Have you ever heard of bento boxes?
Neither had I until recently, but once I discovered them, I realized how insanely perfect they are for work lunches.
Because sure, you can keep spending your precious lunch break getting takeout, or eating the same turkey sandwich over and over again, or you can try out this fun (healthy!) way to pack your lunch.
So first off…
What are bento boxes?
The original idea of a bento box comes from Japanese culture. Traditionally, bento boxes would hold rice/noodles, with some type of meat, and cooked vegetables, all contained in a multi-section box.
The modern concept for a bento box is similar in the sense that is composed of different portions that satisfy different food categories, all contained within that same multi-section box. So, for example, you’ll have a portion of fruits and vegetables, a serving of protein, and perhaps some type of carb, depending on your diet.
The main idea, though, is that the meal is relatively simple, composed of different food categories, and all contained within one “box.”
Don’t worry, once I show you some examples of tasty bento boxes, you’ll quickly understand, so without further adieu, let’s chat about some bento boxes that you can pack for your next work lunch.
Try one of these 7 bento boxes that you can easily pack for lunch
1. Lunch Meat and Crackers Bento Box
Don’t have time to make a sandwich? Trying to cut back on your carb intake? Try this yummy salami and crackers bento box.
Simply throw some of your favorite lunch meat into the bento box, some crackers (go for a fiber rich cracker to keep your carbs low and your belly full…these are the fiber crackers that Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential always raves about), and a nice helping of fruits and veggies for additional fiber.
Check out this bento box idea here.
If you’re trying to keep your carbs low as a weight management tool, make sure you’re adding plenty of fiber to your diet. Any fiber that you eat, you can subtract from your carb intake to give you your net carbs. Your net carbs are what will actually impact your weight loss. That’s why something like these fiber crackers can be so beneficial for weight loss, because they actually take away from any carbs that you take in throughout the day.
2. Grilled Chicken Salad Bento Box
No doubt about it: salads are always a go-to healthy lunch option. But what if the idea of spending your morning waiting for a salad doesn’t excite you?
Well, then it’s time to spice it up with this bento box idea.
Start with all the greens and veggies, but then throw in some avocado for a nice helping of healthy fat, and perhaps some dried mango pieces to curb that sweet tooth (these are my favorite), and guaranteed you’ll be dreaming of this bento box all throughout your morning.
Pro Tip: To make this bento box even easier, pick up some chicken at the grocery store that’s already cooked, so you can cut down on prep time.
Check out this bento box here.
3. Mexican Quinoa Bento Box
In the mood for some Mexican food, but don’t have the time to whip anything up?
Well, then it’s time you try out this easy bento box.
Consisting of easy-to-make quinoa, fried up peppers, and some protein rich beans, this is a bento box that will take you less than 5 minutes to throw together (cook a big batch of quinoa on Sunday for the week; it only takes 15 minutes).
To really take this bento box to the next level, try adding nice serving of salsa to the quinoa, along with some avocado. Top it all off with some Mexican seasoning or hot sauce for an extra splash of flavor! (this hot sauce is perfect if you like medium heat, but with some tang)
Check out this Mexican inspired bento box here.
And, if you want to keep it environmentally friendly with a glass bento box, as shown above, this option is both freezer and oven safe for convenience.
4. Turkey Club Roll-Ups Bento Box
Maybe there’s nothing you love more than a turkey sandwich, but you’re looking for some more nutrition in your lunch?
Well, then I think you’re going to love this bento box.
With a turkey sandwich as your main course, in this bento box, you also have plenty of other options to help keep you full and energized all throughout your day. A hard boiled egg will give you your protein, grapes will satisfy that pesky sugar craving, and I think we all know that you can’t go wrong with some cherry tomatoes in your life.
Check out this yummy (and visually appealing!) bento box here.
5. Buffalo Chicken Bento Box
Make these delicious buffalo chicken meatballs in your instant pot on a Sunday night, and voila, you’ve got a delicious addition to your bento box that you can have all throughout your work week.
Change up your sides, and each day will feel like a different box!
For example, maybe one day bring carrots and celery with hummus, maybe another day add some quinoa, or perhaps even switch it up entirely with some cheese and crackers, or apples and peanut butter. That’s the wonderful thing about bento boxes: you can keep changing them up, and adding different combos so that lunch never gets boring!
Learn more about these delicious buffalo chicken meatballs here.
If you’d like a pack of multiple bento boxes for the whole family, I found these colorful options, which work perfectly when packing lunches for multiple people.
6. Super Healthy Variety Bento Box
This bento box might be the easiest one of this entire list (no cooking involved!), and it’s also probably the most visually appealing as well.
Not to mention, this little combo is extremely healthy.
Can’t go wrong with some protein, combined with all the fruit and veg, right?
Check out this healthy bento box here.
7. DIY Starbucks Protein Bento Box
So easy you’re going to wonder why you ever paid for this combo.
Hard boil some eggs for the week, throw one or two in a box, along with some fruits and veg, a piece of cheese, and maybe some pita, and you’ve got yourself a bento box for everyday this week! Could it be any easier?
If you want to make your own Starbucks bento box, you’ll find the recipe here.
Oh, and if you love yourself some Starbucks, and you’re on the hunt for new drink combos, be sure to check out this post I did on all my favorite drinks from the Starbucks “secret menu.”
One thing that I learned while compiling this post is that bento boxes are really all about the visuals.
I mean, sure, the taste is obviously very important, but if it’s not clear from looking at the photos from above, how the food is presented in a bento box makes it much more appealing.
And, as anyone who has ever had to eat something that didn’t look visually appealing knows, we eat with our eyes.
Or, in other words, how your food is presented to you can really dictate your excitement to eat it.
In addition, the other thing I learned about bento boxes is that your combinations are endless. Fill up your bento box compartments with things like cheese, fiber crackers, pretzels, hard boiled eggs, fruits, mini sandwiches, quinoa, salad, lunch meat, etc. You can continually keep trying different combos!
And so, if you want to ramp up your lunches, try out some of these easy bento boxes, bring them to work, and just watch as all your coworkers start envying your delicious lunch.
If you liked these bento box recipe ideas, feel free to share this image with your Pinterest followers. Have an awesome day, friends! xx