Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Go Go Bento

I am not a paid spokesperson, but I should be.  I would blabber on and on about anything I think is fantastic, and I wouldn't even care if people were listening or not.  Isn't that what makes a great salesperson?  I never liked sales, though, because I never wanted to pressure people into making a purchase.  I just like to talk about the things I love...or the things that excite me.

Keep in mind, I'm almost always excited about something that will make eating well easier and all organization products.  It's an illness.  But imagine my over-the-top-pee-my-pants joy when I found this:
It's a Bento.

Apparently, bento is word in Japanese that means convenient (my research indicates that it translates similarly in Mandarin).  The boxes are meant to hold specific portions of carbohydrate, meat and vegetable/fruit (and in some cases, oil or sweets). 

Bentos can be simple or elaborate--in fact, some people go to the effort to create kyaraben (character bento)--food art.  But I think some of the more simple renderings create eye pleasing palates, too.

I find Bento boxes fascinating because they encourage those packing the lunch to experiment with loads of color combinations and fresh food.  Realistically, how many of us couldn't use a little more color in our unprocessed food choices?

Plus, I've read quite a bit about sticking to specific servings of certain types of foods for people with PCOS.  I'm hoping that an organizational tool like this is going to make that convenient.

And since I'm making it my goal to eat fewer processed foods, I'm hoping a tool like this will make it easier to bring good, wholesome food from home instead of stocking my classroom fridge with SmartOnes or Lean Cuisine.

I learned about Bento while reading through The School Lunch Project--and, yes, this is another shameless promotion for something I LOVE.  Mrs. Q isn't just passionate about school lunch; she's passionate about nutrition.  Her simple posts about lunch content and ingredients really reminded me that we have an obligation to know what we're putting in our bodies.

Mrs. Q and people like my friend Casey also remind me that simple ingredients make for the best tasting food.

While I was thinking through those concepts, I was reminded of something else.  Weight Watchers actually used to have two types of dieting programs.  Either you could count points and stay within a specific point allowance or you could eat unlimited amounts of certain types of foods (mostly fresh veggies and fruits) and supplement with limited amounts of protein and dairy and avoid really counting.

Obviously, I'm not as familiar with the second program because I spent most of my time counting points so I could eat things like cereal, doritos and cookies.

Clearly, all those years of dieting changed me.

I know my body would benefit from more fresh food in a large assortment of colors.  In the past few weeks, it's become clear to me that I likely suffer from any number of vitamin deficiencies due to my poor diet.

So when I go back to school in two weeks, I'm going to make an honest effort to ensure my lunches are colorful, eye pleasing portions of mostly unprocessed foods (hey...baby steps).

And while bentos are traditionally 3 parts rice, 2 parts protein and 1 part veggie, I'm going to make an honest effort to flip flop the rice and veggies.

I'll let you know how it turns out.  Who knows?  I may even give you a couple pictures of my lunch as this project progresses.  For now, I'm excited about the tools to push me to try.

(All pictures on this post were taken from www.laptoplunches.com)


Armanda said...

I have always been fascinated with Bentos! I want to do something like this to send with my kids to school :). Though I won't be nearly as creative as some people.

Julie Lewis said...

Crystal, Here's a site that you might like. I haven't spent a lot of time looking through it but plan to when I get home. Enjoy your trip and I'll see you way too soon....not that I don't want to see you, I'm just not ready to go back to school!!