This week on Not Exactly Bento, I’m talking about my Top 5 Reasons why Grownups should Bento. Packing a meal for yourself when you’re on the go, busy, or just because is a wonderful way to meet personal health goals and do something special for yourself. Join me this week as I talk about the top 5 reasons why I think you should bento. Each post will feature pictures of bentos, past and present, to show readers how skill level doesn’t matter when packing lunch for yourself. Feedback on why you bento and what works for you is always welcome.
Bringing a lunch to work packed in a bento style can elicit a variety of comments around the work lunch table.
- Why do you pack your lunch that way?
- Your lunch looks so organized. Doesn’t that take a long time?
- You must pack for portion control, right?
- I could never do that. It looks too difficult.
- That looks so complicated.
- Why do you waste time with that?
- Well that’s interesting… (followed by the “You’re weird.” stare)
- Your lunch is *so cute*!
- Wow, your lunch looks so much better than mine. (my favorite comment obviously!)
I will admit when I first started to pack lunch this way, it was a bit disconcerting to be told some of these things. These days, I don’t much care because packing a lunch for myself isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of my world. And I’ve developed my favorite answer (and one of the most honest too) for these questions: “I hate to wash dishes. This means less dishes to wash.” It tends to elicit a laugh, because most people agree with me.
But truly, my most serious reason for packing bento for myself is the most important: “I am worth it!”
I am worth the time and the thought it takes it takes to pack a lunch for myself. It is the single most important reason to grasp when you bento for yourself and one that I wonder if people consider as they make a conscious choice to stop eating out and pack a meal for themselves.
* I Am Worth It *
Bento takes time, no matter the type of packing you’re doing.
Whether it’s 15 minutes to pack everything in neatly or hours to create a charaben, bento takes time. There are a dozen other things I can always find to do with that time. Or things that I won’t be able to complete because I took the time to pack a lunch.
I don’t pack fancy. I consider how I pack pretty plain. If I take out all the picture taking time, packing my bento with leftovers takes, at most, 10-15 minutes. But that 10-15 minutes is time I’m not spending on something else.
My biggest downfall is telling myself, “I’m too busy today,” as I rush out the door, promising I’ll get something healthy for lunch in an area where healthy lunch options aren’t abundant. And I regret it every single time, and spend that time wishing I had one of my packed lunches instead.
The bento I bring for myself each day makes me smile. It is a small break in my day to take 20 minutes to breathe easy, refocus, and re-energize for the remainder of my day. That packed lunch is an important part of my work day. It brings back my calm, my sanity, and my desire to tackle the rest of my day.
The changes I make to my overall schedule to have the time to bento is worth the benefit. I am worth it!
Regardless of where you’re eating your bento, you are worth it. Pack a meal for yourself for work, whether you’re in an office or at home (because if you’re at home raising kids that’s work! My hat is off to you!). You’re worth the time it takes to make something for yourself.
“I Am Worth It!” Repeat it like a mantra as you pack your bento box each day.
And if you need to tell yourself that you do it so you can wash less dishes, feel free to steal my excuse. Because it is true.
Be the bento everyone!