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Using Bento Boxes for lunches.

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  • KabitiKabiti Member Posts: 210 Member Member Posts: 210 Member
    adamitri wrote: »
    Kabiti wrote: »
    These are awesome!! It looks like so much work? How do you cut down on prep time?

    It's not that bad if you do it when you make dinner. I do it all in one go when I make bento and don't mind eating the same thing the next day.

    I feel like I'd want to go all out and make them pretty enough... Otherwise anything I make the night before goes into a glass lock-n-lock container. I'm not too picky about foods touching :wink:

    My salads just go into a zip lock. Shaking dressing on is very effective!

    ..... yet now I'm here drooling over the Laptop Lunches stuff on Amazon. LOL
  • adamitriadamitri Member Posts: 614 Member Member Posts: 614 Member
    If you go on amazon the cutters are really cheap or if you're good with a knife you can cut them yourself. I cut them while I make dinner so they're pretty and I use the little cupcake inserts to separate some stuff. I do this as I cook dinner to make it nice. It cuts down on time to cook all at once.
    edited January 2015
  • kellycasey5kellycasey5 Member Posts: 486 Member Member Posts: 486 Member
    I think bentos are adorable, but you'd have to pry my microwavable vented soup mug from my cold, dead hands. Hot soups get me through the winter.

    ^^THIS^^ Someone at work "borrowed" my big red soup mug while I was still on shift and it has not wandered back. Time to hit Wally land and bring a new one home!
  • btsinmdbtsinmd Member Posts: 1,048 Member Member Posts: 1,048 Member
    I like the idea of Bento and bought one, but find that I'm more likely to use other containers. I don't really appreciate a variety of things for lunch. Plus, I generally eat more than just lunch away from home. I'd rather just have fewer and larger than what Bento provides.

    I have four of the Rubbermaid lunch blox collection (various ones) and two of the lock and lock lunch boxes, the medium one and the large one. I also have many of the Rubbermaid round storage containers. I currently have twenty containers of soup in my refrigerator and freezer after making a lot last Saturday. Each container has 16 oz of a broth based soup.

    In the morning I can grab two hard-boiled eggs which fit great in one of the lunch blox containers, a soup container, a large salad in one of the lock & lock containers, then I can get one of my yogurt creations (frozen or fresh fruit, 6-7 oz yogurt, 1/4 cup grapenuts cereal, and a tablespoon of chia seeds) in one of the smaller lock & locks. If I pack all this, plus a granola bar, I'm set for all of my meals and snacks for the day. And I have spent many many days gone from my house from dawn to dusk and relied on having it all.
  • KabitiKabiti Member Posts: 210 Member Member Posts: 210 Member
    ^ I was looking at the justbento.com site and they suggest using whatever boxes you can find. Bento specific ones are expensive (though certainly nice looking!)

    I love what she says about, at least with the 1:1:2 ratio (carbs, protein, veggies) the calories and container mL are about equal when packed. That would make aspects of recording pretty easy to do.
  • mangrothianmangrothian Member Posts: 1,351 Member Member Posts: 1,351 Member
    Thanks for all the links, they're all great! I would like to just reiterate though, that an actual "Bento box" isn't necessary, it's the practice of how the food is prepared, portioned and stored. Large or small, cutesy or practical, any box works. Laptop lunches, lunch blox, etc., are in a way, all a type of Bento.
    I think bentos are adorable, but you'd have to pry my microwavable vented soup mug from my cold, dead hands. Hot soups get me through the winter. Also, how does one eat high volume veggies with a bento box? I do a lot of meal prep, but I think I would find the bentos limiting. I use rubbermaid tupperware and ziplock bags, plus some pre-packaged items like granola bars.

    I instagram is covered with bento ideas. Check out #bento and #bentobox for ideas galore.

    I do have a thermos that I use in Winter for soup as well, but Winter is short here so it doesn't really get used a lot. I'm not sure how high you mean when it comes to volume veggies, but you can just use a bigger box tbh. I use such a small one because the volume of food I eat rather than the quality of food I eat is a big problem for me. Using a small, portion controlled box works for me in training my brain & stomach to understand that a small volume of food is enough. "Bento-ing" is more about how you store/transport and portion out your food, rather than the size of the box. When I'm having an empty day (yay Hunger Games reference!), I do have a 750mL and 1L tupperware that I use to up my veggie portions.
    When I go to the office, I use my bento (Zojirushi) depending on what I'm taking. I always take leftovers and find the multiple boxes make it easier to fit my macros with lots of small portions of different things, but for a huge salad, I just take a big plastic container. I make a bento lunch for DD every day, again with leftovers, so she has something warm.

