How to Build a Grab 'n Go Bento Style Lunch

Whether it's packing a youngster's lunch or assembling your own, eating lunch outside the home is becoming more commonplace as more and more schools and places of business are restoring in person activities. If a sandwich doesn't inspire you and reheating leftovers in a microwave isn't an option, consider assembling a few items on the weekend to make grabbing a handful of this and that to make a bento-style lunch that can suit your tastes day after day.

For me, a handful of dried fruit and nuts will keep me fueled for a while, so I am very likely to have about a quarter to a half cup of that or trail mix as a foundational element for my easy to eat lunching needs. Other similar items include granola, snack mixes (try to avoid super salty options), energy bites, or granola/energy bars.

I like working a bit of protein into a bento lunch so I won't be ready to snack again right away. My favorite way to do this is to boil some eggs at the beginning of the week and nosh my way through the week. Any unused eggs can be crumbled over salad or made into some deviled eggs. Alternatives include some pieces of salami or summer sausage, a few tablespoons of hummus (serve with veggies), or a bit of your favorite yogurt (don't forget a spoon).

Still in the protein category, but more of an item to add lots of flavor and flair for me is cheese. I don't add a lot because the calories add up quickly, but a bit of aged cheddar or creamy blue cheese helps everything pop. Other options include an olive or three, some tangy mustard (add to the egg or have on crackers), or a favorite jam, marmalade, or jelly (enjoy with the yogurt or even with one of the aforementioned cheeses).

Adding fresh fruit and/or vegetables is a great way to include lots of vitamins, minerals, and preformed water to your lunch with very few calories. They also are great for adding crunch to your meal. I like to have a few items to choose from so I am not eating the same thing every day. This time of the year, mini peppers, small or sliced apples (soaked in lemon water to keep them from browning), and sungold tomatoes are among the fresh items most prized by me and mine.

Related to the fruit stuff and a bit more involved than most everything on this list are baked good. Favorites include muffins (mini muffins in particular are excellent), energy balls (think granola meets cookie dough - and no baking), and breakfast cookies (think granola bar meets cookies - and involves baking). Because these are a bit more fussy, I enjoy them when I have them and don't sweat it when I don't.

While the items above are more than enough to make a grab and go lunch with a lot of variety, nutrition, and texture, I love adding popcorn now and then. It's one of my favorite snacks, can be flavored with just about anything in your spice cabinet, and is whimsical enough that you don't take it all too seriously.

When it comes to containers for your lunch, anything goes. However, I'm very fond of Rubbermaid's bento-style lunch combo kit - especially since they are see through containers and clean up beautifully. Really, find something that makes lunch easy to put together and has you looking forward to tucking in. Enjoying building lunch!

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.