A lot of people try switching up their eating habits in January. Some are trying to be healthier, some want to eat less meat, and some simply want to try new foods. But we tend to fall into food ruts pretty quickly. How do we combat it? With delicious bento box lunch ideas, of course. Bento boxes are one of our favorite ways to switch up boring lunch routines and introduce new food combos into our days. After all, there are only so many ways to make a salad seem new and exciting.
So, what is a bento box, exactly? Traditionally, they were single-portion, easy-to-pack meals carried to work by Japanese workers sometime around the fifth century — yeah, these babies go way back. Today, they’re still used as an easy way to pack lunch and are often divided into two or three sections so your food stays separated. The best part about bento boxes is the options are literally endless and completely customizable. But because it’s so easy to get stuck in a boring lunch routine, we’ve come up with some quick and easy bento box lunch ideas for you to try if your midday meal could use a little jazzing up.
Appetizers for Lunch
Appetizers are our favorite part of the meal anyway, so why not eat them for lunch? Pair some deviled eggs with crispy bread and top the bread with your favorite simple bruschetta topping for a delicious and balanced lunch.
Baked Tofu & Vegetables
January is a great time to try to cut back on the amount of meat you consume, but that doesn’t mean cutting back on flavor. Try baking tofu with a little olive oil and your favorite spices to give it lots of flavor. Add roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots and peanut sauce as a side.
Beef & Broccoli
Brown rice, stir-fried beef and broccoli with sesame seeds for a topping is a simple and tasty lunch that is also easy to meal-prep ahead of time.
BLT Quinoa Bowl
Who said BLTs can’t be healthy? Ditch the bread, and add crumbled bacon, butter lettuce, tomato and quinoa together for a nutrient-packed version of everyone’s favorite sandwich.
Cheese is everyone’s favorite food group, right? Pair it with some crackers and your favorite fruit (we suggest grapes), and you’ve got a satisfying and filling lunch.
Chicken & Sweet Potato
Cut a sweet potato into wedges and roast them with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Add some breaded chicken tenders, roasted broccoli and a honey mustard dipping sauce, and you’ve got a lunch that will keep you full all afternoon.
Chicken Salad Lettuce Boat
Lettuce boats are a great solution if you’re trying to cut back on bread. Spread some mayo on a piece of lettuce, and add carrots, celery and sliced chicken for an easy “sandwich” without all the carbs.
Our moms made us ants on a log for a reason; they were delicious! Why did we ever stop eating them? Spread some peanut butter on celery sticks, top it with raisins and pair it with a homemade or store-bought chickpea salad for a super tasty vegetarian meal.
A club sandwich is an easy way to use up leftover deli meat and veggies. Put some turkey, lettuce, tomatoes and whatever else you happen to have on hand between some whole-wheat bread slices and add an apple for a sweet but healthy dessert.
Greek salads are great because they don’t get soggy like traditional salads. Add some grilled chicken for protein and some pita chips for a nice crunch, and you’ll be set.
Tacos may be hard to pack for lunch, but a DIY taco salad is super-easy. Put some ground beef, shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole and tortilla chips in your bento box. Simply combine when it’s time for lunch.
Create a protein-packed pinwheel by taking a slice of turkey, adding some cheese, carrots and spinach and rolling it up like you would a tortilla. Then slice and eat it up.
Veggie Pita & Hummus
Hummus is one of the easiest and simplest lunches going. Choose a couple of hummus flavors and then add a bunch of different things to dip in it. We love pita chips, peppers, cucumber sticks and olives.
Place half an avocado, a slice of toast, a sliced hard-boiled egg and some fruit in your box. When it’s lunchtime, mash the avocado with a fork, spread it on the toast, top it with the egg and have the fruit for dessert
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