I was initially inspired by the lovely ladies over at Bento Lunches (and they continue to do so). Bento is commonly associated with Japanese cuisine but it is essentially a takeout (from a restaurant or convenience shop) or home-packed meal. It does not have to be ‘cute’ (although aesthetics such as colour and different ways of cutting and presenting food are important in traditional bento) or consist of ‘Japanese food’ like rice, sushi, noodles or onigiri. Sandwiches and salads in a box are bento too!
Here are some of the reasons why I do it:
1. Balanced and healthy meals
Traditional guidelines for packing bento results in healthy lunches in good portions and balanced meals. Packing food in advance means not overeating (or undereating/skipping meals!) and having a balanced meal packed avoids the canteen or cafeteria junk that one could end up with sometimes.
2. Saves money
Unlike in most parts of Asia where prepared food is readily and cheaply available, eating out in the UK (not just dining but even getting a sandwich from shops) can be expensive. The cost of buying lunches at work everyday really adds up! By using leftovers from dinners or buying a little bit more of food that I usually use in cooking, I can put together healthy and delicious lunches for me and the husband at much, much lower cost.
3. Reduce waste
As mentioned, leftovers are great for bento and avoids food going into the bin. Using reusable containers for lunches everyday also reduce the amount of waste generated by disposable packing when buying packed lunches from cafeterias or shops.
4. Makes for interesting lunches at work
It makes us look forward to lunch time. Andy’s colleagues are intrigued by what he might bring in for lunch everyday and they look forward to his lunches!
5. Old-fashion love
It’s a way for me to show my love and affection for the husband by putting in the thought and efforts to pack his lunch everyday and making sure that he has healthy and delicious meals. And love for myself too!
6. Another way to indulge my passion for food
As if I need another excuse ;)
Choosing a container for bento
Different types of bento boxes