Japanese Bento Boxes | The ‘bento box’ which has its origins in Japan is more or less familiar to everyone around the world. However, it is only the few who will know in depth about it as to why it is being used or how it is to be used and the benefits obtained from its use.
In Japan, the bento box is a part of the daily ritual of every homemaker and there are different varieties in it to suit the needs and requirements of all. Every convenience store in Japan offers a wide array of bento box options and there are several restaurants too having fancy and elaborate bento box lunches on their menu lists. However, it is more likely that people eat a homemade bento for lunch at their workplace.
The concept of bento box has been around in the country of Japan for hundreds of years. The literal meaning of the word bento is ‘convenient’. The reason behind the meaning is that the bento offers an easy mode of eating lunch that is nicely packed on the go or in the office. However, the packing of the bento box is a skill that takes time to master. But once you are adept at it there can be nothing better than eating lunch out of a bento which contains food that is healthy, colorful and portion controlled. A traditional bento has a combination of food categories packed into it comprising rice, meat, eggs, fish, veggies, pickled foods and pieces of fruit. Today’s Japanese Bento Boxes have added more choices but the essence remains the same which is packing varied food preparations that are nutritious and include all food constituents.
Earlier the preparation of the bento box used to be a ritual for the homemaker who used to pack it putting a great deal of thought, love and care. The convenience store or any supermarket in Japan today which has an entire segment dedicated to the bento box is providing an alternative. The bento boxes stocked at these outlets are prepared for the day and have fresh food stuff packed into it. You can buy these for your lunchtime or even take them home for the night. Most often, the stores offer the bento boxes at ridiculously low prices at the end of the day as otherwise the food therein will have to be disposed off in the morning. Buying them at heavily discounted prices can prove to be a good deal.
The main advantage of these meals over the ready to eat meals in other regions of the world is that the bento box meals are normally healthy. Top quality ingredients coupled with comprehensive food groups makes them very nutritious and are an excellent lunch option for all especially those seeking to lose weight. The contents include fresh fish, cooked rice or variations of rice, lean meat and fresh fruit and veggies as against calorie rich foods and cheesy pasta items normally found in the western countries.
The wide array of sizes, materials and shapes available with regard to bento boxes has made them a highly popular option for enjoying lunch times. Let’s hope that more and more of today’s generation resort to this mode of lunch.