Dating back to ancient, Kamakura period Japan (1185-1333), the idea of packing meals in a small compartment container, known as a bento box, is always an appealing meal prep option, as the compartments often help to control portion sizes, keep food separate, and save you room with its minimalist design. Bento boxes are a perfect solution for a boxed work lunch, and with EatingWell’s list of diverse and easy to prepare recipes, you’ll soon start making your Sunday evenings a bento meal prep event, as you use the time to supply your stomach for the work week ahead.
Take a trip around the globe with a bento box lunch that has a MEditerranean-inspired combination of Greek salad, hummus, pita bread (or chips), and grilled turkey breast tenderloin or chicken breast. Your palette will be satiated and satisfied with this savory, diverse collection of worldly flavors.
Lean into the asian-cuisine-inspired tradition of the bento box lunch with a deconstructed sushi roll that makes it simple, healthy, and (frankly) affordable to have sushi for lunch as often as you’d like! This recipe skips the rolling by placing sushi ingredients like rice, fish (think crabmeat or shrimp) with avocado, cucumber, and sesame seeds in its own compartment. Pair the deconstructed sushi roll with edamame, seasoned cucumber, fresh fruit, and easy-to prepare miso soup for the whole experience!
No matter the setting of your work lunch hour, you can access all of the flavors of al fresco dining with this simple and healthy lunch that gathers traditional picnic flavors for a satisfying meal. This recipe has you filling your favorite, decorative bento lunch box with small skewers of alternating peaches, mozzarella balls, and prosciutto slices alongside cherries, bell peppers, and sunflower seeds. Top it all off with an inclusion of a tossed salad of tortellini, carot, corn, basil, oil, vinegar, and parmesan for a savory, unforgettable flavor profile.
This bento box is equal parts colorful and satisfying by have you add color to your lunch all while boosting your daily serving of fruits and vegetables when you add mixed grapes, and mixed vegetables (think different colored bell peppers and sliced carrots) to your crackers and salmon salad. The Salmon salad and crackers are separated by a tasty divider of watercress with its touch stems removed, as the ingredient acts as a colorful, and tasteful barrier to your well-rounded lunch.
Lean into and embrace tradition with the lunch-time favorite, the inimitable Egg Salad with this all-american collection for your bento box. This is a hearty lunch and a snack all in one, as you’ll spoon your delectable egg salad into a lettuce bowl, keeping it presentably pretty alongside cocktail bread, crackers, and veggies. For dessert, or even just a sweet treat, toss a banana and blueberries with your favorite yogurt as a way to combine ideal flavors as well as keep your sliced banana from turning brown, adding to the Instagram-ability of this picturesque breakroom scene.
As its only right to end this list with a recipe indebted to the tradition of bento boxes, this boxed work lunch recipe consists of the classic bento ingredients of rice, tofu, and vegetables. When you cook too much rice for dinner, take the extras and roll them into sesame seed-sprinkle balls for lunch. Keep your vegetables crips and vibrant by cooking them briefly and dunking them into a bath of ice water. Lastly, cube and roast your tofu to give it an ideal texture.
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