I resolved to eat healthy, really healthy, after my bariatric surgery. Over time, I have found this easier to do in my home because my fridge and pantry are stocked only with healthy provisions – and I mean really healthy provisions.
Lunch at the office, on the other hand, is more challenging. I am faced either with getting up earlier in the morning to cook, chop, and pack a healthy lunch or wandering the cafeteria to find something healthy to eat. I am rarely successful at either task.
When repeated attempts to do something fail, it is time to change one’s approach. So, I came up with a new approach to packing my lunch that has worked quite well. Just two nights per week, I take a little time after dinner to make a few bento box lunches.
Meet the Bento Box Lunch
A bento box lunch is a compact, balanced, visually appealing meal packed in a pretty container with compartments. Traditionally, the bento is packed with Japanese food, but as it gains popularity in America the bento is packed with any healthy cuisine. So say good bye to your brown bagged sandwich, diet Coke, and Campbell’s Soup at Hand, and meet the bento.
Laptop Lunches Bento-ware is designed to help you pack nutritious lunches. Stylish, eco-friendly lunch boxes are reusable, recyclable, dishwasher safe, and contain no bisphenol A (BPA).
- Packed in reusable containers, bento boxes reduce waste from lunch such as plastic baggies and disposable containers.
- Save money you would have spent on cafeteria meals by bringing food from home; the savings makes up for the initial cost of the bento box container. Be sure to check out the size and interiors of a bento box before you part with your money.
How to Make a Bento Box Lunch
On Sunday night, just after dinner, I prepare two fresh bento box lunches and one more to freeze – usually Sunday dinner leftovers. I bring the fresh lunches to the office on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I pull the frozen bento from the freezer. Then on Wednesday night after dinner I make two fresh bento boxes for Thursday and Friday lunches. It takes only 20-min on these two nights per week to make delicious healthy lunches for my entire work week.
- Portion control is easy if you follow the “pouch rules” rule of thumb: 2 parts protein and 1 part each fruits and vegetables -- no grains, sweets, junk foods or processed foods.
- Put food of contrasting shapes and colors next to each other in an artistic arrangement to make you food visually satisfying.
- Pack it compactly with little gap fillers like grape tomatoes or almonds to stabilize the lunch for transport. Use edible separators such as lettuce or cucumber slices to keep everything in its place.
- Pack plenty of water to drink instead of consuming carbonated beverages.
When you are packing the lunch, ask yourself:
- Is the lunch nutritionally balanced?
- Do the textures and tastes work well together?
- Is the lunch colorful and attractive?
Some ideas for bento box lunches: