As the new year arrives, you and many others around the world are likely reevaluating some of your life goals—such as eating healthy and staying in shape. The good news is that bento boxes provide a convenient option not only to make the right choices for your health and well-being, but they are also a simple choice that is easy to transport and lets you exercise some creativity with every meal. New year, new me, right? Give a bento box a try by keeping the following “recipe” in mind as you craft the perfect meal.
Step 1: Keep Protein in Focus
For those who are just starting out with new bento box ideas, it can feel tough to choose foods that fit seamlessly into your container. One of the easiest choices for a bento box is cereals and grains, whether that means breads, cookies, pastries and more. While these options are a fun choice, remember that keeping protein at the center of your meal can benefit your body, give you energy and help you to define a more structured theme and balance for your bento.
While lunch meats are perhaps the easiest way to achieve this, do not discredit homemade options (like pulled chicken or the leftovers of your Christmas ham) as well as non-standard protein options like hummus.
Step 2: Diversify Your Color Palette
Once you have decided on your protein, you can select the fruits and veggies that would go best with it. As you think about this step, remember that part of the appeal of a bento box is that it is aesthetically beautiful—and that means that you should keep the various natural colors of your foods in mind. If you’re aiming for darker colors to complement your meal, think grapes, eggplant, red onions, pomegranate and dark lettuce.
For lighter and brighter colors, squash, bell peppers, carrots, pears and raspberries are all good choices. Foods maintain different natural colors as a result of their chemical composition, and so eating a wide variety of colors will help you to meet all of your nutritional needs while beautifying your box.
Step 3: Make Smart Swaps for Fiber and Vitamins
Fiber is an underappreciated part of your diet that can really boost your ability to absorb nutrients and manage calories. Fiber helps to keep you full, and your intestines need fiber to function at their best. In order to get the fiber you need, consider swapping some of your first instinct items in your box with choices that are just as delicious but boast a higher fiber content.
If you are going to use bread in your box, opt for a whole grain variant. Similarly, try beans or nuts instead of chips as a side with the focal point of your meal. And when it comes to getting your green colors in, try avocados and broccoli instead of standard (and mostly water) lettuce.
Step 4: Let Your Creativity Shine
One of the most important things about a bento box is that it offers the opportunity to show off your creativity. In this new year, keep your mind engaged and refreshed by letting your personality shine through in your bento box lunches. If you have never tried this before, it may take some practice—but that is what the new year, and the new you is about!
By allowing your creativity to run free, you open yourself up to more healthy food options and a meal that will revitalize you both physically and mentally when you come back to it later in the day.
Many bento boxes are crafted into fun shapes and themes, such as making a turkey out of your meal pieces (round bread, orange carrots for tail feathers) for Thanksgiving or crafting a Christmas tree with green leaves and cranberries for ornaments.
Your imagination is the only limit; if you do not want to use direct images in your food, try color or flavor themes based on the seasons, upcoming holidays or important events. This will keep your food varied and your brain thinking.
Put Your Trust in Safe, Ethically Sourced Bento Boxes
One of the most important but often understated parts of a healthy mealtime is the container that you eat from. Many people choose to use standard plastic boxes for storing their food, but the plastic material can leach PVC and other harmful chemicals into the food.
At Kangovou, we stand behind our stainless steel products that are free from BPA, lead, phthalates, melamine and PVC to keep you healthy and safe as you enjoy your meals. Take a closer look at the bento boxes that we have to offer as you get ready to embark on your New Year’s journey.