BENTO BOX LUNCH IDEAS | for work or back to school + healthy meal prep recipes

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. Because I love to meal prep, I also chose salads, snacks, and other recipes that are durable and can be meal prepped, saving you time in the kitchen throughout the week. It makes for fast bento box assembly!

Today we gonna make packing lunch for work or school a bit more fun because we’re using bento boxes. Bento boxes are easily customizable with compartments that you can fill with a variety of ingredients, colors, and textures to create healthy balanced meals that you can enjoy on the go or at home. And because bento boxes are normally eaten cold or at room temperature, this cuts out a hefty chunk of cooking time. In fact, there’s just a couple of ingredients that are cooked in meal prep in today’s video, the rest just require a little bit of chopping and assembly and you are done. And because bento boxes are great for both kids and adults alike, I’m happy to have a few extra hands helping me in the kitchen today. Let me introduce you to my niece, Nicolette, and my nephew, Nathan.

BENTO BOX LUNCH IDEAS | for work or back to school + healthy meal prep recipes

See the BENTO BOX LUNCH IDEAS | for work or back to school + healthy meal prep recipes in detail.

Benefits of Bento Box Lunches

Convenience

Bento box lunches offer unparalleled convenience for those who are always on the go. These compact containers are easy to pack and carry, making them ideal for work or school lunches. With the compartments in the bento box, you can easily separate different food items, allowing you to enjoy a variety of flavors and textures in one meal. Plus, bento boxes are designed to be enjoyed cold or at room temperature, eliminating the need for heating your lunch. Simply open the box and dig in!

Customizability

One of the greatest advantages of bento box lunches is their customizability. With the multiple compartments in a bento box, you have the freedom to pack a diverse range of ingredients. You can include your favorite fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains, tailoring your lunch to suit your personal taste and dietary needs. Whether you prefer a salad, sandwich, or stir fry, the possibilities are endless with a bento box. Customize your lunch to ensure that it satisfies your cravings and keeps you energized throughout the day.

Balanced Nutrition

Bento box lunches are not only convenient and customizable, but they also offer a balanced and nutritious meal option. These lunches are designed to incorporate a variety of healthy ingredients, ensuring that you are getting essential nutrients from different food groups. You can include proteins like chicken, tofu, or fish, along with a selection of colorful vegetables and whole grains. Bento boxes are perfect for portion control, allowing you to maintain a balanced diet and support your overall health and well-being.

Meal Prep for Bento Boxes

Time-saving

Preparing meals for bento boxes in advance can save you a significant amount of time in the kitchen throughout the week. By dedicating a small portion of your day to meal prepping, you can have ready-to-go lunches for several days. Instead of spending time each morning figuring out what to eat for lunch or waiting in line at a restaurant, you can simply grab your pre-made bento box and head out the door. Meal prepping for bento boxes enables you to utilize your time more efficiently and ensures that you have a healthy and delicious lunch ready whenever you need it.

Variety of Recipes

Meal prepping for bento boxes also opens up a world of recipe possibilities. You can experiment with different flavors, cuisines, and ingredients, keeping your lunches exciting and enjoyable. From salads and sandwiches to stir-fries and grain bowls, there are countless recipes that can be prepared in advance and packed in a bento box. By trying out new recipes each week, you can expand your culinary skills and discover new favorite meals. Meal prepping for bento boxes allows you to indulge in a diverse range of flavors while still maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet.

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Monbento Options

Sizes and Compartments

Monbento offers a range of bento box sizes to suit your individual needs. Whether you prefer a compact lunch or have a heartier appetite, there is a Monbento bento box that will accommodate your lunch preferences. The MB original is rectangular in shape and perfect for smaller meals, while the MB square is taller and larger, ideal for those who need more food to fuel their day. Both bento box options feature multiple compartments, allowing you to separate different food items and prevent them from mixing or getting soggy.

Leak-proof and Airtight

One of the key features of Monbento bento boxes is their leak-proof and airtight design. The silicone seal on the bento boxes ensures that your lunch stays fresh and secure, preventing any leaks or spills. Whether you pack a salad with dressing, a yogurt cup, or a saucy dish, you can trust that your bento box will keep everything contained and mess-free. The airtight seal also helps to maintain the temperature of your food, keeping it cool and delicious until you’re ready to eat.

Separate Cups for Sauces

To enhance the versatility of your bento box lunches, Monbento provides separate cups for sauces and dips. These small containers fit perfectly within the bento box compartments and allow you to pack your favorite dressings, sauces, or spreads without worrying about them spilling or making your food soggy. This feature gives you the freedom to pack a wide variety of flavors and textures, ensuring that each bite of your meal is enjoyable and satisfying.

