March 10th is National Pack Your Lunch Day!
For many, the days of brown-bagging your lunch are in the past. It’s more convenient to grab a made-to-order burrito or hit a drive-thru window during your lunch break, but this decision can have disastrous consequences on your diet and your wallet! On average, buying lunch every day costs workers nearly $3,000 per year, according to a Visa study. That’s money that could be put towards vacations, college funds, or bills. Health-wise, on average you should be eating 400-500 calories per meal. A 2013 study by BMJ, found that the meals ordered by adults contained an average of 836 calories. That’s 300 calories more, every day!
The thing that discourages most people from packing is the effort and time that it takes, but a new craze in lunch packing is exciting kids and parents everywhere, and that is the power of the bento box.
A bento box (or simply, bento) is a home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine, distinct because of its compartmentalized container. Parents are taking the idea of a lunch packed in this manner to their kids’ lunches, even going so far as to mold sandwiches and snacks into cartoon shapes and include themed meals. People are even taking this craft into the blogging world, like this Lunchbox Dad. This form of preparation encourages using fresh prepared food, instead of pre-packaged snacks, and making eating lunch easier and more fun.
But this stuff isn’t just for kids- working adults could benefit from this trend, too, if they add a few upgrades. These can include leftovers from the night before, or more extravagant meals like this Sesame Beef and Vegetables Bento. Every meal is customized and up to you, so you can stick to classics like turkey wraps, strawberries, and carrot sticks or go all-out and spend your Sunday afternoons preparing and assembling your meals for the week ahead.
Whether you try out the bento craze or stick to your paper bag, packing your lunch offers nothing but benefits!