Box Lunch, Japanese-Style

by Anne Bennett on January 18, 2011

My Bento lunch: salmon, noodles, salad, California rolls, and for dessert, fresh fruit!

Pictured above is yesterday’s lunch at a local Japanese restaurant. It’s called a Bento box, and as you can see, each portion is neatly placed in its own section, with no one portion being either too big or too small.

Goldilocks would have loved this! It’s just the right size!

Seriously, folks, one of the biggest assets of Bento meals is that you get a taste of different foods, all artfully presented, without eating too much of anything.

Bentos are lunches traditionally prepared for Japanese school children by their moms. Bento boxes can be whimsical–a plastic panda bear with protruding ears that hold two tiny servings–or unadorned and functional boxes for adults, like the one above.

It occurred to me that we Americans have our own version of Bentos. They’re called Lean Cuisines. Think about it–they come in small containers, they’re portion-controlled and they’re portable.┬áThe only problem is that they aren’t fun, the food isn’t pretty and they lack variety.

What’s an adventurous, healthy eater to do? Order a Bento cookbook from Amazon!

Don’t worry. I’m not going to go all containerized on you. But I am going to explore some Bento possibilities. What about a tiny salad in the smallest Gladware container, paired with a neatly sliced teriyaki chicken breast left over from last night’s dinner? Toss in another miniscule container of fresh fruit and there you have it: an improvised Bento.

Anyone have Goldilock’s email address?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie Snook January 18, 2011 at 8:26 am

Like!!! Like!!! Like!!! I’ve been eating alot of the spa meals but adding some fresh fruit along side of it. this looks much better!

Colleen January 18, 2011 at 10:36 am

I need to know! What local restaurant is this? Thanks! I love bento!

Linda January 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm


Sue February 11, 2011 at 11:10 am

That does look so yummy! Like Coleen I would love to know what local restaurant this is?

Anne February 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

The restaurant is called Nara, and it’s at 1617 Main Street, Kansas City, MO. Great atmosphere.

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