This week, I'm attending and teaching classes at the main office in town. I decided that since I'm in town all week and not working from the house, this was the ideal time to start carrying my lunch and beginning to practice bento-style packed lunch making.
This is the lunch I packed for Monday. One thing that I concentrated on was to try and apply the Japanese nutritional guidelines for bentos of 3 parts starch, 1 part protein, and 2 parts vegetables/fruits. My starch was left-over rice mixed with some Mrs. Dash herbal seasoning and pushed into the heart-shaped silicon baking cups to "mold" them into pseudo-onigiri and some succotash (baby limas and cut corn). Protein was three very thin slices of deli turkey and a Babybel cheddar cheese. Vegies and fruit were carrots, cherry tomatoes, and green grapes. Since I really wanted some ranch dressing to dip the carrots in, I put that into the bento box and carried the succotash in a side dish.
On Tuesday morning, I was a bit pushed for time, so my bento wasn't as creative. I packed a simple salad of romaine lettuce with some cheese and cherry tomatoes. Added some carrots and Ranch dressing for both dipping and to dress the salad. Note that this lunch in no way follows the recommended nutritional content but I did spend just a little bit of time on "kawaisa" or the cuteness factor by cutting the cheese into elephant shapes. I also packed a carton of yougurt, some low-fat granola, and fresh strawberries for my breakfast. The push for time resulted in being late to work, so I ate my breakfast for afternoon snack.
If I thought I was hurrying to put my lunch together on Tuesday, I hadn't anticipated Wednesday morning's rush. I got home late on Tuesday evening and didn't do any advance prep. I woke on time, but was extremely conscious of the need to get to the office early. With nothing planned or fixed ahead of time, I was flinging stuff at the lunchbox. I dished up some left-over spaghetti into a small Tupperware container, put dried cranberries and walnuts into tiny containers, and added an apple (with a knife for cutting it) and my chopsticks (to eat the spaghetti). I stuck in a canned Diet Coke to fill the free space and zipped up the insulated carrier. A bento it ain't and this mess doesn't warrant a photo. Oh yes, while I was putting together the lunch, I spread some cream cheese onto a toasted bagel so I'd have something to eat in the car as I drove to the office.