ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
58°
Broken Clouds
H 74° L 61°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    58°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 74° L 61°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    76°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 74° L 61°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    73°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 78° L 62°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Healthy and eye-catching bento box lunch ideas

Partitioned dining may remind you of a TV dinner from the 60s, but compartmental lunches can actually be appetizing, healthy, and appealing. All the rage with the K-5 crowd, bento boxes are gaining steam as a perfectly portioned, creative, fun way to pack and serve lunch — and they’re not just for kids. The bento box hails from Japan and first hit the scene in the sixteenth century. Cuteness is the name of the game in the current trend of bento lunch making: Food is often shaped into animals, flowers, or cartoon characters, though the adorable feast sometimes take longer to prepare than to scarf down. Here we’ve rounded up 33 bento ideas (sans cartoon faces) for kid-friendly, healthy lunches that could also easily fit in at the office.

Time to get lunchin'  - Creative lunches on the go

1. Naked Black Bean Burgers  
Ditch the bun in favor of this  healthy burger  in a box with all the fixings. These mini black bean patties are swirled with one of our favorite condiments ( Sriracha  hot sauce). Serve ‘em up on top of a pile of lettuce, avocado, peppers, cukes, and an individual  gluten-free brownie  on the side for dessert.

2. Sushi Sandwiches
Sushi doesn’t always have to be all  seaweed  and raw fish. These dainty (and super mature) finger sandwiches make tuna salad classy. Well, kind of. To get the sushi effect, flatten two slices of bread, fill it with canned  tuna fish  and julienned carrots and cucumbers, roll it, then slice into individual bites.

3. Summer Squash Sauté
The main feature of this box — summer squash sauté — highlights summer produce including zucchini, squash, basil, and tomatoes. This is a perfect dish to whip up in the  Crock-Pot  then freeze for future lunch portions.

4. Ham Sammie
This simple bento is primarily sandwich, though we have to applaud the presentation. This meal is as easy as layering ham, cheese, and lettuce between two slices of  whole-wheat  bread, and filling the remaining space in the box with a couple of veggies and a low-calorie wedge of cheese (such as  Laughing Cow ).

5. Paleo Breakfast Bento
This  paleo -friendly combo takes nearly no manpower. Simply combine one hard-boiled  egg , a handful of almonds (such as these  cocoa dusted  ones!), a few chunks of beef jerky, and a ton of berries. When purchasing  jerky , stick to organic brands without preservatives or nitrates for a healthier version (or try  making your own ).

6. Bean and Rice Wrap
Whole-wheat tortillas make for a perfect bento stuffer. This one is jam-packed with  black beans , rice,  spinach , cilantro, and cheddar for a  fiber-filled , budget-friendly main meal. We have to admit, the artsy veggie chopping looks pretty ambitious — we won’t judge if you leave the pairing knife in the drawer. 

7. Salmon Salad and Sweet Potato
Opt for the grown-up version of tuna salad with this sweet and savory salmon version studded with dried cranberries. This bento features separate compartments of vitamin C-packed  sweet potato  and  broccoli . The fourth compartment  — a wrap filled only with a pickle — is a little strange, but we don’t hate it!

8. Homemade Taco Cups
Much like the ingenuity of the salad bar bento, the taco cup bento is a fun make-your-own lunch idea (plus it keeps crispy taco shells from getting soggy). Stuff each container with standard taco fixins — shredded lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese,  guac , and anything else you fancy. Use  multigrain scoop-style tortilla chips  as shells, or make your own version by cutting out rounds of a whole-wheat tortilla and baking them in a mini muffin tin.

9. Soy-Lime Tofu and Rice
Turn  tofu  into a tasty treat with soy sauce and fresh limejuice. The other compartments are simple: strawberries, orange slices, and steamed sugar snap peas. Rice balls make eating the heart-healthy  grain  a cinch for lunch on the go.

10. Raw Veggie Roll-Ups
The grown-up sandwich returns! These sushi look-alikes use whole-wheat lavash as the base (tortillas would work too) and hold  avocado spinach , carrots, and cucumber in the middle. Recommendation: Go easy on the balsamic vinegar (or use a thicker  condiment , such as mustard instead) so the bread doesn’t become soggy by noon. 

11. Caprese
This bento is less about compartmentalizing different food groups than it is about beautiful presentation. The classic caprese — tomato, mozzarella, and  basil  — is layered in columns for a multicolor bento that makes a perfect snack or appetizer. For a more substantive meal, feel free to layer in thinly-sliced chicken or turkey.

12. Pizza Wheels
These mini wraps pay homage to  pizza , but they look more appetizing than a cold slice wrapped in foil (plus, there’s no reheating required!). On the side, pack colorful veggies with dressing to dip. 

