Ode to the Bento Box

!! I love Bento Boxes!!  And in particular, MY bento box, gifted to me by a dear friend. But I think I like it beyond reasons the average bento box user might.  I suspect she might like it because it’s compact.  True enough, it fits places, and keeps food secure.  She might also like it because it’s convenient.  No longer are the tupperware wars in the morning trying to pull together a last minute lunch for work.  Maybe her favorite part is that it’s cute!  I mean really, all the little compartments?  Love them.  I agree with you, average bento box user, but I have reasons of my foodie own. 

First of all, using a bento box nearly guarantees that you are going to do something healthy.  You are going to pack into it something colorful, and with all those sections (all those cute sections), there are going to be some veggies.  Now, truth be told, I gave in to this now favorite feature of mine a bit begrudgingly.  My bento box has FIVE sections.  I thought I was going to take a short cut a couple days ago and utilize only three sections, but bento box had other plans.  It won’t close properly unless you use ALL the sections!  Imagine me, 10 minutes late for work staring  at my bento box, trying to perform a feat of amazing engineering–being the first woman in history to take 3 of her 5 sections to work that day.  It didn’t happen.  We fought.  It won.  I was late, and threw everything in a tupperware.  I hate when my food and/or inanimate objects win battles over me.  And in fact, the only thing I hate more, is when they win AND I realize they should’ve.  My revelation was as follows:  Me?!  Creator of all things imaginative and yummy could not figure out how to fill a 5 section bento box.  And had the nerve to be pissed about it.  So the next day, I promised myself that I would do better!  And I did. The result?  a lovely and delicious multi-colored food assortment of grains, spinach, carrots, raw zucchini hummus (which doesn’t leak out of it’s section because I followed the bento box design…sigh), avocado slices, cucumber, tomato.  Delicious!  Rolled it up into a coconut meat wrapper and had a a fun bento box lunch!  I loved pulling apart the sections, remembering what I had packed.

Second of all, from a Nutritional consultant point of view, bento boxes will help you manage your weight!  Well, not so fast.  Let me re-phrase that.  Bento boxes CAN help one manage their weight, when used properly.  And to use them properly you go according to the healthy eating pyramid (NOT FDA one, but the other one), and fill the sections, largest to smallest accordingly.  Now this theory assumes that A, you have the bento box with the different sized sections vs. the equal sized tier, and B, you’re stocked up!  So basically, you would fill the large section with the leafy greens, the couple medium sections–one with a whole grain, and the other with a complete protein source (i.e lentils), then the couple smaller sections with fats (i.e nuts and avocado), then finally add another colorful veggie for good balance and color ( I had beets today!).

And the best part?  WHen you’re ready to go, dump everything together into the leafy large section if it’s salad, or if it’s a wrap, have fun digging through each layer until you’re all filled up–make a salad out of the leftovers.  Oh, and while I’m at it–PORTION CONTROL!  Not only does the bento box help you eat healthy things, it helps you eat the right AMOUNT of healthy things!  If you’ve followed me at all, you know I don’t believe in being hungry, at all, ever.  The moment your body goes into hunger mode, is the moment you also start to store fat!  I digress.  So I also try not to be stuffed either.  I usually fail at the latter!  I am always full, and I never learn that age-old lesson–stop when you’re full.  I’m more of a “clean plate club” kind of girl, myself.  Waste not, want not, right?  Really the issue may be that I put too much food on my plate at once!  Or in this case, too much in my tupperwares!  But leave it to bento box to control all that.  Afterall, can only fit so much brown rice before I am in another engineering emergency.

Jinji’s Zucchini Hummus

  • 1 zucchini, peeled, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 2 T H2O
  • Herbs, cilantro is great
  • A bunch of turmeric
  • A little nutritional yeast
  • A couple squirts of bragg’s amino acids

Blend it all up, and pack in a section!! ENJOY!!

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4 thoughts on “Ode to the Bento Box

  1. Somer says:

    MMMmmm! I would have never thought of that!!!

    • jinji says:

      Somer! Yes! Bento boxes open up a world of opportunity! I mean you can’t go walking around with empty bento sections ;). And doing creative spreads and sauces are a fantastically delicious use of space! Thanks for reading!

      • Somer says:

        Always love your posts! I need to get my own bento box going on, except I’m almost always at home. Maybe I just need to get one for my 8 year old for school lunches so I can live vicariously through her. 😉

      • jinji says:

        Exactly! It’s the 21st century DIY lunchable 🙂

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