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Are you running out of healthy lunch ideas? These 5 quick and healthy bento box lunch ideas are high in protein to fill you up and get you out of your lunch rut.

What are Bento Boxes?

Bento box lunch ideas
Image credit: Canva

You may have seen Bento boxes in your neighborhood Starbucks, as they are a common menu item there. They contain multiple portion-controlled compartments in a “box” to make a balanced meal and have gained popularity among home cooks all around the world.

Or, maybe you’ve heard of them for kids’ lunches. But did you know there are bento box lunch ideas for adults?

Bento boxes, or “bento” for short are a type of meal originating from Japan commonly used for home-packed meals or takeout.  They hold traditional Japanese ingredients such as noodles or rice, meat or fish, and pickled veggies. 

Now, American versions have been popping up everywhere as an easy and balanced meal option.

I often recommend Bento boxes for my clients who are looking for more variety, especially with their lunch options. Lunch can get boring quickly and often are a meal that falls by the wayside. 

But eating a subpar or boring lunch can lead to cravings, snacking, and overeating later in the day. 

If you struggle with finding balanced meals for lunch that satisfy you, adding some bento ideas to your meal routine can help support your weight loss goals.

Bento boxes for lunch are incredibly easy to prepare and don’t require any heating up. So no matter where you’re eating your lunch, you can conveniently grab your bento and enjoy.

Here are 7 bento box lunch ideas, both sweet and savory, that you can mix and match with what you have. Keep these in your recipe arsenal when it’s time for your weekly meal prep!

5 Bento Box Lunch Ideas

1. Egg and Cheese Bento Box

Egg and cheese bento box
Image credit: Canva

Ingredients:

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 slices of whole-grain bread
  • 1 slice of cheese (your preference)
  • 1 small apple
  • A handful of baby carrots
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • A small serving of hummus
  • A few pieces of dried fruit (like apricots or raisins)

Instructions:

  • 1. Boil the eggs to your desired level of doneness (about 9-12 minutes for hard-boiled). Once done, cool them under cold water, peel, and slice them in halves.
  • 2. Toast the whole-grain bread to your liking. Cut the slice of cheese in half and place it on one slice of bread. Cover it with the other slice and then cut the sandwich into quarters.
  • 3. Core and slice the apple.
  • 4. Rinse the baby carrots and cherry tomatoes.
  • 5. In your bento box, reserve a section for each ingredient: the egg halves, quartered sandwich, apple slices, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, hummus, and dried fruit.
  • 6. You can place the hummus in a small container or directly in its compartment if your bento box has one that’s suitable.
  • Cover the bento box and refrigerate until you’re ready to take it with you.

Enjoy your egg and cheese bento box! This combination offers a balanced meal with protein from the eggs and cheese, carbohydrates from the bread, and satiating fiber from the fruits and vegetables. The hummus adds a protein-packed option to accompany your veggies.

2. Turkey and Cheese Bento Box

Bento box lunch ideas
Image credit: Canva

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of whole-grain bread
  • 2-3 slices of turkey breast
  • 1 slice of cheese (your preference)
  • 1 small orange or a handful of grapes
  • A handful of baby spinach or mixed greens
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • A small serving of your favorite dressing (like vinaigrette or light ranch)
  • A few whole-grain crackers

Instructions:

  • 1. Start by making your sandwich. Place the turkey and cheese on one slice of the whole grain bread, top with the second slice, and cut into quarters.
  • 2. Peel the orange and separate it into segments, or wash and dry the grapes if you’ve chosen those.
  • 3. Rinse the baby spinach or mixed greens and cherry tomatoes.
  • 4. Arrange each ingredient in its section. You can place the dressing in a small container or directly in its compartment if your bento box has one that’s suitable.
  • 6. Cover the bento box and refrigerate until you’re ready to take it with you.

This bento box offers a balanced meal with proteins from the turkey and cheese, carbohydrates from the bread and crackers, and vitamins from the fruits and vegetables. The dressing also adds a tasty touch to your veggies!

