Tired of biting into a sandwich that you haphazardly made the night before? Do you normally spend £5 a day on your lunch leading to you losing out on £1,300 a year? The solution is the Bento Box, which simply means food served in a box in Japanese. However you may be thinking that this sounds very similar to something which we Londoners call a lunch-box. It is here that you are mistaken as these carefully crafted boxes are more of an art form. From panda shaped rice cakes to rice with imprinted album covers. Bento Boxes can be customised to everyone’s tastes whoever you are.
The Bento boxes are a large part of Japanese culture; they date back to around the fifth century in which Japanese people going out to war or to farm would take food with them. A typical Bento contains rice, meat and vegetables.
However many Bento’s are Westernised as opposed to the traditional food they once carried. The trend is quickly spreading across the world becoming a particular hit in the US. With Londoners keen to save money and be healthier leading up to the Christmas season this could be the perfect lunchtime alternative. Like their contents the type of Bento Boxes you can get suit everyone from the affluent businessman, the student needing a hangover cure or the toddler that wants to see their favourite characters.
A quirky Japanese site called Jacket lunch blog has an amazing selection of album covers that have been made into Bento Boxes. These focus mainly on rock albums but with a bit of artistic flair you can really create anything.
The best way to start is to find the perfect size Bento for you, you can do this by visiting lunchinabox.net, which tells you exactly what size you’ll need and stops you accidently buying one that should be for an eight-year-old. Secondly, to make a healthy style Bento it should contain three parts carbohydrate, two parts vegetables and one part protein. However, you can change this by adding in what you like to eat.
I would suggest getting a few baking materials such as cake cases and biscuit cutters to make your food more interesting. Other great props to use are natural food colourings and straws, which can be great for making characters. If you want some inspiration Justbento.com is a great website which is filled with ideas for healthy Bentos or you can also buy their book which is a small investment at £12.59 for a years worth of savings.
If you want to use your creative talent and eat healthily you can do it in one big hit by merging the two together and creating your own uniquely styled Bento Box. It will make you richer and will also make you healthier and the best part is you won’t have to open your lunch and be disappointed by boring, soggy sandwiches.
By Emma Edmonds