Friday, February 23, 2018

A Week's Worth (or More) of Vegan Bento Creations

Japan's bento culture has always fascinated me. I love the creativity put into it but I know it will take a lot of effort especially if you're a beginner. I have experimented a lot with making my own bento before but deciding what food items to prepare and put on my bento still boggles my brain. But practice makes perfect so here is a glimpse at some of my attempts.

When staying at home, I use different sized bowls for my food items. 

Take note that I veganized my food items and also bought some ready-to-cook vegan meat alternatives to go with my veggie food items. So these are all vegan bento creations. I did not create them all in one week but I picked my favorites to share with you.

I am also fascinated by bento boxes. Almost any food container can be used as a bento but I have my own collection which I switch around so my lunch box looks interesting.

Although I admire all the kawaii designs of bento I see online, I don't really have the tools or the patience and skills to copy them. My basic rule for choosing the kind of food I put in my bento is that they should have different colors. They should also have carbohydrates, protein, veggies and fruits, if available. I am much more inspired to eat my meal if it looks interesting to my eyes. I just need to make sure it's also edible and taste good.

The main protein in this bento is VegMomPH's Tapa.

VegMomPH has other products that I like ordering as well. Check out VegMomPH's The Good Choices for my quick meals featuring their products. I am not paid to promote them but I always order their meat-free products when I am craving for the taste of dishes which usually uses meat.

Another bento with vegan tapa.

Bento with seaweed (nori) and mung bean sprouts as main protein source.

My bento almost always has rice which is often a combination of brown rice, red rice and black rice or just plain brown rice if the other 2 variants are not available. I find that using these colored rice varieties helps me feel fuller with just a small amount of the rice. I also don't get hungry enough for snacks when I eat colored rice for lunch.

Bento with apples, squash boiled in soy sauce topped with sesame seeds and vegan lumpiang shanghai.

Vegan sisig and garlic fried rice are the main treats in this lunch.

A closer look at the Vegchon which added crispiness to this bento.

Lunch in a round bento.

That's a week worth of bento creations. When I can't get hold of the products that I usually use as my main protein (e.g., VegChon or Veg Tapa, etc.), I use tofu instead.

You may also notice that I often use the same veggies and cook almost the same dishes. Of course, I don't always eat the same dishes for each day of the week. When meal prepping, I usually prepare for 2 main dishes which are veggie dishes and 2 types of protein and at least 2 side dishes and if possible a salad. I can eat the same salad all week so I prepare only one. This is my way of ensuring that I get balanced nutrition for every meal. Food combining is still a trial and error process for me and I experiment as I go along.

I just switch between the different food items throughout the week depending on my mood or what I'm craving for that day. I try to have fruits too but if I can't put them in my bento, I usually have bananas on hand. I don't cut up the bananas as they turn brown quite easily. If I have soup, I bring it in a separate container with an airtight lid to avoid spillage.

You can check out some tips on making your own bento which I wrote previously.

Hopefully, these can inspire you to start experimenting with your own bento. I will be posting more of my bento experiments and tips to help you with your own creations.

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