What is a "Bento"?

I think most of you reading this blog might know the word "Bento", but let me explain for someone who doesn't know.

Bento (弁当) is basically "packed lunch" in Japanese. In my case, I had a school meal until junior high school but from high school, we had to make our bento to bring it for lunch. Usually, our parents make our bento but I was told by my mother that I need to make it by my self from high school. I could put whatever I like, so it was fun.

will you be interested

What do you put in a "Bento"?

A common food in bento I saw in my life are rice or Onigiri (rice ball), proteins like grilled fish, fried chicken or pork, vegetables such as small tomatoes, cooked spinach or some salad. I could put whatever I like but had to keep a balanced diet.

Once I graduated from high school, I lost opportunities to make my bento, partly because I was very lazy to wake up early to cook them. Also, there was a convenience store near my college. Now I care about what I eat and pay attention to disposable items but to be honest, at that time I didn't care about those things. Even whenever I brought homemade Onigiri, it was wrapped in cling film. Yes, Japan is an awfully convenient place, and as a rule, overly relies on single-use plastic. As a result, I was too.

How does preparing a"Bento" help reduce packaging waste?

I think Bento is great to reduce packaging waste. You can prepare it in the evening the day before, keep it in a fridge and pick it when you are leaving home for school or work. You just need to be careful with some of the food that is quick to go bad.

If you have a wooden or stainless steel lunch box, that would be even better but if you have reusable containers, it's still a much better choice to reduce waste instead of buying packed food from shops. If you need to buy from shops, some shops are using biodegradable* materials for their packaging, or can even put the food you buy in your container.

Wappa bento

I have posted a review of a bento box made out of bamboo fibre. Read the Umami lunch box review here.

You can also read my Salmon Teriyaki and Tamagoyaki recipe here. It is perfect for a lunch box!

I am planning to upload some more bento recipes as well as other Japanese and non Japanese recipes and tips. Hopefully you will find it helpful and interesting, if you want to be notified when I post a new article, please subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Instagram or Pinterest :-)

*Biodegradable: /ˌbʌɪə(ʊ)dɪˈɡreɪdəb(ə)l/
"(of a substance or object) capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding pollution."consumers have forced a shift to more biodegradable products" "(Oxford Languages, 2021)