At my office, everyone eats lunch at their desk. One might attribute this to the fact that they’re all workaholics, who can’t separate themselves from their computers long enough to eat a decent meal, but there’s more to it than that. Lunchtime is also the time of day when we all slow down. Whether that means joking with coworkers or stealing a few minutes of sleep, the importance of the lunch hour is not to be underestimated. When I realized this, I decided that I would make an effort to eat lunch at work as often as possible.
Having decided this, I was left with two options: either make a box lunch (bento) for myself or pick up something at the store. I certainly wouldn’t be alone if I chose the latter option – convenience store pasta is particularly popular in my office – but making one’s own lunch is potentially both healthier and more economical.
There’s a great wealth of resources on making bento. I sometimes take out books from the library, or go to Makiko Itoh’s amazing Just Bento for inspiration, but most of the time my lunches are some combination of rice, salad and carefully reserved leftovers from dinner the night before. I try to pay attention to flavor (since everything is cold by lunchtime, everything is seasoned a little more than usual) and color (because a variety makes those cold dishes look more appetizing) – but for the most part, making bento is a quick, stress-free part of my morning routine. With a little forethought, it takes less time to put lunch together than it does to take a shower and dry my hair.
If that doesn’t convince you that making bentos is worth a try, check out the Just Bento page titled How bento lunches helped me lose 30+ lbs (so far).
If you’re interested in trying your hand at packing box lunches for yourself or your loved ones, or if, for whatever reason, you have something invested in what I eat for lunch, check back for weekly bento updates!