhere.  Restaurants served your dinner in them.  And people used them at home for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

I loved this idea when I first saw it and I especially love it today now that my daughter, Charlie, is in school.  Her lunches are easier to pack and they’re fun to make.  I also see her eating more when she has more choices.

The idea behind a bento is simple – small portions of three to five different foods, creatively arranged to create a meal.  And like the Japanese, I sometimes cut Charlie’s cantaloupe into stars, her watermelon into flowers and her cheese into penguins.

Bento boxes themselves and the little cookie cutter accessories you need to make shapes out of food are gaining popularity.  Charlie’s not the only kid in her school who brings a bento for lunch.  But she is the only one in her class.

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And here’s something else…

You can make travel money off this idea too.

I did a quick search on the megasites profiled in our Importing Fortunes program and found over 2,000 bento box-related items ready to import direct from their manufacturer in Japan and other countries like the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and India.  All of these countries have their own variation of the bento box.  And all have something to sell at a third the price you’ll find on Amazon.

And what’s great is that Amazon will do all the hard work of selling your item, listing it, charging credit cards and fulfilling it after you’ve imported it.

All you’d have to do is identify which items will sell best, find the right manufacturer and arrange shipment – all things we walk you through doing in our program.  It’s as easy as ordering a bathing suit or a new sheet set for your bed online when you follow the advice in our Importing Fortunes program about avoiding scams and products that won’t make a profit.

These are my favorite cutters…

This is my favorite bread and cheese cutter…

These are my favorite boxes…

  • For the extreme bento boxer – this box is perfect for traveling. (It has never leaked on me.)  I love it despite its hefty price tag.
  • For the beginner, I recommend starting with disposable boxes. You can likely find them at your local grocer for much less than they’re being sold for here.
  • For cuteness, I like this one. But it’s really small (only big enough for, say, a few pita slices and some hummus, not a full sandwich). The leakproof lid is difficult for small children to remove by themselves – and as soon as you take the strap off, the lid comes off. So whatever you put in the top should be something that can be easily caught (like carrot or celery sticks).

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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