Packed Bento Box Examples

Here are some examples of packed bento boxes. Use them as a starting point to create your own bentos!

Spring pasta salad bento

We are now entering pasta salad season, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere. Easy to assemble and delicious at room temperature, at first glance you might think that pasta salads are perfect in bentos. There are a few things to watch out for though, in order to make sure that your salad is as safe as it is delicious at lunchtime. I also have a super-easy Chickpea and Pasta Salad recipe that is very bento-friendly; it's vegetarian (easily converted to being vegan), to fit in with the theme for this month.

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 460 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10 minutes the night before; 15 minutes in the morning

Type: Traditional Japanese

This is a guest post by Erin, who writes a frugal lifestyle blog in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, called The Cheap Chick.

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My name is The Cheap Chick, and I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to online bento. It’s shocking, but true. Every day, sometimes two or three times a day, I log on to my favorite site and look at what other people packed that week for their lunches.

However, if there’s a 12-step program to help me stop, I don’t want it. Because not only did Just Bento (and its sister site, Just Hungry,) help change the way I cook and eat for the better, bento fits in perfectly with the ‘be cheap and fabulous’ gospel I’m trying to spread across the globe. What could be thriftier than packing your lunch and using the pantry items and leftovers you already have, rather than buying your lunch every day at a restaurant or fast food joint?

When Maki asked for guest writers for Just Bento, I knew it was time for me to join the world of bento makers. And I promised her I could make a bento that would be frugal, use many of the ingredients I already own or buy on a regular basis, and would look and taste delicious. Here’s how it turned out...

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A guest post by Fossettes of Bentolunchbox, one of the most popular French bento blogs!

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Bento Contents:

  • 1 cup/220ml brown rice, 240 calories
  • About 100g / 3.5 oz Miso marinated pork made with lean pork, 160 calories
  • 1-egg tamagoyaki with nori, 110 calories
  • Spring greens namuru made with a mixture of baby spinach and arugula (rucola, rocket) leaves, 50 cal
  • Carrot and zucchini flowers (plus the leftover bits), 10 calories

Total calories (approx): 550 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning

Type: Japanese, decorative

This bento shows a couple of ways of using up those awkward leftover cut-off bits of nori, vegetable and so on that you end up with whenever you make decorative cut-outs for your bentos.

This is a guest post by Diana, who blogs about her healthy eating ideas at Soap and Chocolate.

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Not everyone eats breakfast as well as lunch at the office, but for those of us who begin work at 9am after a whirlwhind of exercise, showering and primping, it's convenient to be able to pack a bento-style breakfast the night before in order to cut down on the morning rush time. We all want to preserve those precious minutes of sleep before the alarm goes off!
 
One of my favorite homemade to-go breakfasts is an omelette sandwich and fruit. This can be done with a myriad of mix-ins and spreads, but for the purposes of this post, I've gone with a Mexican theme, just to step out of the bento box a bit.

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Bento Contents:

  • About 100g / 3.5 oz Bento sized mini-meatloaf (1/2 a loaf) with ketchup, 200 calories
  • 1/4 package (60g / 2 oz) Barilla Cheese and Garlic tortelloni or similar, browned in 1 tsp. olive oil, 270 calories
  • 1/2 cup Fennel Salad, 10 cal
  • Broccoli florets, 5 cal

Total calories (approx): 490 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Meat and pasta!

A list of bentos from no. 61 onwards featured so far on Just Bento.

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Bento Contents:

  • 6 oven baked chicken wings sections (recipe below), 320 calories
  • 1/2 cup yogurt and cheese dipping sauce (recipe below), 140 calories
  • Oven baked sweet potato chips from 1 medium sweet potato, 200 calories
  • Carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli, 40 calories

Total calories (approx): 690 (how calories are calculated) Note this is a 'large' portion.

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning

Type: Chicken, for the bento novice

This is presented as an idea for a bento that doesn't look like a bento, for people with hearty appetites who can't get their heads around the smallness of a bento box and how it could possibly 'be enough'. It's supposed to ressemble a buffalo chicken wing meal, but has cut down on the fat and calories of a real buffalo chicken spread considerably.

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Bento Contents:

Breakfast:

  • 1/2 cup muesli, 150 cal
  • About 2 Tbs. dried cranberries, 60 cal
  • 1/2 container (90g) Greek yogurt, 75 cal

Total calories for breakfast (approx): 285

Lunch:

  • 6 Spicy Lentil Snacks, 270 cal
  • Carrot sticks from 1 medium carrot, 30 cal
  • 1/2 container (90g) Greek yogurt with spices, 75 cal
  • Some greens, 5 cal

Total calories for lunch (approx): 380 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5-10 minutes in the morning - mainly just packing things up (You could pack the whole bento the night before; this bento will not suffer much in quality.)

Type: Vegetarian, not Japanese, 2-in-1

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