Guidelines

First “rule”: Goshiki or Five Colors

  • red or orange
  • yellow
  • green
  • white
  • black, purple or brown

I feel that as long as you try to get at least three colors, you are doing fine. And they don’t have to be just the traditional colors on the list. Because really, how many black foods are there? I like olives, but not so much to have them every day.

The more colors means more varied vitamins and nutrition. Also, more colors makes a prettier bento! If you have foods that are all the same color, the bento looks very bland and unappetizing. Going for an all one color lunch  usually only works if you were going for a theme, like an all green bento for St. Patrick’s day.

Second “rule”: Goho or Five Methods
  • grilled
  • fried
  • simmered
  • steamed
  • pickled/boiled

I don’t know about going through all that. I interpret this as just trying to give a myriad of textures. You don’t want an entire mushy bento, you’d want some crunch! And obviously there are a lot more cooking methods. Get creative!

Third “rule”: Gomi or Five Flavors:
  • bitter/spicy
  • salty
  • umami
  • sour
  • sweet

This one makes sense to me because if you cover all of these, you shouldn’t be craving anything after. An all salty bento would have you reaching for a candy bar after. Or maybe that’s just me. Eating the same kind of food is boring. A bento should be a feast for the eyes and the tongue!

I do not manage to accomplish all of this in EVERY lunch, but I do try! Keeping all this in mind does force me to think of different items to add every week.