There are days I hate being on a ketogenic diet. Since my pancreas doesn’t care what I think, I have to work around that.
Luckily, a reader asked for some ketogenic bento ideas. This got me to thinking more creatively, and that means meals that don’t make me grind my teeth in frustration.
Building a Good Ketogenic Bento
A good keto-friendly bento has these qualities:
- Simple to make
- Low in carbohydrate
- Tasty and satisfying
- Relevant to the day
Simple to make
If something is too difficult, or if it takes too long, you’re not going to do it consistently. For me, I want a bento that takes less than five or ten minutes to make. This means I often make use of dinnertime cooking to throw in something for the bento. I have a small countertop oven that can roast any meat you care to name pretty easily, so I’ll often put something on while I’m making dinner. After dinner, before I clean up the kitchen for the night, I prep the bento.
The bento above was unusually time-light. I took six minutes and thirty-eight seconds to make it.
Low in carbohydrate
That’s a “duh!” moment, right? What you really want for a good keto-friendly bento is not to be using up too much in the way of carbohydrate, but still ensuring you’re going to have a nutritious meal. You’ll notice the strawberries and red peppers are on the higher end of the carbohydrate scale for this meal. You do need to decide how much you want to be eating per meal, but I find that raw veggies help make a nice lunch, and strawberries round it out in a way that’s satisfying.
|Hormel – Turkey Lunch Meat, 1 slices||15||0||0||0||3||0|
|Hormel – Roast Beef Lunch Meat, 1 slices||15||0||0||1||3||0|
|Hormel – Smoked Deli Ham Lunch Meat, 1 slices, 56g||15||0||0||0||3||0|
|Cheddar cheese, 2 oz||229||2||0||19||13||0|
|Broccoli, flower clusters, raw, 0.5 cup flowerets||10||2||0||0||1||0|
|Peppers, sweet, red, raw, 0.5 cup, chopped||23||4||2||0||1||3|
|Strawberry, 0.5 cup, halves||24||6||2||0||1||4|
|Kens – Creamy Caesar Dressing, 1 tablespoons||85||1||0||10||1||1|
A low carb bento must be tasty and satisfying
You’re not going to be happy with your lunch if it doesn’t taste good. You might like different vegetables and fruits than I do. Many people who enjoy avocado find this a good way to make a meal both tasty and satisfying. Fat helps you to feel satisfied, hence the cheese and dressing dip in this meal. Also, you need to get enough fat in a ketogenic diet. It’s a lot of your nutritional balance.
Relevant to the day
When you make keto-friendly bento, it’s a good idea to give some thought about what kind of day you’re going to have. Will you be able to heat up your lunch? Will you need to be able to eat it with your hands, such as when you’re on the road.
This is an excellent lunch when you’re on the road. You can eat it quite neatly without a fork if need be.
Instead of a sandwich – verboten on a ketogenic diet, I made lunchmeat wraps. I take a slice of lunchmeat with a small, narrow slice of cheese, and wrap the meat around the cheese. You can experiment a lot here. A combination my husband and I are extremely fond of is sliced roast beef wrapped around horseradish cheese. If you like flavored or specialty cheese, these can be paired well with different deli meats. Pepperoni wrapped around fresh mozzarella is excellent, as is turkey and smoked gouda.
On days that I might not be traveling, or have time to sit down at a table like a civilized person, a salad is a common keto-friendly lunch.
When you think about the principles behind the bento you want to make, you’ll find it is easier to be creative and still stick to a diet that suits you.
What ideas do you have for a keto-friendly bento?
 For whatever your definition of “too long” happens to be
 I sooo don’t.