The keys to bento calorie control: the box, the rice and the salt content
In Selecting the right bento box, I talked about how important it was to select the right size of box, especially if you are using bento lunches as a tool to lose weight. The other critical factor is to control the amount of rice you put into the box, if you are making Japanese style bentos.
Johbisai or Joubisai: Building up a bento making 'stash'
Anyone who does any kind of art or craft work is familiar with the concept of a stash. A knitter for example has a stash of different kinds of yarn. This really helps to get the creative juices flowing. In bento making terms, the equivalent of a stash is joubisai (or johbisai) (常備菜). Literally this means 'always available food'. They are stored foods that can be kept for a while, which can be pulled out and used on short notice, and enrich and streamline the bento making process.
Essential equipment and supplies for making bento lunches
Bento lunches need to be assembled in the morning to taste as good as they can at lunch time. I aim to make any bento lunch in 20 minutes or less. On occasion I may go to 30 minutes, but that's as much time as I can realistically spend. I find all of the things listed here to be very useful.