13. Sweet Potato Latkes
These potato latkes are a fresh variation of the Chanukah favorite. Instead of regular old russets, the recipe calls for sweet potato (or orange yam), known for high levels of potassium. Make a double batch ahead and freeze the leftovers for future bento boxes.

14. Salmon and Marinated Shrimp Salad
For a full on  omega-3  fix, this bento is ideal. Marinate cooked shrimp overnight in an onion,  garlic , oregano, and olive oil mixture. Toss smoked salmon on top in the morning, and the meal’s done! A bed of  salad greens  adds a little color (and, well, good-for-you stuff including  vitamins  A, C, K, and folate).

15. Turkey Rollups, Fruit, and Slaw
This snacky bento box is like a healthified lunchables (ya know, minus the gross rounds of “deli meat”). Rolls of cracked-pepper turkey and cubes of cheddar make up the main compartment, while sliced peaches and a handful of cherries fill two more. The last container holds an easy slaw of carrots, scallions, and  cabbage .

16. Penne Ricotta
This  meatless  bento spotlights a veggie-packed summer pasta salad with carrots, asparagus , green beans, snow peas, and a light ricotta dressing. For a more filling lunch, feel free to add beans,  lentils , or another protein of your choice.

17. Quinoa Salad, Daikon Radish, and Edamame
This four-part bento is full of protein with a mini omelet,  quinoa  salad, and edamame  — which has nearly nine grams of protein per half cup serving. Usually available year round, with peak seasons in the Spring and late Fall, the pretty watermelon daikon radish  tastes sweeter than its spicier counterparts.  

18. Falafel Wrap
Falafel, small balls or patties usually made from ground chickpeas, tend to take a bath in the deep fryer (meaning a potential healthy food becomes not-so-healthy in a flash). Instead,  bake  the fiber-filled morsels. Pair the falafel, in a wrap or on its own, with hummus,  tahini  (sesame seed paste), and sliced veggies.  

19. Apricot-Pecan Penne
Penne trades tomato sauce for a tangy, sweet apricot, feta, and  pecan  mixture. This bento shows how leftovers make for the perfect bento main dish. For sides, try deviled  eggs , snow peas, and  grapes .

20. Baked Tofu and Potato Salad
Skewers are a great bento accessory. They make eating easier while also keeping the tofu contained to one section of the box without a partition. The potato salad is incredibly simple with just four ingredients: potatoes, pepper, pickles, and chipotle mayo. For a healthier potato salad, we like adding plain  Greek yogurt  in place of mayo.

21. Peanut Butter and Banana Roll-Ups
This fruit-focused bento includes  bananas , blueberries, grapes,  kiwi , and carrots for good measure. Representing one of the most delicious combinations ever, tiny whole-wheat wraps are stuffed with banana and peanut butter. Sorry, Elvis, no bacon here.

