Why Japanese Bento Boxes are the Ideal WFH Lunch
Updated: Jul 7, 2021
Japanese cuisine has become a worldwide sensation. Almost everyone is familiar with staples like sushi, ramen, and donburi rice bowls — and for good reason. But another icon in Japanese cooking is the bento box, which is basically a boxed meal containing different dishes that are separated into their own compartments. The word bento originates from the Southern Song Dynasty slang biàndāng, which means “convenient” — the perfect word to describe this ready-to-eat packed meal. Bento boxes first appeared during the Kamakura period. This period of Japanese history was named after the city of the Shogun, Kamakura City, which is now a popular coastal destination in the country. Bento boxes served as a carrier for rice and later on developed into the varied meal we now know today. Now mostly consumed by Japanese students and office workers, home-made bento boxes make for a more balanced meal than those found in cafeterias and cafés. While these boxes have a reputation for being an on-the-go meal, those who work from home can also enjoy making (and eating) bento boxes at home. In this post, we’ll take a look at why bento boxes are the perfect lunch for WFH workers and how you can prepare one.
Why Make Bento Boxes?
You Can Prepare Them Ahead of Time A lot of WFH workers know the importance of meal prepping. Just because the home is their office doesn’t mean that they get extra time to spend on chores. That’s why bento boxes are great for the remote working arrangement. Workers can simply make multiple bento boxes ahead of time and store them in the freezer. Other than that, physical trainer Brian Carlson notes that meal prepping methods like bento boxes can even save energy and money. It Promotes Health and Mindfulness WFH workers need to prioritize their health and well-being. One of the tips for a successful WFH setup by travel writer James Gonzales details that WFH workers need to enjoy their meals. It's very easy to get distracted by work, and you may end up opting for takeout or instant food in place of proper meals. To further drive the success of their working arrangement, WFH workers need to take care of themselves. When it comes to lunches, preparing a thoughtful bento box is the best way to maximize the nutrition you consume. Furthermore, there’s a certain meditative quality to carefully preparing and arranging dishes inside a bento box — something that can help promote the mental well-being of a WFH professional. The Possibilities are Endless You can unleash your creativity when it comes to preparing bento boxes. There are no limitations to what you can put inside your bento box, so feel free to have it your way. You can even prepare a myriad of your favorite foods and arrange them into carefully portioned sections inside a bento box. Chatelaine highlights that everyone can personalize bento boxes to their liking — from ones that include overnight oats to bento boxes that exclusively have breakfast foods.
How To Make Your Own Bento Box
If you’re planning to make yourself a bento box for lunch, owning a traditional Japanese bento box is a great place to start. These are usually rectangular lunch boxes that have dividers on the inside, but bento boxes come in different shapes and sizes, too. While it might make your lunch feel more authentic, you really don’t have to search high and low to find one. Any lunchbox sizeable enough for different dishes will do.
When building up the contents of your bento box, first start by choosing a starchy carbohydrate like rice, pasta, or other grains. From there, you can build up your bento box by adding a cooked protein, a vegetable dish, a few side dishes, and desert. You can put whatever you want inside your own bento box — just make sure that everything is neatly arranged inside. Every WFH worker needs the right fuel to keep themselves productive at home. WFH professionals don’t have a lot of time on their hands and are more prone to setting aside their health. So, instead of getting takeout or preparing instant meals, WFH employees can prepare ahead of time and enjoy better control over their nutrition and well-being with a bento box.
Exclusively written for tokyolocalized.com
By J. Ban