How to prepare a bento box meal in 3 easy steps

If you haven't discovered the wonders of the bento box yet, you're missing out. This concept, which originated in Japan as early as the 16th century, allows users to organise their meal into appropriately sized portions separated within the box. People have been getting pretty creative with these boxes – you can use them to pack your kids and eco-friendly lunch, or take a meal along for yourself. You can even create your own bento box at home, if you'd like – you just need a few appropriately sized containers.

Whether you already have a bento box are are considering trying this dining trend, here's a quick beginners guide for how to fill your box.

Step 1: Add your main entree

The main portion of your bento box is usually a protein or carb. This will occupy the largest space in your bento lunch, and can include grilled chicken with rice, tofu and veggies, sushi, a healthy casserole, or any other main dish that appeals to you. Ideally, you'll be aiming for a 1:1:2 carb:protein:vegetable ratio, according to JustBento.

Step 2: Pick your sides

Depending on the setup of your bento box, you could have separated mini-boxes to hold your sides, or you may fill in gaps within your main entree space. These sides or fillers are usually vegetables. You can make veggies ahead of time, store them in your freezer, and use them to complete your bento meals throughout the week.

Step 3: Close up your box and hit the road

After you've organised the contents of your meal into your box, you're ready to go! You have a healthy, portion-appropriate meal to tide you over, and you've saved some disposable goods in the process. Simply prepare the contents, place them in the appropriate containers, and throw the entire box into your green reusable bag.