I have long struggled to figure out a way to make myself bring my lunch to work everyday. I work in an upscale sort of town where even a simple sandwich is around $7. I hit up a local deli nearby way too much, for my budget and wanted to find a way to prevent this temptation. Discovering a local Hawaiian place with a chicken and rice plate for $5 didn’t help this endeavor one bit! Ha! No, I knew I needed something slightly different, something that evokes my creativity.
Lunch has long been my favorite meal. I could never explain to someone else why that is, it just is. I love a good sandwich and all of the crunchy veggies inside. I love the different textures and flavors you can get with tomatoes and pickles and onions, different varieties of each offering whole new flavors! Woo! But making a sandwich for myself everyday for lunch has been proven to only last a few days no matter how committed I am at the beginning, I just get bored with it fast.
I work for a caramel company. I often read up on the latest food and confectionery trends online in order to stay informed, and okay, I really love that stuff. One day whilst strolling through ye olde twitter feed I came across this link and accompanying picture:
And it was like a light bulb moment: BENTO!!! I could get everything I love about lunch and change it up endlessly and possibly, hopefully, never get tired or bored! Woo! So I sent the link and picture to my husband and asked if he’d like to join me on a trip to Daiso to find my Bento and accessories. He was in and ended up buying his own set of stuffs, too. (Daiso is this awesome Japanese housewares store where everything is around $1.50+ and has so many fun and neat things for your home or baking or anything!!!)
It’s only been a few days but I’m in love! I realized a lot of what I like about lunch is the little things. Little packs of this and that so it’s all like one big appetizer sampler platter…only cold! I was very tempted to buy the little fake sushi grass stuff used as dividers, but knew I wouldn’t use them and only wanted them for crafting. I’ve been practicing questioning why I want things lately and so I resisted this temptation.
My first couple of days I packed my Bento with: slices of Havarti Cheese, rotisserie chicken cold cuts, roasted red pepper hummus (holy shit I’m hooked on this stuff, I think it’s Sabra), salt & pepper lentil chips (from Trader Joe’s), purple grapes, grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas, baby carrots (I know, an abomination!), a bit of garden ranch dip from my local organic grocer and a full- fat chocolate-vanilla swirl Jello pudding cup. Oh! And a big cup of iced green tea with honey.
It looks like a lot, but you see, these little compartments are magical. I don’t worry about portions or numbers or any of that. All I am paying attention to is how I feel while I’m eating my lunch and how I feel after. The verdict: I feel great! I enjoy opening each compartment and devouring what’s inside. I love randomly dipping a lentil chip or carrot into their opposing dip (ranch versus hummus). I enjoying taking a bite of cheese followed by a juicy grape! It’s fun! Should lunch be this fun? Is this allowed? Fuck yeah it is!
I’m satisfied, but not too full. If I get hungry later, I have a banana on-hand for such moments. I’m not driving around fancyland looking for a deal for lunch and wasting my precious time and gas doing it. I’m not buying a soda because it comes with the meal and I’m not feeling unsatisfied because I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to begin with (an old pattern). I am enjoying and nourishing myself. This was such an eye opener for me. Can ya tell? Ha-ha!
Do you Bento? I’d love to hear about what you pack in yours or what you would want to if you started to. Pictures would be lovely! I’ll post mine on the blog’s FB page! Feel free to join in with your own or just your two cents. 🙂