4 Bento Box Ideas to Brighten Up Your Lunch

Although the bento box originated in Japan, it has become a widely embraced, fun and creative way to pack to-go meals filled with whatever you’re craving. Think of it as a way to create your own multi-course lunch, or a tasting menu. Because the answer to the question “what’s for lunch?” doesn’t have to be “just a sandwich.”* We’ll get you jump-started with some inspiration and show you just how pretty and appetizing these bento boxes can be.

Veggie Noodle Bento Box

Make a bento box starring veggie noodles, like these sweet potato noodles, and avocado with sunflower sprouts, Maldon sea salt flakes and ground black pepper. This bento box also features lentils with chopped parsley, diced carrots and red onions, and a not-your-run-of-the-mill fruit salad with sliced figs, kiwis and plums with walnuts. Add your own spins by switching up the veggie noodles, or finding a salad from the Prepared Foods department to replace the lentils.

Chicken Salad Bento Box

Our Sonoma Chicken Salad is a long-standing favorite from our Prepared Foods department made with tender chicken breast, crunchy pecans and sweet grapes. Place that (or a chicken, tuna, vegetarian or vegan salad of your choice) over Bibb lettuce and serve with crackers of your choice. Add rainbow-hued carrot sticks, kiwi wedges and sliced star fruit.

Chicken Nuggets and Egg Rolls

Call it a new kind of takeout –the kind you take to work or school. Crispy, flavorful egg rolls take this bento box to the next level. Fear not, we’ve done the work for you —you can find a variety of egg rolls in our Prepared Foods department.** Don’t see any there? Look for options in the freezer aisle. This bento box also includes chicken nuggets from our Prepared Foods department; cheddar cheese cubes and cherry tomatoes as well as 365 by Whole Foods Market Cape Cod Trail Mix (find it packaged or in our bulk bin section).

Classic Sandwiches and Snacks

Start with sandwiches, celery sticks, grapes and blueberries, and a mix of snacks (featuring 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Mini Cheddar Cheese Crackers). This bento box is both kid-friendly and adult-friendly. Go for a classic PB&J or swap that out for a more adventurous sandwich, if you’re up for it.

Bento Box Tips

  • All you really need for a bento box? A bento box! (Well, and food to fill it up.) If you’re looking for something simple that still feels like an upgrade of your usual lunch, start here:

  • Begin with washed and precut veggies, like 365 Everyday Value Organic Broccoli Carrots Cauliflower. Pair them with hummus or a dip of your choice.

  • Take our in-house roasted turkey breast or roast beef (availability varies by store), or add a few slices or cut-up pieces of our rotisserie chicken. Add your favorite cheese.

  • Have something on the side –something we’ve made for you. Our Prepared Foods Department** has many options, from tuna salads to chicken salads to veggie and grain salads. Check out the Chef’s Case for a beet salad or roasted Brussels sprouts. Get creative with what you find.

  • Take advantage of frozen grains or grain substitutes that you can heat and eat. Add 365 Everyday Value Organic Brown Rice (frozen) or 365 Everyday Value Organic Riced Cauliflower (frozen) to a vegetable dish, or just put it in one quadrant of your bento box.

  • Bulk up. If you want to add some dried fruits or nuts, save a section of the bento box to add a handful of whatever you’re craving –or, sprinkle dried fruit or nuts on top of a salad. Find nuts, trail mixes and more in our bulk bin section.

*That said, sandwiches don’t have to be –and shouldn’t be –boring. Learn how to build the ultimate sandwich for your bento box, lunch bag or however else you pack your lunch.

**Availability of various prepared foods varies by store and region.

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