    I did find that the suggested portions of starchy carbs etc were just too much food for me, but it does make life a lot easier.

    I find that the suggested starchy carb portions of a traditional bento are too much for me as well - half a meal of rice/potatoes/couscous isn't appetising. My usual serving if I have rice in a Bento is 120-140g cooked, and even then it can feel like too much.

    I did splurge and buy a Zojirushi set as well which has a little heated container and two other smaller portion containers. The quality of them is great, but I usually buy cheaper ones.
    Kabiti wrote: »
    These are awesome!! It looks like so much work? How do you cut down on prep time?

    Practice and Preparation! My main starchy carb is rice (potatoes and wheat don't sit too well with my stomach), which I cook in large batches, and freeze portions into ziplock bags for quick defrosting each night. I do the same thing for my protein, or reserve a small portion when cooking dinner. Veggies (the picture I posted is an exception) are usually just smaller cut portions that I prepare when doing that nights dinner. If I'm prepping a small amount of veggies just for my lunch, I've pretty much cut them up in the time it takes for the water in my saucepan to boil.
    We have a man in my town who makes bento lunches. We have gotten them before and they are always so amazing. I've always wanted to try to make them myself!

    *clicks link*

    Be careful with takeout Bentos - the sauces they use on the meat and dressings on the veggies aren't always exactly a healthy option, but boy they are tasty!
    lexidear wrote: »
    I love bento! I have a few random bento things I got from Daiso but I mostly just use regular containers. I love the style of eating though - a bit of everything, rahter than just 1 solid meal. Would love to see more of your photos!

    Daiso is the best for getting Bento boxes! All the boxes (not the water bottle) that I use are generally from there.
    Kabiti wrote: »
    ^ I was looking at the justbento.com site and they suggest using whatever boxes you can find. Bento specific ones are expensive (though certainly nice looking!)

    I love what she says about, at least with the 1:1:2 ratio (carbs, protein, veggies) the calories and container mL are about equal when packed. That would make aspects of recording pretty easy to do.

    Some Bento boxes are expensive (I generally can't justify the splurge), but if you have a Daiso store near you, the boxes are cheap and good quality. It's like a Japanese variety store; in the Australian ones, everything is $2.80. The blue set is one box, and the two square boxes are another set. Throw in a mini cutlery set and a small insulated bag, and my box set costs a whopping $11.20AU (so under 10USD). Honestly, most of the time my Bento is prepped in a click-lock box, with small portion things like cut fruit separated from everything else in a silicone muffin cup.

    It is easy to record as well - since i use the same proportions of foods regularly, logging for the day is usually a matter of ticking a few boxes in my recent foods category and that's it.
  • chesveschesves Member Posts: 224 Member Member Posts: 224 Member
    I'd never heard of this but love the idea! Pinterest has a lot of bento lunch ideas as well. Will be exploring the other links shared as well. Thank you!
  • ldrosophilaldrosophila Member, Premium Posts: 7,534 Member Member, Premium Posts: 7,534 Member
    how long does that take you to put together? OOPS nevermind see you answer.
    edited January 2015
  • SharonNehringSharonNehring Member Posts: 535 Member Member Posts: 535 Member
    I have a couple of Bento boxes for work as well. I generally take left overs, so it makes figuring out portions quite simple. Mine are never as pretty as yours is though. LOL Great topic!
  • lexidearlexidear Member Posts: 70 Member Member Posts: 70 Member
    Thanks for all the links, they're all great! I would like to just reiterate though, that an actual "Bento box" isn't necessary, it's the practice of how the food is prepared, portioned and stored. Large or small, cutesy or practical, any box works. Laptop lunches, lunch blox, etc., are in a way, all a type of Bento.
    I think bentos are adorable, but you'd have to pry my microwavable vented soup mug from my cold, dead hands. Hot soups get me through the winter. Also, how does one eat high volume veggies with a bento box? I do a lot of meal prep, but I think I would find the bentos limiting. I use rubbermaid tupperware and ziplock bags, plus some pre-packaged items like granola bars.

    I instagram is covered with bento ideas. Check out #bento and #bentobox for ideas galore.

