For those who don't know what a bento box is, it's basically a Japanese lunch box. The lunchbox, itself, is designed to be durable, and comes with a variety of compartments and partitions to maintain the integrity of each dish. Mothers typically make bentos for their to children to take to school (PB&J, who?), but nowadays you can find them in fine dining restaurants or even convenience stores. Bento boxes come with the unspoken rule of having to be both nutritious and aesthetically pleasing. So here's how to make your own. 

Step 1: Keep It Simple

Bento shouldn't take up all of your time to make. The focus should be on a filling main, with a few sides that you enjoy. Don't feel compelled to make a dozen dishes. Traditional Hinomaru bento is just plain white rice with a single umeboshi (a pickled fruit similar to a plum/apricot).

#SpoonTip: Sick of plain white rice? Try cooking it in half stock and half water.

Step 2: Have It Hot

One of the benefits of a legit bento box (like this double decker from Takenaka) is that they're designed to keep your food warm. The key is making sure everything is piping hot when it goes in, and that hot and cold foods are kept in separate partitions. 

#SpoonTip: Put hot curry or soup in the bottom compartment of a double bento box and the heat will keep the food above it extra warm.

Step 3: Make It Hearty

Minimalism isn't the key here. Make sure your bento has a good amount of variety. You aren't trying to fill up on potato chips or cookies, you want to have a balanced meal. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from processed food and try to make your bento as colorful as you can.

Step 4: Eat Your Greens

Nutrition is a huge part of creating a bento. You want to ensure that you have energy for the rest of the day. Try to make sure that you have at least one part of your box dedicated to a veggie. Raw is best, but cooked is fine as long as you avoid drowning it in oil. 

#SpoonTip: If you're adding a dressing leave it on the side, you don't want your veggies getting soggy.

Step 5: Maintain an Aesthetic

Another important part of the bento is what it looks like. The entire concept behind having compartments is so that you can avoid spillage and messiness. Think about the presentation of your bento while you're making it—after all, we eat with our eyes first.

Now you that know how to make your own bento, toss out that old tupperware and make yourself a unique and nutritious lunch.