ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bento Lunches

Updated on July 26, 2007

A little over a year ago I discovered bento lunches and marvelled over how people were making the most humble foods look absolutely amazing just by using a little creativity. For a long time I was a silent observer (or, really, an admirer). It wasn't until earlier this year when I started to make my own bento lunches.

First of all, you might be wondering what, exactly, a bento lunch is? At a very basic level, it is a traditional Japanese boxed lunch. There are rules for packing traditional lunches, but with the rising popularity of these beautiful displays of food, the rules can sometimes be bent.

One basic principal that I try to pay attention to, however, is the concept of goshiki (five colors). This means that the person preparing the lunch should try to include one dish from each color group. We know that we should vary the colors of our food in order to obtain optimal nutrition, and when it's displayed in a bento box, you can easily see what you're missing. Another thing I love about bentos is that you can pack small bites of several different things so your lunch stays interesting while you eat it.

Meal Ideas

Here are some of my favorite things to pack:

  • Different kinds of raw fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, seedless grapes, chopped kiwi, etc. or any mixture thereof. (If you're slicing up apples or pears, soak them in lemon or lime juice prior to packing to prevent browning.)
  • String cheese or Laughing Cow wedges and whole-grain crackers
  • Cut up raw veggies like carrots, different colored peppers, celery, zucchini, and radishes with a small container of dressing for dipping
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Rolled-up deli meats or bite-sized chunks of leftover chicken, pork, or steak
  • Pasta salads
  • Muffins (and not just fruit muffins -- savory muffins are delicious as well)
  • Green salads made with baby spinach or spring mix, nuts, dried fruit, and a little cheese
  • Bagel with cream cheese
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Bean salad
  • Any kind of leftovers

Really, the only limit is your imagination! There are also several bento photo groups on Flickr to help inspire you.

Bento Boxes

There are a variety of bento boxes for sale in Japanese import shops and on sites such as E-Bay. Some of the more traditional boxes can be hard to find unless you live in an area with a large Japanese population, so you might find that online sources have the best selection.

However, there are many containers that you can find right in the aisles of your favorite store that are suitable. Companies such as Lock & Lock, and Fit & Fresh makes divided containers that are perfect! Tupperware also has a few containers such as their Lunch 'n Things (pictured above) and Crystal Wave divided dishes that work well. I have even repurposed take-out containers to use for bento lunches -- this is a great option if you are going somewhere and would like to use something a bit more disposable.

One other great thing about bento boxes, though, is that by using one you're not using plastic bags, foils, or other wraps. It really is an environmentally conscious choice!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      gulam safdar43 

      7 years ago

      Easy to read, well done. I think these Bento boxes are a great idea!

      Easy to read, well done. I think these Bento boxes are a great idea!

    • profile image

      madellen 

      10 years ago

      Easy to read, well done. I think these Bento boxes are a great idea!

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 

      11 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      awesome! I am about to begin doing these for my husband's lunch...yikes! But you make it seem simple enough. :)

    • profile image

      Biggie @ Lunch in a Box 

      11 years ago

      Thanks for the great feedback on the containers, Carol. I won't list that second container on my site, then. Cheers!

    • Veronica profile image

      Veronica 

      11 years ago from NY

      I'm new to the world of Bento. Thanks for your articles and pics. I'm having a lot of fun experimenting. I think for anyone on any kind of portion controlled diet like Weight Watchers, bento is the way to go.

    • Carol Bancroft profile imageAUTHOR

      Carol Bancroft 

      11 years ago

      My husband LOVES the Lunch 'n Things container, but he is happy eating pretty much anything cold or at room temperature. I am a little pickier about temps, so the only drag is that you can't heat up just a portion of your meal. It's also quite long and doesn't fit in many of my bags. Other than those negatives, I am pretty happy with it. The dividers go all the way to the top and so far neither DH or I have had any spillovers into the next compartment. As for the other container, I liked it, but it's made of really cheap plastic and did not stand up to more than a few washings (and I handwash my dishes). The "seams" (can't think of the right word here -- the connections maybe?) cracked pretty easily. A friend also had this container and it warped/melted in the dishwasher. I wouldn't reccomend it.

    • profile image

      Biggie @ Lunch in a Box 

      11 years ago

      Thanks for the shout out on my speed bento blog, Lunch in a Box! Quick question -- how do you like the Tupperware Lunch 'n Things container and the other sandwich container? I've been looking at them but haven't actually held one to inspect. What do you think?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)