That first day of school is right around the corner, and if you’re like us, you’re already stressed about what to pack for the kids’ lunches. But the kids lunches aren’t the only lunches we struggle with, we would like something other than an iced coffee, at best, for our midday meal too. That’s where bento boxes come in! Let’s talk about ‘em.
If you’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant, then you’re probably a little familiar with bento boxes already. If not, think of a packed meal ready to be eaten, but way cooler than a traditional American lunchbox because everything is neatly tucked into containers.
When it comes to assembling your or your kiddo’s bento box keep in mind that variety is the spice of life. Typically you count on the following formula: carb, protein, vegetable, pickled vegetable, or fruit, and these foods will appear in a 4:3:2:1 ratio. Our best advice is to shop for foods seasonally and to always pair flavors. (You wouldn’t want pickles next to your sweet treat, ya know?)
Okay, let’s talk lunch ideas.
Kids love pizza, we love pizza, everybody loves pizza making this a great idea for anyone and everyone’s bento box lunch. Make a pizza out of English muffins or thin bagels, marinara sauce, cheese, and toppings, then pick your vegetable, fruit, and a little something sweet. (We love a good granola bar!)
Quesadillas are another crunchy, melty, full of flavor food that are as delicious as they are filling. You can make these with cheese, meat, beans, and/or veggies, then complete your box with some fresh avocado and mixed berries.
Chicken (or Turkey) Wrap
Wraps are always a good idea and we love ours jam-packed with our favorite meat, cheeses, and crispy garden vegetables. From here, you can opt for a handful of vegetable crisps or crackers, raw carrots, and apple slices with peanut butter.
Cheese and Crackers
We love when worlds collide, especially when those worlds are bento boxes and charcuterie. Stuff your box with crackers, a few slices of your favorite cheeses, sliced meats, and a small helping of fresh fruit salad to create a bento box that is both sweet and savory.
We know that not all kids like hard-boiled eggs, but if they do or you do, of course, these are a great source of protein that will keep you full throughout your day. (Sprinkle a little everything seasoning on them and you won’t ever look back!) Then finish off this box with some fresh bell pepper slices, cucumbers, and a granola bar.