Make lunch a lot more fun with these healthy bento-inspired lunches for kids, teens, foodies, and more.
The Original Happy LunchWe love bentos because the compartments help with portion control and naturally lead to a healthy variety of foods. Each lunch is a little puzzle, an elegant surprise. And they don't have to take long to prepare! Here are five make-ahead lunches we concocted to delight different types of eaters, from little kids to teenagers to cubicle-dwellers.
First, for the little kid who is easily distracted by human lunch buddies, the Buddy Bento Box offers fun, nutritious food to hold his interest.
Make our recipe: Quick Chicken-Sesame Rice Balls
2 tablespoons edamame hummus
½ cup steamed sugar snap peas, chilled
¼ cup seedless red grapes, halved
2 peeled kiwifruit, sliced and cut into shapes
2 fortune cookies
Southern BentoWhether you're a displaced Southerner or someone into the Southern food trend, the Southern Bento Box allows you to enjoy some soulful favorites from the region.
Make our recipe: Succotash with Shrimp
12 sweet potato chips
1 large peach, sliced
¼ cup vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt
Fast-Food Lover's BentoFor the teen who needs to break a bad food habit, the Fast Food Lover's Bento Box contains healthier options and a big dose of protein to help keep all engines firing through after-school activities.
Make our recipe: Crispy Pan-Fried Chicken with Ranch Dipping Sauce
1 cup carrot sticks
1 cup celery sticks
1 cup cucumber sticks
2 high-protein chewy granola bars (such as Kellogg's FiberPlus Protein Mixed Nut Chewy Bars)
Whole-Grains BentoHoly whole grains! For crunchy-granola types, there's good-for-you nutrition all over this Whole-Grains Bento Box, which gives you about two-thirds of the daily whole-grain recommendation.
Make our recipe: Wheat Berry, Kale, and Cranberry Salad
12 100% whole-grain crackers (such as Wheat Thins)
1 ounce Manchego cheese, thinly sliced
2 whole-grain oatmeal cookies with chocolate (such as Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies)
Foodie BentoShe'd rather be at a sidewalk table at the new French bistro, but a looming deadline has the die-hard foodie eating at her desk. With this deconstructed salade niçoise in her Foodie Bento Box, a girl can daydream.
Make our recipe: Herby Potato, Green Bean, and Tuna Salad
2 cups gourmet salad greens
½ cup grape tomatoes
2 multigrain, seeded flatbread crackers
1 hard-cooked large egg, quartered
2 tablespoons dark chocolate--covered espresso beans