Americanized Bento Boxes

Our school has a ‘Biggest Loser’ challenge and my team has been pretty amazing.  We’ve even done some after school Jillian Michaels workouts!  I’m determined to not let my team down.

This week’s challenge is to bring a healthy snack to exchange.  Teams get points for every snack brought and bonus points to the winner for the most creative snack.  I’ve seen some of the competition already; ‘healthy’ bottled energy drinks?  I don’t get the ‘health’ in that.

So my choice is to create a snack bento box!  Bento boxes are an Asian sensation that are becoming popular here in America.  While in Philly in December I shared a great cheese bento box from Starbucks.  I recommend preparing some bento boxes for yourself early in the week that you can grab in a pinch and have a healthy, portion-controlled snack.  I’m going to be including them in my daily meal planning for those days I have to leave the house at 7 AM and don’t return until 10 PM (yes, I pack my lunch dinner and all snacks.  I really recommend this – it tends to be a much healthier alternative to being stuck somewhere at be at the mercy of quick fast-food options).

Back to our project!

I made sure that I had great fresh ingredients and got to work!  I had purchased BPA-Free plastic containers that I didn’t mind parting with (Square Entree and a round smaller).  I remembered the summer rolls that I had made prior and decided that would be the perfect healthy, creative snack.

I got fresh mint and cilantro to add some flavor in a natural, fresh way.

Julienned an English cucumber, thinly sliced a red bell pepper, and shredded a carrot

I soaked the rice paper in hot water, arranged my mint in a nice linear design, and piled on the veggies

I folded the rice paper burrito style and laid one diagonally in my little ‘Americanized bento’ box.  I put some clean eating carrot ginger dipping sauce (recipe below) in the container next to it.  For some added protein, I took some shelled endamame (not too much, it’s a snack) and tucked it on the other side.  For effect, I’m including some cool chop sticks.

You’ll remember my clean eating carrot ginger sauce from my January post:

2 medium sized peeled and chopped carrots

1 clove of garlic

2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup of rice vinegar (unseasoned)

2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons of water

Combine ingredients in blender or food processor (Vitamix is awesome here) and serve!

Wish me luck!  Here’s to healthy snacking for you!

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