1. Pack the essentials.
Bentos have historically had some important characteristics: they’re stuffed with rice so that the food doesn’t move around. They’re arranged artfully and playfully, which heightens the enjoyment of the meal and entices children to eat the healthy, balanced ingredients. This, of course, is practically a mandate of the bento: it must be good for you. It’s no secret that Americans have a real problem with eating healthy, both in the food we eat and the amount of it. Over two-thirds of adults in the United States are obese, and one-third of children. In the last ten years, obesity rates per state have risen over ten percent, while fast food corporations see their profits shoot sky-high. Americans now consume 31 percent more calories today than they did 40 years ago. But it’s not all our fault: in the era of MSG and corn syrup it’s impressively difficult be in control of what we eat. Following a bento philosophy can provide a solution.
2. Know what you are eating.
If you already consider yourself a pretty healthy eater, perhaps the financial gains of preparing your own lunch will change your mind. If an average lunch out can cost you around $10, and a packed lunch ranges from $2-4, you are saving at least $30 per week. If you work about 50 weeks per year, that savings adds up to $1,500 per year. That’s a lot of money.
3. Save money by simplifying.
So why not try a new take on an old tradition? Bentos are beautiful, portable and encourage healthy eating and artful arrangement. What’s not to like?