Create your own Bento boxes for lunch (or snack) to keep things fun and interesting at mealtimes! Pack an assortment of your favorite foods and customize your best Bento box.
Apparently, Bento boxes have a rich history that I was not aware of until I Googled “Bento boxes” to see what the rest of the world was thinking about them.
In college when my friends would want to go out for sushi (I don’t loooove sushi like everyone else does, but I will have some, begrudgingly…) the Japanese places would have a lunch special denoted as a “Bento box”. From what I remember, it was a protein, vegetable and some sort of carb as a side.
For example, Chicken Tempura with edamame and rice would be a Bento box option. I’m sure there were more options, but I was (and mostly still am) a plain Jane who doesn’t deviate too far from what I know I like when I go out.
Bento boxes have been resurfacing now, and I’m pretty sure Starbucks did the thing where they labeled it a “bistro box” and remarketed a centuries-old idea as their own. P.S. I kind of love the protein bistro box – I’m a fan of hard boiled eggs, PB, grapes, cheese cubes…YUM.
I get tired of the same old packed lunches and don’t love ordering lunch out or heading to the local convenience store/marketplace lunch-y place (known by the Northeast as Wawa) too often. I’m sorry Wawa, your lattes and macchiatos are pretty tasty – but I am sick of your buffalo chicken wraps and “hoagies”.
Thankfully, I have 3 of these adorable and durable glass meal prep containers. They are perfect for bento box lunches and I love keeping all my food separated in these!
I’ve been moving towards an all-glass container stash for my leftovers and it’s been working out well. Nothing is worse than heating up pasta with sauce and meatballs and having it permanently stain your plastic container.
These containers are perfect because they keep all the snacks separate from one another. Nobody wants their pepperoni making friends with their peanut butter!
To make the containers even more segmented, I used silicone cupcake liners as dividers. You could use paper cupcake liners, but I like how the silicone ones are reusable and also keep peanut butter from getting weird in a paper cupcake liner.
My Bento box ideas are meant to be just that – ideas! If you don’t like grape tomatoes (my sisters helped me make these boxes and they brought their favorite snacks, I don’t love tomatoes as a snack!) pack celery instead. Don’t care for peanut butter? Almond butter is a great alternative. You know your dietary restrictions best!
Here are a few ideas of snacks you could put in your bento box:
- Apple slices
- Orange wedges
- Cheese sticks
- Cheese cubes
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Cucumber slices
- Grape tomatoes
- Pepper slices
- Baby carrots
- Celery sticks
- Pita chips
- Tortilla chips
- Roasted almonds
- Roasted peanuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Cubed chicken
- Hard boiled eggs
- Half of your favorite sandwich
- Turkey & cheese wrap roll-ups
- Pepperoni slices
- Protein bites
Easy Bento Boxes
- 1 cheese stick
- 6 slices pepperoni
- ½ apple sliced
- 12 almonds
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- In a reusable container (preferably with sections), assemble small portions of your favorite healthy foods into your bento box. Suggestions listed above include lean proteins, dairy selections, fruit, vegetables, nuts and spreads.
- Assemble your bento box and seal the lid. Keep chilled until ready to eat.
- The ingredients above are just a suggestion, feel free to substitute for things you like if you do not like what has been listed.
What lunchtime favorites am I missing? Let me know in the comments below!