Back-to-school season always feels bittersweet. On one end, you can count on your home being just a little bit quieter. On the other, you realize it’s another year in the books, one that always seems to go by way too fast. Much of it seems out of your control, but one thing you can count on is knowing your kids have a healthy filling lunch to fuel their day.
Lunch has evolved since we roamed the school halls, and bento boxes give you a unique opportunity to both get creative with the meals you pack and reinforce the importance of sustainability—even if it is an afterthought for them. They also make meal prepping easy—you can put together meals ahead of time so they can just grab and go. Bento boxes are the perfect solution for the modern parent making modern school lunches.
What are bento boxes?
Bento boxes originated in Japan but have gained immense popularity worldwide due to their practicality and versatility. These containers typically consist of multiple compartments, allowing you to pack a variety of foods in a single, visually appealing package. They are the perfect canvas for creating well-rounded, enticing meals.
What are the benefits of bento boxes?
Bento boxes are consciously designed to minimize their environmental impact with the reduction of single-use plastics like ziplock bags. They are also often made from sustainable materials like stainless steel, bamboo, or BPA-free plastics.
Portion control is a fundamental aspect of maintaining a healthy diet. Bento boxes excel here! The individual compartments naturally limit the amount of food you can pack, so that your child receives a balanced meal without overindulging in any particular item.
Variety and Creativity
One of the most exciting aspects of using bento boxes is the opportunity for culinary creativity. These boxes encourage you to include a diverse mix of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains for a balanced lunch setup. The compartments provide a canvas for arranging colorful and enticing meals that are not only nutritious but also visually appealing. Who knows, it might even spark your child’s interest in eating healthily.
Investing in high-quality bento boxes pays off in the long run. These containers are built to last, with durable materials that can withstand the rigors of daily use. You won’t find yourself constantly replacing lunch containers, saving you money and reducing waste over time.
Using Bento Boxes
Plan ahead by taking some time to think about your child’s meals for the week. This will save so much time during those busy mornings. Get creative by using cookie cutters to shape fruits and vegetables into fun designs.
On hectic school mornings, having prepped ingredients ready can be a lifesaver. Chop fruits and veggies the night before and have them ready for quick assembly in the morning. The best part? You can include your little one as an activity you do together. Let them choose from a selection of healthy options to include in their bento box to get them excited for their meal and make them feel empowered in their choices.
Bento Box Lunch Ideas
Get inspired by these ideas to add to your bento box recipe rotation.
PB&J Sushi Rolls
- Peanut butter and jelly sushi rolls made with whole-grain bread
- Sliced bananas or grapes
- A side of yogurt for dipping
Chicken Nugget Bento
- Chicken nuggets with a side of ketchup or honey mustard
- Mini corn on the cob or steamed broccoli florets
- Watermelon cubes or mixed berries
DIY Tacos Bento
- Mini taco shells with seasoned ground beef or beans
- Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and shredded cheese
- Sliced avocado or guacamole
- Mini sweet peppers for a touch of sweetness
Rice and Chicken Bento
- Teriyaki or lemon herb chicken strips
- Steamed rice or rice balls with seaweed
- Snap peas or edamame
- Sliced pineapple or mango
Hummus & Veggie Bento
- Mini pita bread or whole-grain crackers
- Hummus for dipping
- Sliced bell peppers, cucumber, and baby carrots
- Blueberries or a fruit salad
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