    I do have a thermos that I use in Winter for soup as well, but Winter is short here so it doesn't really get used a lot. I'm not sure how high you mean when it comes to volume veggies, but you can just use a bigger box tbh. I use such a small one because the volume of food I eat rather than the quality of food I eat is a big problem for me. Using a small, portion controlled box works for me in training my brain & stomach to understand that a small volume of food is enough. "Bento-ing" is more about how you store/transport and portion out your food, rather than the size of the box. When I'm having an empty day (yay Hunger Games reference!), I do have a 750mL and 1L tupperware that I use to up my veggie portions.
    When I go to the office, I use my bento (Zojirushi) depending on what I'm taking. I always take leftovers and find the multiple boxes make it easier to fit my macros with lots of small portions of different things, but for a huge salad, I just take a big plastic container. I make a bento lunch for DD every day, again with leftovers, so she has something warm.

    I did find that the suggested portions of starchy carbs etc were just too much food for me, but it does make life a lot easier.

    I find that the suggested starchy carb portions of a traditional bento are too much for me as well - half a meal of rice/potatoes/couscous isn't appetising. My usual serving if I have rice in a Bento is 120-140g cooked, and even then it can feel like too much.

    I did splurge and buy a Zojirushi set as well which has a little heated container and two other smaller portion containers. The quality of them is great, but I usually buy cheaper ones.
    Kabiti wrote: »
    These are awesome!! It looks like so much work? How do you cut down on prep time?

    Practice and Preparation! My main starchy carb is rice (potatoes and wheat don't sit too well with my stomach), which I cook in large batches, and freeze portions into ziplock bags for quick defrosting each night. I do the same thing for my protein, or reserve a small portion when cooking dinner. Veggies (the picture I posted is an exception) are usually just smaller cut portions that I prepare when doing that nights dinner. If I'm prepping a small amount of veggies just for my lunch, I've pretty much cut them up in the time it takes for the water in my saucepan to boil.
    We have a man in my town who makes bento lunches. We have gotten them before and they are always so amazing. I've always wanted to try to make them myself!

    *clicks link*

    Be careful with takeout Bentos - the sauces they use on the meat and dressings on the veggies aren't always exactly a healthy option, but boy they are tasty!
    lexidear wrote: »
    I love bento! I have a few random bento things I got from Daiso but I mostly just use regular containers. I love the style of eating though - a bit of everything, rahter than just 1 solid meal. Would love to see more of your photos!

    Daiso is the best for getting Bento boxes! All the boxes (not the water bottle) that I use are generally from there.
    Kabiti wrote: »
    ^ I was looking at the justbento.com site and they suggest using whatever boxes you can find. Bento specific ones are expensive (though certainly nice looking!)

    I love what she says about, at least with the 1:1:2 ratio (carbs, protein, veggies) the calories and container mL are about equal when packed. That would make aspects of recording pretty easy to do.

    Some Bento boxes are expensive (I generally can't justify the splurge), but if you have a Daiso store near you, the boxes are cheap and good quality. It's like a Japanese variety store; in the Australian ones, everything is $2.80. The blue set is one box, and the two square boxes are another set. Throw in a mini cutlery set and a small insulated bag, and my box set costs a whopping $11.20AU (so under 10USD). Honestly, most of the time my Bento is prepped in a click-lock box, with small portion things like cut fruit separated from everything else in a silicone muffin cup.

    It is easy to record as well - since i use the same proportions of foods regularly, logging for the day is usually a matter of ticking a few boxes in my recent foods category and that's it.


    I love Daiso but there isn't one where I live - when I go on holdays to Melbourne I always make sure I stop past to check it out though :P
  • SpecialKitty7SpecialKitty7 Member Posts: 678 Member Member Posts: 678 Member
    oh man, don't have time to read now, but i've always been interested in bento. premade bento are pricey to buy and it seems like with a bit of practice they shouldn't take me so much time to make.
  • eniplaenipla Member Posts: 46 Member Member Posts: 46 Member
    I may have to look into these. I take my lunch in old plastic containers or baggies.
  • mangrothianmangrothian Member Posts: 1,351 Member Member Posts: 1,351 Member
    lexidear wrote: »
    I love Daiso but there isn't one where I live - when I go on holdays to Melbourne I always make sure I stop past to check it out though :P

    Well then fellow Aussie, I'm not sure where you're based, but if you'd like a slightly larger box, go to Officeworks. I was there not 30 minutes ago, and the "Brand called Ed" section (the one with all the bright coloured and sometimes rather odd looking stationary) had Bento boxes there for about $10. They also have a collapsible lunchbox thing which seemed kind of neat.
  • daisyvermadaisyverma Member Posts: 233 Member Member Posts: 233 Member
    I bought one from Walmart.. the EZ Freeze Collapsible Bento Box. I use it for my lunch and it motivates me to fill it with healthy stuff.

