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Do you have a bento box but aren’t sure how to fill it? Whether it’s for you or your kids, there are some easy ways to make sure what is inside is balanced and provides a satisfying meal. I love bento boxes because they keep everything so organized and are so pretty and colorful when it’s time to eat. (We do eat with our eyes!) Read on below for how to build an easy bento box menu.
What is a bento box?
A bento box is a Japanese-style lunchbox made for one person, that typically consists of a variety of foods, including rice, vegetables, meat, fish, and sometimes fruits and desserts. The term “bento” refers to a historical way simple meals were distributed to individuals during the 1500’s by a military commander in Japan.
They have taken off in America as they are a convenient way to make sure you have all your healthy foods in one place. It holds smaller size portions (normal size) and it provides 2-3 courses which makes for a satisfying meal.
What is a Traditional Bento Box Menu?
- Rice: Typically a portion of white rice.
- Vegetables: A variety of vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes, are often included in bento boxes.
- Meat or Fish: A small portion of cooked meat, such as chicken, pork, or fish, is often included in bento boxes or a small portion of cooked fish, such as tuna or salmon.
- Fruits: A small portion of fruit, such as apple or banana, or berries.
- Desserts: A small piece of dessert, such as a cookie or cake, is sometimes included in bento boxes.
Bento Box Tips
When making a bento box at home, it is important to use fresh, high-quality ingredients and store them so nothing spoils by the time you will be enjoying your meal. That means, either store it in the refrigerator, or pack on ice or in a cooler until you are ready to eat.
Quick Bento Box Packing Tips:
- Use fresh, high-quality ingredients.
- Pack the bento box in a way that will keep the food fresh and prevent it from getting soggy or spoiled.
- Use a variety of colors and textures in your bento box.
- If making for kids: Decorate your bento box with fun stickers.
- Make your bento box a fun and enjoyable meal.
Video Cookalong: Healthy Meal Ideas with a Bento Box
Easy Bento Box Menu
Grab my free printable below so you can make your own Bento Box Lunches!
5 Steps to Build a Balanced Bento Box Menu
Bento boxes are a fun way to create a balanced lunch menu that is healthy, delicious, and mobile! With the right combination of ingredients, you can build a bento box that is balanced and will keep you full until your next meal.
You can find traditional Japanese-style bento boxes online or you can use any type of airtight container with multiple compartments.
If you don’t have a bento box yet, try this one that I love using! It’s double decker and has plenty of room for all your favorite foods.
Protein is an essential component of any balanced snack and it keeps you feeling satisfied between meals. Some good options include boiled eggs, cottage cheese, hummus, edamame beans, and roasted chickpeas.
Go for color with fruits and vegetables! Carrot sticks, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and berries are all convenient. Eating a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits ensure you are consuming plenty of health-promoting antioxidants.
Carbohydrates are a great source of quick energy. Select complex carbs like whole-grain crackers, pretzels, mini-bagels, rice cakes, or pita chips.
Nuts and seeds are perfect here and add great texture! Olives and nut butter will also add variety and a good dose of healthy fats. Including healthy fats in your snack game can support the reduction of inflammation and contribute to feeling fuller longer.
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