Bento Box Lunch Ideas – For Work or School – Downshiftology

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Bento Box Lunch Ideas

Bento Box Lunch Ideas

Bento box lunches are a great way to pack for lunch on-the-go. Choose an assortment of healthy ingredients for vibrant meals and balanced nutrition that’s utterly convenient for work or school. The best part? You often don’t need to heat them up. So all you have to do is open the box, dig in, and enjoy.

Several bento box lunches arranged next to each other on a countertop.Several bento box lunches arranged next to each other on a countertop.

Back to school season is here, which means busy schedules are back, along with the need for quick yet satisfying meals. While my meal prep ideas are one way to solve this problem, I’m excited to introduce you to  a new method that will make your healthy lunch a breeze: bento boxes.

Thanks to this Japanese tradition, organizing fun and healthy meals couldn’t be any easier. And because bentos are normally eaten cold or at room temperature, this cuts out a hefty chunk of cooking time. Now let’s get prepping.

What Is In A Bento Box Lunch?

Learning how to make a successful bento box lunch is quite simple once you know what types of ingredients to include. Here’s a few key tips on what foods to consider and how to make the most of your box compartments.

  • Keep it nutritionally balanced. Creating a healthy, balanced meal is the goal here. So load up on a variety of vegetables and protein. With moderate amounts of fruits and carbs.
  • Think packable foods. Bento boxes are convenient because you often don’t need to heat up anything, and the food is already portioned. Main meals can include wholesome salads, wraps, sandwiches or sushi. While snacks can be all types of fruits, freshly chopped vegetables, dips, nuts and seeds, or energy balls.
  • Don’t slack on presentation. In Japanese culture, the way food is presented reflects the way it tastes. Which is why bento boxes are made up of small compartments. It helps to organize every part of your meal without it all mushing together. And to keep your presentation on point, get creative with colors and textures! This can easily be done by adding colorful fruits to one compartment or adding extra leafy greens to your sandwich.

How to Make A Bento Box Video

Want to see how I assemble my bento box? Watch the video below!

Easy And Healthy Bento Box Lunch Ideas

While there’s so many different combinations you can make with a bento box, here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Bento box filled with zucchini noodles, chicken and berries.Bento box filled with zucchini noodles, chicken and berries.

Zucchini Noodle Caprese and Baked Chicken Bento Box

Zucchini noodles make for the perfect cold pasta, especially when you toss it with caprese flavors. But to amp up the protein in this meal, we’re adding a simple baked herbed chicken to go along with it. Along with a handful of fresh berries to round out the meal.

Bento box filled with tuna salad sandwich, fruit salad and chips.Bento box filled with tuna salad sandwich, fruit salad and chips.

Tuna Salad Sandwich and Melon Salad Bento Box

You can never go wrong with a classic tuna salad sandwich for lunch. It’s light, filling, and so refreshing. And for easy fruit and veggie additions, this box holds cucumber slices, baked plantain chips, and a fun melon mozzarella salad.

Bento box filled with Greek salad, hard boiled egg, celery and hummus.Bento box filled with Greek salad, hard boiled egg, celery and hummus.

Greek Salad and Hard Boiled Eggs Bento Box

If you love all things Mediterranean, this box is for you. A bright greek salad loaded with veggies is paired with simple yet nutritional snacks. Just blend together a bit of hummus, chop some celery sticks, and add a hard boiled egg.

Bento box filled with pinwheels, energy balls and fruit salad.Bento box filled with pinwheels, energy balls and fruit salad.

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels and Watermelon Salad Bento Box

Another great cold seafood option is one of my all-time favorites: smoked salmon. I’m using this ingredient to make delicious smoked salmon pinwheels on top of a bed of spinach. Then, take this meal one step further with a watermelon, cucumber and feta salad and my matcha pistachio bliss balls for a filling snack.

The Best Bento Box to Use

You’ll often find me using my favorite glass containers for meal prep, but they’re just not practical for taking lunch on-the-go. My favorite bento boxes are lightweight, secure, and leak-proof. And after trying several different brands I found the bento boxes pictured above to be the best.

You can get them in a variety of shapes, including square and rectangular, as well as colors and styles. Might as well choose a bento box that suits your personality!

Several bento boxes on a table with different lunch recipes and ingredients.Several bento boxes on a table with different lunch recipes and ingredients.

Bento Box Lunch Ideas (For School or Work)

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Bento box lunches are a great way to pack for lunch on-the-go. Choose an assortment of healthy ingredients for vibrant meals and balanced nutrition that’s utterly convenient for work or school.

Ingredients

Zucchini Noodle Caprese and Baked Chicken

  • 1

    recipe

    zucchini noodle caprese

  • 1

    boneless skinless chicken breast

  • 1

    cup

    baby arugula

  • 1/3

    cup

    raspberries and blueberries

Tuna Salad Sandwich and Melon Salad

Greek Salad and Hard Boiled Eggs

  • 1

    recipe

    greek salad

  • 1

    recipe

    hummus

  • 1

    hard boiled egg

  • 2

    stalks

    celery

    ,

    chopped

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels and Watermelon Salad

  • 1

    recipe

    smoked salmon pinwheels

  • 1

    cup

    baby spinach

  • 1

    recipe

    watermelon, cucumber, and feta salad

  • 1

    recipe

    matcha pistachio bliss balls

Instructions 

  • Follow each of the individual recipes to make the components. Then assemble and place in the bento boxes.

Lisa’s Tips

  • The nutrition facts are based off the Zucchini Noodle Caprese and Baked Chicken Bento Box
  • Note that these recipes create full servings, so leftovers will need to be stored in containers in the fridge. Then, just prep the bento boxes the following days. 

Nutrition

Calories:

334

kcal

,

Carbohydrates:

11

g

,

Protein:

38

g

,

Fat:

16

g

,

Saturated Fat:

8

g

,

Cholesterol:

116

mg

,

Sodium:

388

mg

,

Potassium:

1107

mg

,

Fiber:

3

g

,

Sugar:

7

g

,

Vitamin A:

2376

IU

,

Vitamin C:

52

mg

,

Calcium:

1308

mg

,

Iron:

2

mg

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