Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bento boxes, tiffins can revive your lunch routine

Think inside a new box with containers that inspire creative cooks to bring lunch from home.

By Addie Broyles
Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Brown-bag lunches are about as exciting as the turkey sandwiches and bags of carrots usually packed inside them.

With the economy prompting more adults to pack their own lunches these days — more than 8 billion meals a year, according to NPD Group research, 40 percent of which contain sandwiches — the midday meal needs a makeover.

Sometimes, something as simple as changing your lunch container is all you need to reinvigorate the way you think about food consumed away from home.

Meet bento and tiffin, two out-of-the-ordinary lunch boxes that can help you get creative when you're packing your — or, come fall, your kids' — lunches.

Bento boxes and tiffins are self-contained lunch apparatus, which means no more plastic bags you use once and throw away and no more plastic containers and mismatched lids.

A balanced meal in a bento box

Bento boxes, which the Japanese have been using since the fifth century, contain several smaller containers that are meant to be filled with portions of three parts carbohydrate, one part protein and two parts fruit or vegetable.

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