The bento box is an ideal combination of functional and stylish, making it the perfect lunch companion for kindergarteners and workplace warriors alike.
It has long been a staple of Japanese culture, elevated in the 17th century from humble beginnings into an art form, with carefully prepared meals served in ornate lacquered-wood boxes during tea parties and at the theatre. Jump to the 21st century, when the bento box started gaining popularity in the west. Segmented snack boxes are now sold at Starbucks and convenience stores, and snazzy bento boxes line the shelves of houseware shops.
The neat compartmentalization allows you to fit several mini-meals and snacks into one compact container, so you can make sure you have enough food to get you through the work day (4 p.m. munchies, anyone?). They’re also just plain fun to eat from.
But all those compartments mean owners may be seeking some combination inspiration; here are 13 bento box ideas, from on-the-go breakfasts to desk lunches and everything in between:
Take breakfast to go
So much better than a sub-par breakfast sandwich.
Homemade waffles and fruit
Try it: Ultimate waffles
Ham and egg roll-ups, fruit salad and mini scones
Try it: Buttery scones
Overnight oatmeal with fresh fruit
Try it: Overnight chia oatmeal
Mini pancakes and hard-boiled eggs
Try it: Banana oatmeal pancakes
Liven up lunch time
Say no to sad desk lunches, and pack a meal you’ll be looking forward to all morning.
Veggie-packed sandwiches and energy bites
Mini quiches, fruit salad and muffins
Try it: Crustless mini quiches
Veggies and hummus with pita
Try it: Creamy hummus
Chicken, rice And black bean burrito bowl
Try it: Beef burrito bowl
Get a lunch box that can do both
Now, breakfast, lunch and snacks are all in the bag.
Yogurt parfait & quinoa-veggie power bowl
A trio of pastas & berry-topped waffles
Try it: Blackberry waffles with compote
Berry smoothie bowl & pesto penne
Papaya-yogurt breakfast boats & couscous pilaf
Try it: Peach and chicken couscous salad