From Brown Bag to Bento: The Latest in Lunches
Brown bag lunches are a great alternative to eating out every day. They save you money and give you more control of what goes into your lunch. But now there’s a fresh, creative way to pack your lunch: in a bento box! With their convenient compartments, bento boxes make it easy to pack healthy, well-portioned lunches for work or school. Never seen one? You can grab your own here, here or here, and jump in on the fun.
Once you get a bento box, it’s time to decide what to fill it with. Try to fill the larger portion with a combination of protein and whole grains and the smaller compartments with fruit and vegetables for a well-rounded lunch. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
Sushi Sandwiches: Not only are these “sandwich sushi rolls” adorable, but they’re also packed with healthy protein (tuna salad) and fresh veggies. The whole grain bread and colorful fruit rounds out this nutritious mid-day meal.
Grilled Chicken Salad with Spinach and Barley: Bento boxes are great for salads! The large compartments are perfect for your greens and protein, while the smaller sections keep toppings and dressings fresh and organized. This spinach salad is packed with vitamins and healthy fats like avocado and pine nuts.
Peanut Butter Banana Wrap: This recipe turns a childhood favorite into a grown-up go-to. The whole wheat wrap provides healthy fiber and is a mess-free way to eat peanut butter and banana. Add more color and flavor with some fresh fruits and veggies like kiwi, grapes and carrots.
Black Bean Pasta Salad: This bento box lunch is sure to keep you full and satisfied all day long. The protein-packed black beans in this salad make it a great meat-free option that doesn’t skimp on nutrition. Add some texture with crunchy crudité and sweet berries.
Pita Sandwich Bento: Even if you don’t have a bento box on hand, it is easy to improvise with silicon cupcake liners or other small containers. That’s exactly what’s done here, with this lunch of a pita sandwich, Mediterranean-inspired salad and some trail mix for dessert.