For all 34 healty and eye-catching bento box lunches, go to Greatist.com.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • The Phoenix Suns made history two nights in a row. >> Read more trending news The Suns started the youngest lineup ever Thursday, with an average of 21 years and 14 days. Worse, the Suns were down to eight players and lost by 26 to the Brooklyn Nets. The lineup was younger than several of the Sweet 16 teams still in the NCAA tournament.  Friday also netted a loss, but Devin Booker kept them in it. He scored 70 points for the Suns, and helped Phoenix claw back from a 20-point first quarter deficit. Booker’s scoring eventually won over the Boston crowd, who began cheering for him as the Suns tried to keep the game going late, calling timeouts to give Booker a chance to score more points. He finished with the highest single-game total in franchise history, but lost to the Celtics 130-120. Booker joined Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor and Kobe Bryant as players to reach 70 in one game. Booker was 21 of 40 from the field, four of 11 from the 3-point range and was 24 of 26 shooting free throws. The former Kentucky star also had eight rebounds and six assists. He averaged 20.9 points per game before Friday. 
  • One person has died after a plane crashed into a home in a Marietta, Georgia, neighborhood Friday evening. The Federal Aviation Administration said a Cessna Citation I aircraft en route to the Fulton County Airport went down around 7:20 p.m. The pilot was the only person on the plane and died in the crash. Cobb County fire officials said the plane left from Wilmington, Delaware. Fire officials said the plane landed in the home's front yard and sent the house up in flames.  >> Read more trending news 'From what it looks like at this point, it came over from the top of the house and landed in the front yard,' Danell Boyd with the Cobb County fire department said.  The family was at church at the time of the crash and not at home.  Witnesses said the plan spun out and nose-dived to the ground. 'I heard a swoosh and then a clap and an explosion and I pretty much knew before I looked outside that it was a plane crash,' neighbor Joe Thomas said. A few homes were evacuated while firefighters investigated. The neighborhood will be blocked off for a time as National Transportation Safety Board investigators look into the crash.  'Seeing a plane on fire and a house starting to burn and wondering if your neighbors are OK -- it's not just something you hear on the news,' neighbor Samantha Strickland said. The FAA will investigate and the NTSB will determine the cause of the crash.  
  • On March 24, a surge of photos posted by everyday people and celebrities such as Taraji P. Henson and LL Cool J on social media show images with text claiming that 14 girls have disappeared in the last 24 hours in Washington, D.C., and the images have continued to pick up steam.   >> Read more trending news WRC reported however, that the information in those images is not entirely true. Here are things to know about the missing teens in Washington: Police say that 14 teen girls have not disappeared from Washington in one day. The girls pictured in the viral image went missing at different times. Relisha Tenau Rudd, pictured on the far left of the image, was last seen in Washington on March 1, 2014. Pheonix Coldon was last seen December 18, 2011 in St. Louis. Shaniah Boyd was last seen in Washington. Makayla Randall, pictured on the far right, has been missing since October 1, 2012 and was last seen in Oak Park, Missouri. WRC reported that police have changed their method of communicating information about missing persons. There has been no increase in the number of missing people.  The Metropolitan Police Department has changed how it shares information on missing persons. “We've just been posting them on social media more often,” Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Rachel Reid said. Chanel Dickerson, commander of the Washington police’s Youth and Family Services Division, told The Washington Post that the 211 people reported missing in January reflected  better reporting by families, not an increase in missing teens. Many of the missing teens are black or Latino. Outrage over the missing persons comes from a perception that people of color who are missing are not covered in the media as often as white missing persons. Derrica Wilson, the co-founder and chief executive of the Black and Missing Foundation, which works to raise awareness of missing people of color, told The Huffington Post 40 percent of missing persons in the U.S. are people of color. Police say there is not a known link between the missing persons and human trafficking. Police spokeswoman Karimah Bilal told WRC the teens reported missing so far in 2017 left voluntarily. WUSA reported that since many teens left on their own, Amber Alerts have not been issued for them. “Because of the number of releases, there have been concerns that young girls in the District of Columbia are victims of human trafficking or have been kidnapped,” Bilal said. “We look at every case closely to make sure that doesn't happen, but to my knowledge, that hasn't been a factor in any of our missing person cases,” Bilal said.  Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and Washington police told WUSA they confirmed that there is no link between the missing persons and human trafficking. Lawmakers are calling on the FBI to investigate many of the missing persons cases. The Associated Press reported that Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia in Congress, sent a letter Tuesday that called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to devote time to investigating the number of missing children in Washington and “determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.” 'Ten children of color went missing in our nation's capital in a period of two weeks and at first garnered very little media attention. That's deeply disturbing,' the letter sent to the Justice Department said. The number of missing persons in Washington changes daily. The Metropolitan Police Department reports the number of open and closed missing person cases and has them broken down by year, critical and non-critical, and juvenile and adult. Recent data from the department shows a decrease in reported missing person cases from 2,433 in 2015 to 2,242 in 2016. The regularly updated list of missing persons, including flyers of missing persons, are on the Metropolitan Police Department website. 
  • A 6-year-old boy is said to be in serious condition, after nearly drowning in the Bartram Springs community pool, just off Racetrack Road, near Philips Highway.   According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the child was with his family and lifeguards were on duty.   '[He] had some type of a condition, was observed under the water, was pulled out of the water, basic life support was initiated on the child,' explains a JSO officer.   The boy was rushed to Baptist South and eventually transferred to Wolfson Children's Hospital.
  • A Texas couple was charged with child endangerment Thursday after a woman told Harris County sheriff’s deputies that she found their 8-week-old child in the middle of a parking lot, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news A woman called police Tuesday night after finding the baby boy strapped to a car seat in a parking space in a Katy strip mall, the Houston Chronicle reported. The child was cold and fussy by the time the woman who called police, Dee Griffin-Stevens, found him, according to KHOU. “I just pictured my own children when they were that little,” she told the news station. “I call him ‘baby love,’ because I don’t know his name and probably won’t ever know his name, but I loved him and took care of him.” Authorities estimated that the child was left for at least 45 minutes before he was found. An employee at a nearby pizzeria recognized the infant and called his parents, according to KHOU.  Deputies arrested Sarah Shibley, 33, and Gary Collins, 39, on charges of child endangerment. “Shibley, who works at the pizzeria, said she left the child in the parking lot where she works and thought his father placed him in a car,” KHOU reported. Shilbey was released on $2,000 bond, according to the Chronicle. Collins remained jailed Friday.

The Latest News Videos