Bento boxes are essentially a Japanese creation, and when it comes to diet and health, there are many things that the Japanese culture can teach the Western World. It is no surprise therefore that bento boxes for lunchtime food are becoming more and more popular amongst adults and children alike. The boxes are compartmentalised, keeping food separate without any additional and excessive packaging. They, therefore, tick the environmental box too!
Here we look in more detail at Bento boxes and why it may be time, if you haven’t already done so, to introduce them to both your children’s and your own lunch routines. Not only can these wonderful boxes be personalised, stylised and individualised, but they can also, more perhaps most importantly, promote good health. So if you want to be the envy of the work or school dining room, read on for advic
The Bento has been used for centuries in Japan as a means of carrying delicious, nutritious and appealing food on the go. That you can make healthy food look good is a plus in itself and means that it is more likely to be acceptable to your children and yourself. But the first benefit is that it can happily be taken with you, and used on the move without the risk of ruining or mixing up the contents.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to preparing meals is the issue of portion control. You are far more likely to give someone too much rather than too little, and so increase their calorie intake which will impact on their weight and general health. The Bento has four or five compartments of varying shapes and sizes which will help control portion sizes and promote a healthier meal.
The compartments will each hold an element of a course or a course in itself – be it rice, meat, vegetables or a dessert etc. The presentation can be protected and the food kept separate from all of the other elements.
Because there is portion control, it will also help you control the calories that are packed into the box. Of course, you will have to be aware that some food types will be more calorific than others, but in recognition of this, you can use the smaller compartments for the less nutritious elements. Food awareness will still be needed, but the Bento can help with the meal planning.
The Bento promotes creativity too. You’ll be faced with different compartments to fill, and therefore will be challenged to be creative, if not a little artistic too. Bento boxes may not be something to simply throw together, but the thought involved will help you educate yourself and others on the values attached to different food types/sources.
Because weight loss requires a calorie deficit, i.e. eating fewer calories than you burn through exercise/everyday activities, Bento boxes alone will not make you lose weight. But when it comes to weight loss, it is far easier to eat fewer calories every day than it is to burn extra ones – if you don’t believe this try cutting down 500 calories a day or going to the gym to burn an extra 500 calories and then reconsider! Diet is key to weight loss when combined with a healthy lifestyle, and Bento can help you manage what you eat more easily.
Once you have dropped the weight that you desire, it will be far easier to maintain your new weight using tools such as the Bento box, simply because it will help you take control of your daily calorie consumption.
When it comes to eating better it is clear therefore that using bento boxes for lunch time food is a great place to start. They present your food in a nice way, making it more enjoyable to eat – and food, after all, is to be enjoyed. It also allows you to control the actual food types and portions of what is to be eaten. Any gaps can be filled with healthy alternatives and having to plan a meal is always healthier than picking up food on the go. Bento boxes help you engage more with food and as a result, make better choices.
Given that there are so many benefits to Bento boxes, and given moreover that they can offer a diverse and satisfying healthy meal, whilst looking great and being functional, there is really no better alternative. The only question is, which style will you pick?