Bentos, the home-packed meals that Japanese prepare everyday for their spouses, children or themselves, have become very trendy worldwide. And, as I have confirmed since I began preparing mine, their global popularity is not unfounded. Here are six reasons why bentos could be good for you:
Bentos are healthy: As you prepare them regularly, you can be sure you are eating the freshest meals, without additives or chemicals.
Bentos are balanced: Bentos consist traditionally of rice, fish or meat, and pickled, raw or cooked vegetables. Just add a fruit as dessert and you will be eating all the food groups as advised by doctors.
Bentos can help you lose weight: Bentos are packed in boxes with several portioned compartments that will avoid you filling them with too much food. There are a wide range of box sizes. If you need to loose some weight (like I do) just pick the bento box, using this rule of thumb: 1 cubic milliliter equals 1 calorie. If your goal is a 1,800-calorie-diet, get a bento box of 600 milliliters, where you can eat your three daily meals.
Bentos are nice: The variety of bento boxes is virtually endless. There are different shapes, styles, colors, materials and themes. There are boxes with flowers (kimono bento boxes) for women, with samurai themes for men and with animal shapes for children. Some people have even bento boxes collections.
Bentos are zen: For some people, preparing a bento requires the level of concentration and dedication needed to shape a bonsai. Some decorate their bentos like manga or anime characters, or with seasonal designs like leaves or flowers. Preparing a bento can be a peaceful experience.
Bentos are tasty: You can use your favorite spices when preparing your bentos. Use less salt and more pepper, chili, cinnamon, cumin or curry. Try new and exotic spices like furikake (a Japanese topping for rice), ajipon (lemon seasoned soy sauce) or teriyaki sauce.
Bentos are economical: Bentos are not only healthier than food in restaurants, they are cheaper. As you eat less, it costs you less.
You can find a lot of websites dedicated to bentos: I found my favorite recipes and the addresses of Japanese supermarkets online. I also bought my bento boxes online.
Give bentos – and your health – a chance. You won’t regret it!