If you dine at Japanese restaurants, you’ve probably seen a bento box. Bentos provide a selection of smaller bites. A traditional bento consists of fish and/or meat, pickled and/or cooked vegetables and rice. In the U.S., dumplings, sushi and fruit are often included.
The bento comprises a box-shaped container with compartments. The boxes range from beautiful lacquer to plastic lunchbox to disposable take-out containers. They can be one level, as in the photo, or stacked. The defining feature is the variety of foods.
Bento is more than restaurant fare: Japanese homemakers prepare them for family members’ lunches, as well as for their own. The goal is to provide an attractive variety of foods.
So today’s tip is: Think bento, with American ingredients, for lunch or dinner.
A restaurant bento box. Photo by
A variety of foods makes any meal more interesting, and is recommended by registered dieticians and other experts.
You can whip up your bento from scratch, and/or use up leftovers. It’s easy to incorporate healthy foods. You can serve the foods on one plate, or put each item on a small plate or other dish.
Consider an assortment of small-portion foods including:
To us, it means “tasty variety.”
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