Cold bento lunch ideas?

Barefoot Mama
Joined: 11 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 45 weeks ago.

Hi y'all! Just a quick question with some background. My hubby works out in the field and doesnt have a way to keep his food warm or have a place to warm it up. He's getting a bit bored of just sandwiches so I'm planning on making him some bento-inspired lunches but am running low on ideas of foods that are good to eat even when they're cold. For my lunches its not a biggie as I'm in the office and can eat anything, but he's a bit more picky when it comes to his meals.

Does any one have any ideas on some cold bento-inspired lunches?




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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 3 weeks 3 days ago.
Re: Cold bento lunch ideas?

Hi Barefoot! Bento lunches are all really meant to be eaten at room temperature yet still taste good, unless specifically stated otherwise. So any recipe on this site or on other bento sites should work well. But if your husband insists on warm lunches, how about getting him a thermal lunch box like Mr. Bento? They can keep things like stew, chili, etc. quite warm!


The Big Onigiri.

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Barefoot Mama
Joined: 11 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 45 weeks ago.
Re: Cold bento lunch ideas?

I was actually looking at the Mr. Bento last night and told hubby about it.
I'll have to show him the recipes here and have him decide which ones he'd like to try.
Thanks so much for the reply Maki! Love your site!

Joined: 10 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 8 years 13 weeks ago.
Re: Cold bento lunch ideas?

one of my favorite cold items is sushi (vegetarian) and wraps. Wraps are so easy to make and it is very easy to mix them up. One of the best wraps I make has: fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, basil, a little salt, and balsamic vinegar for dipping... sooo good! Or another is avocado with refried beans and sprouts with some hot sauce...

Joined: 11 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 6 years 14 weeks ago.
Thermos Nissan Stainless Steel Lunch Tote

Barefoot Mama,

I'm in the same situation as your husband. Traditional bento is served cold; however, I use a Thermos Nissan Stainless Steel Lunch Tote I got it about 10 yrs ago when I selected it out of my company's Christmas gift catalog. It took me awhile to appreciate it, but about five years ago, I started to regularly use it because sandwiches were getting old and boring. I now use it four times a week for lunch.

The Thermos Nissan has four containers. The #1 container is a leak-proof container (I always shake it after filling it to make sure the lid is on correctly). The #2 container is an insulated container for rice (not leak-proof). The #3 and #4 containers are Tupperware-like containers (not leak-proof). When I first got it, I didn't think it was big enough until I filled it up with food and then emptied everything on a dinner plate. I was amazed how much food it holds.

I fill the #1 container with hot soup (miso or Lipton cup-a-soup). The #2 container is 1/2 filled with brown rice and topped with protein (salted or smoked salmon, chicken, beef). The #3 and #4 containers are filled with steamed baby carrot, soy beans, cheese, etc. Sometimes I'll freeze a jello cup, remove the #3 container, drop the #4 container to the 3rd place, and put the frozen jello cup in the #4 position. (I hope that makes sense.) By freezing the jello, the heat from the soup and rice won't "melt" the jello.

I pack my Thermos Nissan between 7:00 and 7:30 AM. I'll eat lunch around 12:30 PM. After five hours, the soup and rice / protein stay warm and there's still a slight freeze to the jello. I truly look forward to lunch especially on cold days when I know I've got HOT SOUP.

After about five years of regularly using the Thermos Nissan, I can honestly say that it has improved my health (eating better food, eating smaller portions) to the point that I've lost weight, lowered my blood pressure, and everything else my doctor has told me to improve. I've also saved $$$$$$.

If you get the Themos Nissan or something similar, there is a learning curve on how to prepare and use it, but once you and your husband grasp it, you'll never regret it.

Joined: 11 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 6 years 14 weeks ago.
Re: Thermos Nissan Stainless Steel Lunch Tote

There's one other thing that I forgot to mention if your husband is like me --- you've got to include a separate mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack with the bento. I normally make a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread and slice it. I'll eat 1/2 the sandwich at around 10:00 AM and the other 1/2 at around 2:00 PM. You could use protein bars, e.g. Cliff Bars, or walnuts or fruits, but I prefer the peanut butter sandwich for the protein plus it's cheaper. The mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are essential to balance out the hunger craving and to avoid any impulse to gorge on unhealthy snacks like candy and cookies.

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