Paring Down Meal Time - a.k.a. I Love Bento!

I love Bento!
I also love eating out, but I'm in a support group for that (too many calories and too much money).

As I continue to look for ways to pare down my life, I decided to focus on my meals.
Portion sizes are a huge problem for me - and many folks, I would think.
So how do I reduce my portion sizes while still eating well and not feeling deprived???

Enter bento.  
I'm trying to remember when I first started thinking about bento.

Was it Molly Ringwald's bento lunch box in The Breakfast Club?

Was it the bento box at the Japanese restaurant where I first tried sushi?

Once I started searching bento in the blogosphere, I found some amazing go-to sites.

Just Bento is a great site that provides a lot of basics on getting started making bentos as well as on losing weight and buying all kinds of cool bento accessories. 

Lunch in a Box is another super site with lots of great bento tips.  I also enjoy seeing a variety of non-Japanese foods made into bentos.

What's For Lunch At Our House is a great blog written by a mommy who is preparing bentos for her kids - so CUTE!!!

Bento Fun is full of adorable bentos - again many of which are non-rice based.  

Not Exactly Bento is probably my favorite blog because it incorporates all kinds of yummy leftovers and palate pleasers into the bento box itself.  That means yummy + portion control.  PERFECT!

I also found some inexpensive bento boxes to start with on a recent trip to FIT, a Japanese $2 (and a little higher) store in Houston.  My bento boxes were only $3 each there!!!
Aren't they cute?  They are double layered, and they are held together with a bento belt (a stretchy elastic band).

I also purchased the small white silicon forms that hold runny foods or foods that shouldn't combine (dessert, for example).

So here is my first bento breakfast:
  Alexia seasoned potato wedges (left over from dinner) and a sliced boiled egg with blackberries, a clementine, and red seedless grapes.

And this is my first bento lunch:
Spicy three-pepper hummus and baby carrots with a whole wheat ham, red pepper, and light cream cheese wrap and grape tomatoes.

Give bento a try.  It's YUMMY!


  1. Thanks for stopping by and following my blog. I'm now a follower of yours too! I love the name of your blog, as with most things in life-less truly is more. :)

    These bentos are great. Organization is important to me and I love little compartments for things, I can already see me one day making these for my future kiddos. ;)

  2. Fun! Great idea for "rewarding" yourself and keeping yourself from not feeling deprived!! I didn't know there was a Japanese $2 store in Houston - wish I would have known that while I lived there!

    p.s. Thanks for all your nice comments at DSC!

  3. i absolutely love this post! bento boxes are so fun to eat out of. i agree with the above post; i can too see myself making these for my future kids!

    thanks for sharing!


  4. Those all look like such yummy lunches! I have a student that always has his bento box and having never known about it before I asked him what it was and he just said it was his lunch box. I'm so glad to have these ideas now! I might start packing mine this way!

  5. What a great idea Laura! I'm gonna hunt some bento boxes down for us! A way to get my Japan-crazed kiddo to eat healthier too I bet!

  6. I don't know how I've managed to never even hear of this! I'm checking out all your links. I need to lose some weight and I don't like diets.

  7. So funny about Molly Ringwald. I didn't remember that scene, but it sure looks like a Bento!

  8. I just discovered your blog. You won't believe this, but my husband and I have talked about the RV option too. My daughter is in 7th grade...when she's independent and possibly when my husband is retired...we will be joining you on the road. I really don't believe that I want to keep our home once we retire...to much work, money, etc. to upkeep. I am constantly paring down because our home is only 1200 square feet.

  9. Great post, Laura. Great ideas. I'll see you at the next Eating Out support group. I'll be the one with a to-go bag from Chilis in one hand and a bento box in the other. ;)

  10. What a fun post Laura and some great ideas! I like Emily's comment...I second that! :)

  11. Wow, can you believe I've never heard of Bento boxes before? Maybe because I've never eaten Japanese cuisine before. I live such a sheltered life! Thank you so much for this informative post. I've learned a lot, and these boxes are so cute! You've inspired me to look into them and give them a try. My kiddos would really get into them, I think.

  12. I love bento boxes! Such a wonderful way to bring lunch!

  13. Thanks so much for the mention!

    I have FIT saved in my list of favorites so that I can make my husband take me to Houston to shop. ;o) He doesn't know I'm not kidding, LOL!

  14. You know I had no idea there were so many benito ideas and boxes out there. I saw a cute little panda head one once, but it was basically just one container. Do you have to have several little ones inside of the main one to make it a true benito box? Usually I think wow that does not look like it could hold enough food to fill me up, guess I need to work on portion control too!

  15. What great lunches but I have never heard of Bento boxes before. They look really cute though. I am going to do a little search on them. Thanks for sharing this :)

  16. These boxes make every meal special. What a difference presentation makes. With each food in a seperate container you really would have to take the time to enjoy each one.

  17. That is such a great idea, love the examples you showed!

  18. I love the ideas. Bento boxes are truly a fun way to keep calorie consumption in check. They would be a great tool for parents to use to teach their kids portion control. I'm going to find some for my children's school and summer camp lunches!

  19. I love this idea. I'm emailing this to myself so I can check out all the links!

  20. Hi Laura thanks for visiting my new home today!
    Your blog looks like a lotta fun and I'm now a follower!! Gotta get my husband one of those Bentos!!!

  21. What a great idea! I've never Bento-ed before, but I definitely want to try it. I'm right there with you about portion sizes. I'm pretty sure I eat enough for like 3 people :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope to see you around!

  22. bento box!! I've never heard of this before...and i really love the idea. Can't wait to learn more about it. Thanks

  23. Very cute! I love grazing on lots of different things and this way of presenting the food looks so appealing.

  24. I so heart bento too! My oldest has a Laptop Lunch and the little one can't wait to inherit it since bro is outgrowing his. They make larger ones so we can't wait to go shopping again...


  25. Wow! What a cool way to make eating portions fun. I have got to give it a try :)

  26. I love this idea. I will have to learn from the bento master, you.

  27. All these Bento boxes look great-I am going to have to try them out.

  28. They are just so artistic! Reminds me of when I was in France and my favorite restaurant (La Dame Tartine) served small portions exquisitely arranged. Makes eating so much more enjoyable. My least favorite restaurant was one in San Diego that served giant portions on long oval plates the size of a pig trough! It felt conspicuous & embarrassing to have that large of a plate. Wonder if bento will ever catch on here enough that we find MacBento at MacDonald's?

  29. Oh dear...it's after midnight (sick baby here) and now I'm craving hummus and strawberries and bulger wheat salad and muffins with cute little picks stuck in 'em!

    Supa cute. :)

  30. I love both bento and Molly Ringwald (circa '80s)!! Oishii-soo!

  31. Well done on making your first bento! Here's to many more!

  32. this post made me think of my coworker, who absolutely loves her bento box. is it helpful with portion control? i could use some help with that, too!

    thanks so much for stopping by the cape on the corner, and for choosing to follow! i so much appreciate it. i'm off to poke around your site some more.

    have a great weekend!

  33. love these bento meals you've made and the holders are ADORABLE! wish I had a store like that near me! I'm still on the lookout for some bento boxes.

  34. I was so hungry reading this!!! I know the idea is paring down, but I want one of each. ;o)

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