Move over mason jars, there’s a new kid in town—and he’s fun, all right.

Let me introduce you to the bento box. Traditionally used in the Japanese culture to hold rice, meat or fish, and veggies, the bento box is the perfect container to bring your lunch (and snacks!) to work each day. Sure, you could just use a Ziploc bag or Tupperware, but with absolutely no extra effort, you can create a lunch that you’ll actually be excited to open up and dig into.

Best of all? You really can make one of these adult Lunchables with anything you have on hand. To get you started, I’ve created three tasty bento lunches from ingredients I had at home in my pantry and fridge so you can see how easy it is. Then, I’ve included some additional suggestions below for other easy to mix-and-match bento ingredients.

Oh, and if you’re not sure where to find a bento box, not to worry—check out your local Target or Walmart, or find them online at The Container Store, Macy's, reuseit, or on Amazon.

Happy bento-ing!


Bento Box #1

Ingredients

  • Egg salad and crackers
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Dried fruit
  • String cheese and salami


Bento Box #2

Ingredients

  • Pasta salad
  • Cherries
  • Mixed nuts and dark chocolate
  • Cheese and olives


Bento Box #3

Ingredients

  • Carne asada taco with grilled onions and peppers (leftovers from the night before!)
  • Black beans and tortilla chips
  • Raspberries and blueberries
  • Almonds and cookies


Other Bento Box Ideas

  • Turkey and avocado wrap
  • Sliced salami and cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Chips and dip
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Cooked edamame
  • Hummus and celery
  • Greek salad
  • Green beans tossed in a light vinaigrette
  • Sliced nectarines or peaches
  • Baked chickpeas
  • Cubed cheese
  • Roast chicken breast
  • Caprese salad
  • Almond butter with apple slices tossed in lemon
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Melon wrapped in prosciutto
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Chicken kabobs
  • Kale salad
  • Fruit leather
  • Orange slices
  • Carrots and ranch
  • Granola with yogurt
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Sushi
  • Mini bagel with cream cheese
  • Sliced watermelon
  • Baked chips
  • Popcorn
  • Meatballs with tzatziki
  • Sliced kiwi
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Ham and cheese rollups
  • Tuna salad
  • M&Ms mixed with almonds

Need more inspiration? Check out Weelicious’ Instagram feed, this roundup by Greatist, or Laptop Lunches’ bento menus—there are so many creative, healthy ideas that will get you seriously excited for lunch each day.


Photos courtesy of Niki Lowry.