Lunch on-the-go can be brought with you in a bento box. For vivacious meals and balanced nutrition that are absolutely convenient for work or school-with a variety of nutritious ingredients. The best part? Frequently, there is no need to heat them. The only thing left to do is dig in and enjoy.
It’s the time of year when we have busy schedules and the desire for quick but filling meals. While meal prep suggestions are a way to address this issue, it’s wonderful to present a fresh approach that will make packing a nutritious lunch simple: bento boxes.
This Japanese custom makes it simple to plan enjoyable and wholesome meals. Additionally, as bentos are typically consumed chilled or at room temperature, a significant amount of cooking time is saved. Let’s start preparing!
What’s in a Bento Box?
Once you know what kinds of ingredients to add, creating a good bento box lunch is pretty easy. Here are some important pointers on meal planning and how to maximize the space in your box compartments.
Maintain a balanced diet. The objective is to provide a nutritious, well-balanced lunch. So eat a lot of protein and a variety of vegetables with moderate fruit and carbohydrate intake.
Consider portable meals. The food in bento boxes is already portioned, and you frequently don’t need to heat anything up – making them super convenient. Sushi, wraps, sandwiches, and nutritious salads can all be served as main dishes. While snacks can be energy balls, dips, freshly chopped veggies, nuts, and seeds, as well as many kinds of fruits.
Keep up your presentation. The way cuisine is presented in Japanese culture is a reflection of how it tastes. Because of this, bento boxes have several little compartments. Keeping your meal in order prevents the various components from blending together. Use your imagination with colors and textures to keep your presentation on topic! This is easily accomplished by packing extra healthy greens in your sandwich or adding colored fruits to one compartment.
What to Pack in Your Bento Box
The most intriguing aspect about bento meals may be that, although being quick and simple, they promote a completely balanced diet. In general, Japanese food provides all the ingredients needed to keep that balance, including lean proteins, carbs like rice, and even vegetarian and vegan options.
Bentos are loved by all ages, from kindergarteners to professionals, thus a bento shop must offer a variety of options because everyone has distinct tastes and preferences. These bentos are packaged in clear boxes so that the purchaser can see what is inside from the outside. You will be tempted to try one right away by their eye-catching colors! They frequently provide a wide range of options with different proteins and veggies can be added to the rice base to provide a stunning box.
Depending on the ingredients, a bento usually contains few components that are virtually always included. These consist of the following ingredients:
Since rice accounts for up to 50% of a bento lunch, it is the most crucial component. Onigiri, or rice balls, are perfect for a bento lunch box. There are numerous ways to prepare rice, as well as numerous types of rice, including:
- White Rice (hakumai)
- Brown rice (genmai)
- Rice with red beans (sekihan)
- Rice with seaweed (noriben)
There are numerous vegetable selections available for the bento. Carrots, edamame, peas, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, and squash are a few of the more popular veggies that pair nicely with practically every bento.
Eggs: Bento lunches frequently include eggs! For variety, eggs can be incorporated in a variety of ways. You can find several different egg dishes within a bento, including tamagoyaki, soft boiled eggs, and many others.
Meat: Meat may be used to make a variety of bentos, just like eggs can. Bentos can simply be made from any type of meat, including pork, beef, ham, and chicken.
Seafood: Because Japan is a country bordered by the ocean, you can eat a variety of seafood there. Any type of seafood will go well with the bento, but frequent examples include tuna, salmon, squid, anchovies, and shrimp.
Vegans can choose from a wide choice of foods in Japanese bentos. You can buy or make foods made from tofu, chickpeas, kidney beans, varied nuts, avocados, corn, etc., from stores or at home.
Sauces: One of the most popular sauces in bento meals is soy sauce. Barbecue sauce, along with other sauces like teriyaki, can be used to add variety and provide various flavors.
Oils: Various types of oil may be used in this situation based on the availability and your preferences. Olive oil is both incredibly practical and healthy. However, other oils can also be used in various meals, such as sunflower and canola oil. One of the oils used most frequently in bentos is sesame oil.
Nori: Nori is a type of edible seaweed. It is frequently included in many kinds of onigiri. However, nori is not just used in onigiri; it is also used in bentos and often used as a wrap for sushi.
Bento Boxes For All
Both adults and children can appreciate bento boxes, although picky eaters benefit most from bento. For their kids, many Japanese parents make kawaii kyaraben, rice balls shaped like creatures or cartoon characters. Parents and kids may work together on projects like these to turn them into family outings. Cartoon character skewers and adorable lunch boxes can motivate your kids to eat more.
The nicest thing about bento boxes is that you can really let your creativity run wild to create a well-rounded, one-of-a-kind lunch that meets your needs and promotes healthy living!