See the BENTO BOX LUNCH IDEAS | for work or back to school + healthy meal prep recipes in detail.

Recipes from the Video

Greek Salad

In the video by Downshiftology, one of the featured recipes is a Greek salad. This refreshing and vibrant salad is packed with flavor and nutrition. To make the Greek salad, start by slicing and dicing a large cucumber and adding it to a mixing bowl. Slice a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes and add them to the bowl as well. Remove the seeds and stem from a green bell pepper and dice it into chunks. Thinly slice half of a red onion and add it to the bowl, along with four ounces of Feta cheese. Finally, add 1/2 cup of pitted and sliced Kalamata olives.

To make the homemade Greek salad dressing, combine 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar, the juice of one lemon, one tablespoon of Dijon mustard, two minced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually add 1/2 cup of olive oil to the mixture while stirring to emulsify the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Add a portion of the Greek salad to your bento box, and enjoy the refreshing flavors of this classic dish.

Zucchini Noodle Caprese

Another recipe showcased in the video is a zucchini noodle caprese. This light and flavorful salad is a delicious twist on a traditional caprese salad. To make the zucchini noodle caprese, spiralize three to four zucchini and add them to a mixing bowl. Cut eight ounces of small mozzarella balls in half and add them to the bowl. Slice eight ounces of cherry or grape tomatoes in half and add them as well.

To make the homemade basil pesto, blend two tablespoons of pine nuts, 1/4 cup of raw cashews, one packed cup of basil leaves, two garlic cloves, 1/3 cup of olive oil, one teaspoon of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper in a food processor until smooth. Add the basil pesto to the zucchini noodle and mozzarella mixture and toss to coat. Transfer a portion of the zucchini noodle caprese to your bento box and savor the fresh flavors of this nutritious salad.

Baked Herb Chicken

For a protein-packed option, the video features a recipe for baked herb chicken. This simple yet flavorful chicken is perfect for meal prepping and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Start by lightly oiling both sides of a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a casserole dish. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder. Bake the chicken in a 425-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 18 to 22 minutes, depending on thickness. Once cooked, let the chicken rest for a minute or so, then thinly slice it. Add some sliced baked herb chicken to your bento box for a protein-rich lunch option.

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Tuna Salad Sandwich

A classic lunch option, the video showcases a recipe for a tuna salad sandwich. This simple and satisfying sandwich is perfect for a quick and easy lunch. To make the tuna salad, combine a can of drained tuna fish, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, a diced stalk of celery, two tablespoons of dried onion, one tablespoon of chopped parsley, 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined, then spread the tuna salad onto your choice of bread. Add some baby spinach and slices of fresh avocado for extra flavor and nutrients. Slice the sandwich in half and pack it in your bento box for a delicious and filling lunch.

Sweet and Salty Snacks

To satisfy your midday cravings, the video features a selection of sweet and salty snacks that are perfect for bento box lunches. One option is to include plantain chips in your bento box. Plantain chips have gained popularity in recent years and make for a crunchy and flavorful snack. Add a handful of plantain chips to one compartment of your bento box for a satisfying savory bite.

Another sweet and salty snack option is a mix of raspberries and blueberries. These antioxidant-rich fruits provide a burst of natural sweetness and can be enjoyed on their own or mixed together. Place a handful of raspberries and blueberries in another compartment of your bento box to enjoy as a refreshing and nutritious snack.

Additional Recipes

In addition to the recipes showcased in the video, there are a few more delicious recipes that you can consider for your bento box lunches.

Homemade Hummus

Hummus is a versatile and nutritious dip that pairs well with a variety of veggies, crackers, or pita bread. To make homemade hummus, combine two cans of drained chickpeas, 1/3 cup of the liquid from the cans, 1/2 cup of tahini, 1/4 cup of olive oil, the juice of two lemons, two garlic cloves, one teaspoon of cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding a little water if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Transfer the hummus to a small container and pack it in your bento box alongside some celery sticks or sliced cucumbers for a satisfying and healthy snack.

Basil Pesto

Basil pesto is a flavorful and versatile sauce that can be used in various dishes. To make homemade basil pesto, combine two tablespoons of pine nuts, 1/4 cup of raw cashews (lightly toasted), one packed cup of basil leaves, two garlic cloves, 1/3 cup of olive oil, one teaspoon of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth, but still slightly chunky. Use the basil pesto as a dressing for pasta salads, as a spread for sandwiches, or as a dip for fresh vegetables. Pack a portion of basil pesto in a separate container and add it to your bento box alongside your favorite dipping veggies or crackers.

