We are honored to have Sherimiya of Happy Little Bento provide her insights and advice on how to pack a snack bento in this guest post. Enjoy!
Bento and Fitness
When Whimsical Walney asked me to write a post on bento, I was more than happy to oblige. Are you wondering what bento and fitness motivation have to do with each other?
There is a lot more to working out than exercising at high levels and then flopping down on the couch to rest. A key element to maintaining good workout habits successfully is making sure you are well-fueled. Diet and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to healthy living, and bento is an excellent way to make sure you always have the nutrients you need close at hand to keep up your active lifestyle.
Principles of A Good Bento
Although the daily bento I make are for my school-age children, the same underlying purpose is there: to make sure my kids have the energy-rich foods they need to keep up their focus and concentration during the rest of the school day.
Young kids are generally very active and need appropriate energy sources to keep up their activity levels, in much the same way that athletes need to make sure their energy stores do not become depleted. I always make sure to pack carbohydrates and lean protein, along with vitamin-rich vegetables and some fruit to keep the sweet tooth happy.
Rather than grabbing prepackaged convenience foods, taking the time to pack a healthy and delicious fresh snack shows you care about what you’re putting into your body.
It’s not hard to learn how to make a bento. Just about any kind of food can be packed, as long as you keep in mind basic safety guidelines: make sure the food is completely cool before packing, try to avoid perishable food unless you’ll be packing an ice pack alongside, and if you’re bringing liquids, make sure you have a watertight container.
You don’t have a bento box? No problem. A quick look through your cabinet will probably turn up a suitable vessel such as an ordinary plastic, glass or metal sealing container. Partitions are nice, to keep different flavors separate, but not required. Once you’ve got that, you can start packing away.
One rule of thumb I like to keep in mind is to keep your bento colorful. This is a great way to make sure you’ve got a variety of food groups represented, and you’ll find a nice side effect: the food will look more appetizing when it’s displayed nicely, all together in a box. The visual aspect of our meals is very important to appetite, and if you create an appealing healthy snack you’re much more likely to enjoy it.
Here are some examples of balanced and satisfying bento snacks you might pack:
- Riceballs with salmon, steamed broccoli and sweet potato, and chopped strawberries
- Whole wheat tortilla rollups with cheddar cheese, nitrite-free ham or turkey, and baby spinach
- Oven-baked chicken wings, red pepper, carrots and celery sticks with hummus for dipping
- Three bean salad or other pickled vegetables, cottage cheese topped with fresh fruit
- Peanut butter and jam sandwich with granola-topped yogurt
Packing a healthy, delicious bento snack on-the-go will help you make sure you get the balanced nutrition you need throughout the day. And that’s the best reward you can give yourself after a hard day’s work or workout!