    I usually have the main lunch in the bottom collapsible area, and then I have one rectangular box and two small square ones...use it for nuts, fruit, condiments etc etc
  • chloeelizabethmchloeelizabethm Member Posts: 184 Member Member Posts: 184 Member
    I am also a fellow bento-er! Love how much you can have for the calories and how pretty it looks. A sort of newbie to the idea, but I love it! So far I have just been using the Just Bento cookbook (made the mini burgers and a couple of chicken stir-fry type dishes) but will definitely be looking at all those links.

    Mangrothian - your boxes look amazing, you can be my inspiration!
  • SarcasmIsMyLoveLanguageSarcasmIsMyLoveLanguage Member Posts: 2,688 Member Member Posts: 2,688 Member
    I use bentos for my son's lunch but never thought of doing it for myself. Great idea! Oh and I love Daiso!
  • mangrothianmangrothian Member Posts: 1,351 Member Member Posts: 1,351 Member
    I am also a fellow bento-er! Love how much you can have for the calories and how pretty it looks. A sort of newbie to the idea, but I love it! So far I have just been using the Just Bento cookbook (made the mini burgers and a couple of chicken stir-fry type dishes) but will definitely be looking at all those links.

    Mangrothian - your boxes look amazing, you can be my inspiration!

    If you like the mini burgers, try the stewed chicken dumplings (tsukune) and the red wine vinegar sweet & sour chicken. I'm not sure if they're in Maki's book, but they're on the website. Either way, they're great in the Bento boxes, and are easily freezable.

    I thought if people want more inspiration to make a bento-style lunch, I may start posting pictures of some of my lunches; some pretty, and some pretty lazy.

    I have a feeling that tomorrow may be a hangry day (yay hormones! yay 35C weather!), so I made a bigger breakfast/lunch than normal:

    2h4w2vo0io35.jpg

    This one equates to 915 calories total. It includes:
    - Babybel light cheese (20g)
    - Yellow peach
    Main box (500mL container)
    - 2 hard boiled eggs that have had a quick soak in a marinade (1 cup water, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 black tea bag)
    - 1.5 cups mixed blanched veggies
    - ricotta with ham and mustard
    - seaweed flakes to add pretty (I found some heart shaped ones ages ago, and have never been able to find them since!)
    Small blue container (120mL)
    - 100g mix of strawberries and blueberries (the rest of the container I promptly decided to spill all over the floor :( )
    Small green container (70mL)
    - 30g raspberries
    - 100g natural yoghurt
    2 Triangle containers
    - Onigiri (rice balls) flavoured with a seaweed rice seasoning and filled with a pickled plum)

    This lunch took longer since I had ran out of pre-cooked rice (5 mins prep, 20 mins dry, 1 hour soak and 25 mins cooking for about 10 servings) and needed to boil the eggs, but I prepped my salad and meat for dinner (and ice cream for dessert!) and promptly ate it whilst they were cooking. It also gave me a chance to dance around the kitchen to some tunes whilst I was cooking; I may be a horrible dancer, but my dogs don't judge. I guess my overall hands on time was about 25 minutes because of the rice. Everything you see fits into my wookie insulated bag behind it. The bag definitely isn't a Daiso purchase ^_^
  • KabitiKabiti Member Posts: 210 Member Member Posts: 210 Member
    I do have some egg molds on my wish list now... hmm... bunny shaped hard boiled eggs sounds like an *excellent* lunch (and my kids would like them).

    I aim for 4-600 calories for lunch right now... but other than size your lunch looks great! I can see where practice could come in handy. I plan on just measuring and arranging my leftovers lunches better for now. (And I've been thinking of adding hard eggs for a different protein than chicken).
  • AbbieBeckettAbbieBeckett Member Posts: 70 Member Member Posts: 70 Member
    love the chewbacca bag!!!!
  • mangrothianmangrothian Member Posts: 1,351 Member Member Posts: 1,351 Member
    Kabiti wrote: »
    I do have some egg molds on my wish list now... hmm... bunny shaped hard boiled eggs sounds like an *excellent* lunch (and my kids would like them).

    I aim for 4-600 calories for lunch right now... but other than size your lunch looks great! I can see where practice could come in handy. I plan on just measuring and arranging my leftovers lunches better for now. (And I've been thinking of adding hard eggs for a different protein than chicken).

    The lunch itself is ~520 calories (you can see how I separated my meals out in my diary I guess) and is normally around or below the 500 mark. Since I'm gone for such long hours in the day my be to also includes breakfast and a 4pm snack.
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