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Places you've never bento

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Bento boxes are the new Jenny Craig of healthy eating. If you’ve never had the pleasure of diving mouth first into a bento box, this article will provide you with an overview and a few tips on how to get the most out of your miniature meals.

Bento boxes are single-dose, aesthetically pleasing meals in convenient and sometimes stylish boxes, often used for Japanese cuisine.

You’ve probably seen one if you’ve ordered a lunch special from a sushi place. The craze has caught on stateside, and many folks are using the conveniently compact boxes to get fit.

Some are disposable, and some are handcrafted lacquer ware. Some boast vibrant colors, and some are decorated with dinosaurs, Hello Kitty, or anime characters. But as with a lot of things in life, it’s not what’s on the outside of the bento that counts, it’s what’s inside that will help you get through bikini season.

The boxes will often be sectioned out or stacked to fit multiple mini-courses. It’s important to pick a box that will fit your individual needs. Bentoandco.com has a vast selection of boxes to choose from.

These lunch boxes make it nearly impossible to overeat, unless, of course, you pack seven bentos for lunch. But that would just be silly.

Many Westerners pack the usual American lunch fare into the boxes, including sandwiches (cut to smaller proportions), grapes, cheese, and a tiny dessert.

There are many websites that sell bento box supplies, including shaped sandwich-cutters (stars, hearts, triangles), which will make any junior bento-lover go nuts.

Lunchinabox.net is a phenomenal website created by mom and avid bento-er, Biggie. She’ll give you some great advice on how to build a bento box so cute you’ll have an existential crisis over whether or not you should eat it.

Her boxes are also geared toward the kiddos, who can benefit tremendously from the portion control and the visually appealing and distracting (that’s not a vegetable, that’s a broccoli giraffe!) nature of bento-style eating.

There are a million things you can do with a bento box to make your lunch hour more exciting. Make animal faces out of your sandwiches, pack foods of only one color, or pick a continental theme. Whatever your choice in aesthetics, make sure you pack yourself a balanced meal.

Calendar Editor Maeva Considine compiled this week’s Bites, and it was delicious. We want a bite! Send your cuisine related news to bites@newtimesslo.com.

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