Plantain Chips

Plantain chips are a delicious and crispy alternative to regular potato chips. To make homemade plantain chips, slice green plantains into thin rounds and fry them in coconut oil until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt or your favorite seasoning to add extra flavor. Allow the chips to cool and then pack them in a separate compartment of your bento box for a tasty and satisfying snack.

Quick Dressing Recipe

To enhance the flavors of your bento box lunches, a quick and easy dressing can make all the difference. Here is a simple recipe for a homemade dressing that you can prepare in minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and honey until well combined.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adjusting the quantities to suit your preferences.
  3. Pour the dressing into a small container and add it to your bento box alongside your favorite salads or veggies.

This quick dressing adds a burst of flavor to your bento box lunches and can be customized with different herbs or spices according to your taste.

Enhancing the Flavors

To take your bento box lunches to the next level, you can enhance the flavors of certain fruits or vegetables by adding a simple dressing. One example is cucumber slices with dressing.

Cucumber Slices with Dressing

To enhance the refreshing flavor of cucumber slices, you can add a simple dressing. Start by slicing a cucumber into thin rounds. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing ingredients together until well combined. Place the cucumber slices in a separate compartment of your bento box and pour the dressing over them. This adds a tangy and zesty flavor to the cucumbers, making them even more enjoyable to eat.

Another Bento Box Idea

For those who love seafood, another bento box idea is smoked salmon pinwheels with herb goat cheese and homemade tortillas. This flavorful and satisfying meal can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature.

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels

To make smoked salmon pinwheels, start by spreading a layer of herb goat cheese onto a large tortilla wrap. Place slices of smoked salmon on top of the goat cheese, covering the entire surface. Roll the tortilla tightly and slice it into bite-sized pinwheels. Pack the pinwheels in your bento box for a protein-rich and delicious lunch option.

Herb Goat Cheese

To make the herb goat cheese, combine goat cheese with chopped fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, dill, or chives. This adds a fragrant and flavorful element to the smoked salmon pinwheels, complementing the salty and smoky taste of the salmon.

Homemade Tortillas

For a personal touch, you can make your own tortillas to use in the smoked salmon pinwheels. With just a few simple ingredients like flour, water, and salt, you can create soft and pliable tortillas that are perfect for rolling up your favorite fillings. Making homemade tortillas allows you to control the ingredients and ensure that your lunch is made with love and care.

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad

For a refreshing and summery side dish, a watermelon, cucumber, and Feta salad is a perfect addition to your bento box. This salad combines juicy watermelon, crunchy cucumber, and creamy Feta cheese, creating a balance of flavors and textures.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cubed watermelon
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled Feta cheese
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cubed watermelon, sliced cucumber, and crumbled Feta cheese.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and honey until well combined.
  3. Drizzle the lime-honey dressing over the watermelon, cucumber, and Feta mixture and gently toss to coat.
  4. Garnish the salad with fresh mint leaves for an extra burst of flavor.
  5. Add a portion of the watermelon, cucumber, and Feta salad to your bento box as a refreshing and hydrating side.

Conclusion

In conclusion, bento box lunches offer a convenient, customizable, and nutritious option for those who are always on the go. By incorporating a variety of healthy ingredients into your bento boxes, you can create balanced and vibrant meals that keep you energized throughout the day. With meal prep, you can save time in the kitchen and ensure that you always have a delicious and satisfying lunch ready to enjoy. Monbento provides a range of options for bento boxes, including different sizes, compartments, and leak-proof features. With the recipes showcased in the video and additional ideas like homemade hummus, basil pesto, and plantain chips, you can explore a world of flavors and textures in your bento box lunches. Enhance the flavors of your fruits and vegetables with a quick dressing or try out different bento box ideas like smoked salmon pinwheels with herb goat cheese and homemade tortillas. The possibilities are endless with bento box lunches, and they offer a fun and enjoyable way to pack your meals. From refreshing salads to protein-rich sandwiches, bento boxes can be tailored to your personal tastes and dietary needs. So, why not give it a try? Pack your own bento box lunch and discover the joy of delicious and nutritious meals on the go. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Downshiftology channel for more recipe inspiration and future chicken recipe ideas. Enjoy your bento box lunches and happy eating!

See the BENTO BOX LUNCH IDEAS | for work or back to school + healthy meal prep recipes in detail.

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