If you’re looking to make lunchtime healthier but still fun, take note from one traveler and food artist who turned to Disney for mealtime inspiration.
Mike Kravanis says he was always a fan of Mickey Mouse but it wasn’t until a 2012 trip to Asia that he started thinking about mixing his love for the cartoon with a desire to eat healthier.
“While traveling there [to Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disney] we ate lots of very unique creative cute food and lots of fresh food,” Kravanis told FoxNews.com
After these trips he rediscovered a love for all things Disney, especially the characters, and an admiration for a different way of eating.
“I purchased a bento box in an effort to start taking my lunch to work because I had a horrible habit of either not eating lunch at all or eating something out of a vending machine. Bento boxes are a great way to portion your food as well because it's a small container.”
Now Kravanis sees the bento boxes not only as a satisfying meal but a creative outlet as well. He documents his food forays on his Facebook and Instagram OMGiri pages. In addition to Disney, the food sculptor has also made characters from the 'Muppets' franchise, 'Winnie the Pooh' and traditional anime.
So what does it take to make an appetizing Ariel or delicious Donald Duck?
Each project can take up to an hour to create. He starts out using traditional Japanese onigiri rice which is easier to mold and color. Instead of raw fish, he stuffs the sculpted rice balls with tuna salad or makes it interesting with leftovers like curry.
“Once I finish the base sculpt, I decorate the art with ham, cheese, and nori (roasted seaweed). Nothing has to be wasted, I eat the parts I don't use as a snack. Or I use them and add them to an omelette for breakfast or for a stir fry in the evening.”
Since the food artist loves crunchy things, adding lots of veggies is never a problem. They also add a lot of color to his designs. But he admits that just because something is “cute,” doesn’t make it healthy. That’s where creativity comes in handy.
“For some people eating something cute would help them eat more nutritious food. It makes food fun and makes me look forward to lunch,” Kravanis says. “Even doing something as simple as cutting shapes with cookie cutters could help to get a kid interested in eating more vegetables.”