Total calories (approx): 410 (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning
Type: Japanese, chicken!
This bento brings together two recent recipes for a pretty low-calorie yet filling bento. The hot and sweet peppers do need to be made in advance, but they last there for a week or more, so are well worth the time they take. The Pan fried lemon chicken nuggets can either be made the night before or in the morning - they only take a few minutes. They are only about 30-40 calories per piece, so adding a couple more pieces won’t hurt much at all. I added some wide green beans that are in season right now, just boiled in salted water then ‘refreshed’ under cold running water. You could use spinach or other greens instead.
Try to use brown rice of mixed-grain rice (zakkokumai) for the extra fiber, which gives you a full feeling.
As you can see, this bento has red, green and brown/yellow colors. If your bento includes at least these three colors, especially vibrant red and green, it is much more appetizing at lunchtime. If the food itself is a bit lacking in color, try using colorful dividers and cups like the apple-shaped one here.
As you can see, even if you have to make the chicken and beans in the morning the whole bento assembles in about 10 minutes. You could make the chicken for dinner the night before (it’s great hot with pasta), and set aside a few for your bento.
Recently I chuckled a bit when reading a blogger complaining about the time and effort it takes to make bento. She reasoned that it may be ‘reasonable for Japanese people’ but not for a busy (not-Japanese) person. Well I don’t know…it takes me at least 5-6 minutes to put together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, wrap it up, include an apple or a cookie, etc. This bento only takes a few more minutes with just a little pre-planning, and while I do like a good PB and J occasionally, I think this bento is rather more appetizing. Is it that much more effort? You decide…
(Actually, it’s hard to find good peanut butter here, and forget about good grape jelly! But that’s for another time.)
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