Tasty Tuesday – Bento Style

Sweaty Stats: Monday was a rest day for me…I’m letting my legs recover from Sunday’s run.  I’m usually never sore after my runs, but I’m definitely feeling this one!  Tomorrow I’ll be back at it, though 🙂

It’s no secret that I love meal planning and keeping everything organized.  I must admit, I don’t always stick to the plan 100%….but hey, I try!  When I have a plan, it’s much easier for me stay on track and keep to my healthy ways.  When I don’t…well there’s good ‘ol guilt staring at me in the face when I look at my “weekly plan.”

Another biggie for me is visually appealing food.  I’m totally a visual person, and my food is no exception.  This is what brought me to building my bento-style snacks and meals.   I must say, this has become a total obsession!  Bento-style meals is a great way to keep serving sizes low, account for calories, and keep it looking pretty 🙂

So what do you need to get started?  

  • Tupperware Containers- I use real Tupperware because they’re totally durable, environmentally friendly, and usually nest in each other nicely.  Bed Bath & Beyond has some good options for bento style lunch containers too.
  • Silicone Cupcake Liners No, I don’t eat cupcakes everyday…I wish.  These are perfect for keeping small foods all together.
  • FOOD!  

Make sure you keep these things in mind.

  1. Is this a snack or a meal?  Snack bentos should be in the 150 calorie range, whereas meals should have 300-400 calories depending on your diet (these are the calories that I shoot for).
  2. Do you have most of your food groups represented?  A balance between healthy carbs, protein, and fruit/veggie is my goal.  Remember some foods double dip in the nutrition category, i.e. almonds are a healthy fat and a  source of protein.

Here are my go-to bento ingredients:

  • Protein:  (remember, I don’t eat meat) Almonds, Hard Boiled Egg, Peanut Butter, Edamame, Hummus, Black Bean Dip.
  • Cheese: Babybel Rounds, Laughing Cow Wedge, Tilamook Snack Squares, String Cheese.  (When I include cheese, I shoot for prepackaged portions so I can keep track of the calories, they add up quick!)
  • Grains:  Whole Grain Crackers, Pita Bread, Whole Wheat Pretzels, Popcorn.
  • Fruits and Veggies: Grapes, Strawberries, Blackberries, Sliced Apples, Baby Carrots, Grape Tomatoes, Sliced Cucumbers.

Here are a couple I’ve had recently:

breakfast bento

Kashi Berry Muffin bar, 1 Hard Boiled Egg, A Handful of Berries, and a Snack Tilamook Cheese Square- 260 calories and 12 grams of protein.

big snack bento

This could be a breakfast bento, or big snack!  I had it as a big snack in lieu of lunch because I was having an early dinner.  Wasabi Almonds (about 14), Milton’s Multi-Grain Crackers, Babybel Cheese, and Grapes- 230 calories and 9 grams of protein.

breakfast bento

1/4 cup Lowfat Cottage Cheese, 2 Tbl. Organic Granola, 1 slice of Alpine Valley Organic Bread, 1 Tbl. Peanut Butter, and Berries.  This is one of my favorite breakfasts…lots of filling food for just 300 calories with 15 grams of protein.

OK, Ready?!  Time to build your bento!!

Do you tend to meal plan, or wing it?
Have you tried bento meals before? 
If so, what’s your favorite combination? 

6 thoughts on “Tasty Tuesday – Bento Style

  1. Pingback: Random Lil Nuggets | Steph Stays Slim

  2. Yay, a totally new term for me 🙂 I love that! Great ideas and I will have to start incorporating these in my meal planning, which I live by every week! I would be lost without my meal planning!!

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