3. PB&J Bento Box

Peanut butter and jelly bento box
Image credit: Canva

If you’re a peanut butter fan like me, this will be one of your favorite bento ideas.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of whole-grain bread
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of jelly or jam (your preference)
  • 1 small banana
  • A handful of baby carrots
  • A small serving of hummus or ranch dip
  • A handful of your favorite berries (like strawberries or blueberries)

Instructions:

  • 1. Start by making your PB&J sandwich. Spread the peanut butter on one slice of the whole grain bread, and the jelly on the other. Combine the slices to make the sandwich, and then cut into quarters or fun shapes if you prefer.
  • 2. Peel the banana and slice it into rounds.
  • 3. Rinse the baby carrots and your choice of berries.
  • 4. Arrange each ingredient in its section. Cover the bento box and refrigerate until hunger strikes.

This combination offers a balance of protein from the peanut butter, carbohydrates from the bread and banana, and vitamins from the carrots and berries. The hummus or ranch dip adds a boost of flavor for dipping your veggies.

4. Chickpea salad box (Vegan-friendly)

Bento box lunch ideas
Image credit: Canva

Ingredients:

 For the chickpea salad:

  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Bento Box:

  • A handful of baby spinach
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small apple or pear
  • A handful of your favorite nuts (like almonds or walnuts)
  • A few whole-grain crackers

Instructions:

  • 1. Start by making the chickpea salad. In a bowl, combine the chickpeas, diced bell pepper, cucumber, and red onion. Add the chopped parsley.
  • 2. Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, add the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything together until well combined.
  • 3. Rinse the baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.
  • 4. Core and slice the apple or pear.
  • 5. Arrange each ingredient in its own individual sections.
  • 6. Cover the bento box and refrigerate until you’re ready to take it on the go.

This bento box lunch provides plant-based protein from the chickpeas, carbohydrates from the apple or pear and crackers, fiber and vitamins from the veggies and fruit. The nuts add a nice crunchy texture and healthy fats.

5. Tuna salad bento box

Tuna salad bento box
Image credit: Canva

Ingredients:

For the Tuna Salad:

  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Bento Box:

  • A handful of mixed salad greens
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • A handful of your favorite berries (like strawberries or blueberries)
  • A few whole-grain crackers

Instructions:

  • 1. Start by making the tuna salad. In a bowl, combine the drained tuna, finely chopped celery, and mayonnaise or Greek yogurt. Mix until well combined and season with salt and pepper.
  • 2. Rinse the mixed salad greens and cherry tomatoes.
  • 3. Boil the egg to your desired level of doneness (about 9-12 minutes for hard-boiled). Once done, cool it under cold water, peel, and slice it in halves.
  • 4. Rinse your choice of berries.
  • 5. Arrange each ingredient in its section. Cover the bento box and refrigerate until you’re ready to go.

This meal offers a balance of protein from the tuna and egg, carbohydrates from the crackers, and fiber from the veggies and fruit.

Bento Box Ingredients To Add

If you decide to make your own bento boxes for lunch, you’ll want to make a balanced bento box that supports weight loss. To do this, you’ll want to include 4 key ingredients – fruits & veggies, protein, complex carbs, and healthy fat. 

  • Fruits & veggies
    • Fruit – berries, pineapples, watermelon, or oranges are best. If you choose to add apples, add a bit of lemon juice on top so they don’t turn brown come lunchtime.
    • Veggies – baby carrots, cucumber, grape tomatoes, celery sticks, bell pepper, or snap peas work well.
  • Protein
  • Animal-based proteins – Leftover rotisserie or grilled chicken, canned tuna, salmon, or chicken salad, deli turkey, hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese. 
  • Plant-based proteins – edamame, hummus, beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, nut butter, quinoa.
  1. Complex carbs
    • Whole-wheat bread or wraps, whole-grain crackers, quinoa, sweet potato.
  2. Healthy fat
    • Avocado, nuts, or an olive oil-based dressing or dip.

You can arrange your bento boxes ahead of time on the weekends so you’re all set for the week. These bento box ideas stay fresh for up to 5 days.

With all of these options, you can have endless bento box lunch ideas you can enjoy on repeat!

Where To Get Bento Boxes

Ready to start bento-ing? You can easily purchase your bento boxes on Amazon! Here are a few of my favorites to snag today:

I hope you find these healthy bento box lunch ideas helpful to make your weight loss journey a little easier. When you have healthy meals at the ready, it makes it that much easier to make good choices that help you feel your best.

And if you need more weight-loss-friendly meal ideas, check out these posts: