Bento Boxes The Perfect Lunch Box – Building Bentos

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Meal times at home can be chaotic. In what seems to you like a whirlwind of noise and movement food is prepared and then bolted down before the calm descends once again. Away from home there’s another problem. More often than not lunch times are cut short both a work and at school. Poor planning means that food choices are often less than healthy too. But there is a solution, and it is inspired by a Japanese tradition. When it comes to health, diet and food, there is a lot that can be learned from Japan. Luckily the solution has now made it westward, and it is surprisingly simple. It is the humble, yet wonderful Bento box.

Here we examine what makes Bento boxes the perfect lunch box and moreover how to make your own Bento box tasty, healthy and exciting (remember when food was last exciting!). We’ll examine building Bentos and what you should consider putting in your own. So if you’re fed up with limp sandwiches or are concerned about the temptations of unhealthy food at lunch, then read on. It isn’t too late to change.

What Is Bento

Before you think about what goes into a Bento box, here’s a little guide to the Bento box itself. Food is first enjoyed through the eyes, so if something is colourful and beautifully presented, it will be much more likely to excite the taste buds. Bento boxes are just that, they are colourful, individual and creative and can even be personalised – meaning that children for example get a sense of ownership and responsibility. But they are not just for the kids.

Each box is split into 5 or 6 compartments which keeps the elements of each meal separate. The compartments are not uniform in size, and so you can restrict portions of the less healthy elements of a lunch in the smaller sections. Larger sections are often used for the staples of a meal, say pasta or rice, while vegetables can fill another section. Any pudding can also be stored and the Bento box will keep things fresh and separate – you will not open the box to find one mess of all elements. Because it is washable and reusable, it is environmentally friendly, which is an important feature in today’s World.

The idea behind a Bento box is to offer fun whilst ensuring healthy and balanced meals. How you use it and with what you fill it is entirely up to you – the options are endless! It is often said that even creating a Bento box can be an almost zen like experience and gives you back that relationship with food that has so sadly been lost in the modern world.

Some Ideas

You’ll learn through using the Bento box just how to create fun, engaging and wholesome meals for whoever is lucky enough to be taking the box with them. However, when you first start using the Bento it may feel a little alien. So here are some basic ideas to get you started.

  • Healthy Snacks

The boxes of course do not have to be used by children, but whoever is using it will enjoy a selection of healthy snacks. You can use one of the compartments for a dip, such as hummus, and arrange within the other compartments a rainbow of colourful crudités as dippers. For desert you can have an assortment of fruit. You’ll be ticking many boxes using this Bento, and you won’t be finding blueberries in your hummus either!

  • Mediterranean

Get a taste of the Med’ through a combination of foods in your Bento. Think of flat breads for your carbohydrates; a feta salad of tomato and cucumber; and some grilled chicken breast for your protein source. As a desert, something as simple as some grapes will be well received.

  • Salmon Salad

You should all be eating a little more fish, and this Bento can help you achieve this goal. Think of tinned salmon, mixed with lemon juice olives and capers; served with a watercress salad and some whole grain salads. Complement the meal with some fresh fruit for desert and the box is complete!

It’s easy to see what makes Bento boxes the perfect lunch box. They are easy to use, versatile and offer you the chance to introduce new and exciting foods to your diet or the diet of those that you care about. From the moment you see the box, even before it is opened, and all throughout the meal, the Bento presents food in a simple yet effective way. It preserves and protects the food too. Put simply it’s time that you starting packing a Bento!

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