Eating out for lunch at work gets expensive. School lunches are frequently below even the government’s own nutritional standards. A peanut butter sandwich wrapped in plastic and stuffed into a paper bag is both unappetizing and, with the use of all those disposable products, wasteful and expensive. Combined with a bag of chips and a soda, it’s also a nutritional travesty.
The Japanese tackle this lunch problem by using reusable boxes to bring their meals with them. These “bento” boxes are so much more than leftovers. A proper bento is a well-balanced meal that is as pleasing to look at as it is to eat.
Assuming that you spend ten cents per brown-bag lunch on disposable items, over 180 school days, that’s 18 dollars thrown away every year. Japanese bento boxes can be purchased online from amazon.com for about that amount. Or, for a couple of dollars, you can use (and reuse) the “disposable” plastic boxes available at most grocery stores.
If you prepare beans, grain, and meat for the week, and have vegetables and bread on hand, you can easily throw together combinations such as a chicken sandwich with carrot sticks and an apple, or leftover stew with a side of brown rice, or meatballs with salad greens and leftover vegetables.
For inspiration on bento boxes, visit justbento.com.