bento or bento box: a thin box, made of plastic or lacquered wood, divided into compartments which contain small separate dishes comprising a Japanese meal, esp lunch.
I have to be honest, I first saw the bento box concept when I was reading up on nutritious meals for my toddler. I immediately fell in love with the idea of packing a homemade, fresh and healthy lunch into a neatly compartmentalized, portable box. Since then, I’ve seen bento boxes in the pages of Pottery Barn Kids and on Pinterest, and I still love the concept for children AND also adults!
Bento boxes are ideal for kids’ school lunches, but I think plenty of adults can really improve upon the nutrition in their mid-day meal with a bento box or bento box-style lunch. A bento box definitely has its’ health advantages. It encourages you to pack a homemade lunch versus going out to eat or ordering take-out, which will definitely save you hidden calories and fat grams. Bento boxes are perfectly pre-portioned as well. You can use each compartment to pack your favorite foods in sensible portion sizes. It promotes balance in the diet too. Bento boxes are a new way to get in more fruits and veggies into your day-make it your goal to make your bento box as coloful as possible!
It’s a portable option, just like an “adult lunch box”, and can easily travel with you during your commute to work. If you work in the home or are retired, you can still use the bento box-style meal as a template for creative lunches by having small portions of your favorite foods.
Just be sure to have some fresh foods and ingredients on hand when you pack your bento-box lunch for yourself or your kids. Some of the foods below would be excellent additions to your bento box:
- Sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, baby carrots, snowpeas with low-fat dip
- Small cubes of low-fat cheese or low-fat cottage cheese
- Whole-grain, low sodium crackers or crispbreads
- Salad greens with light dressing
- Brown rice, Quinoa, Couscous, Whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce
- Sandwich or wrap filled with lean fish, chicken, or turkey or grilled vegetables
- Walnuts or Almonds
- Guacamole or hummus dip
- Greek yogurt
- Red grapes, orange sections, apple slices
- Natural peanut or other nut butter
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