After settling back into the office after a summer vacay, it’s daunting to come up with new (and nutritious!) lunch ideas. Pulling an extra meal together can seem like just one more boring checkbox on your already long to-do list. Bento box lunch ideas to the rescue! These cute little lunch boxes are not just for kids anymore. There’s a real grown-up life hack here. You already know that packing your lunch is healthier than grabbing takeout or, worse, snacking all day. These ingenious compartmentalized boxes help you break down a meal into small parts. Protein: CHECK. Starch: CHECK. Fruit and veg: CHECK! Plus, you’ll notice there’s always room for a bite-size snack. It’s the perfect way to pack a lunch that will keep you sharp and energized throughout your busy day — and that’s just what every girl boss needs. Here are 18 bento box ideas to fuel your GB dreams.


1. Spinach and Bacon Mini Quiches: Stainless steel bento boxes could not be more on trend — and they’re environmentally friendly too. These baby quiches are an easy make-ahead lunch that’s high protein, portable and grain-free. One bite and you’ll remember why bacon makes everything better. (via Momables)


2. Salted Salmon With Green Pea Rice: This high-protein lunch featuring both fish and eggs packs some serious nutrition. It has just the right balance of carbs and veggies to keep you feeling satisfied until dinner. (via Just Bento)


3. Mitsuwa Bento: You’ll have to make a trip to your nearest Japanese grocer to pull this off, but it’s SO worth it. The chirashi seasoning on the mixed-rice onigiri is to die for. (via Bento Zen)


4. Cool Ranch Crockpot Chicken: Don’t overlook leftovers when filling your bento box. Last night’s pulled chicken makes a great rice bowl-inspired bento that will hit the spot at lunchtime. (via Family Fresh Meals)


5. Chicken Dumplings: You don’t have to know how to make dim sum from scratch to fill a bento box. Find them in the freezer section of your grocery store and build a tasty lunch around them. (via Wendolonia)


6. Hummus & Dippers: Approach a bento box like it’s a puzzle. Those almond-crusted chicken nuggets you made for the kids last night go great with a dollop of hummus, veggies and pita. (via Frugal Nutrition)


7. Chicken Marbella With Roasted Sweet Potatoes: Some of last night’s chicken becomes a whole meal when you add a side salad and oven-baked sweet potato. Leftovers for the win! (via Joyous Health)


8. Onigirazu: These little rice sammies are similar to sushi, but so much easier to make. Fill them with leftover meat or create a veggie version with a mix of egg and veg. They couldn’t be more perfect for lunch on-the-go. (via Chopstick Chronicles)


9. Mini Quiches: Muffin-size crustless quiche is so genius. Make ahead the night before and come morning, toss a few into your bento box with a side of yogurt and fruit, and voila! You’ve got an instant lunch. (via Momables)


10. Prosciutto-Wrapped Frittata Muffins: These pork-wrapped frittatas are comfort food at its best. Bonus: They’re Paleo and Whole30 compliant too. (via Nom Nom Paleo)


11. Turkey Havarti Bagel Sandwich: Bagel sandwiches make a hearty change from the every day. Add a side of baby carrots and some grapes, and you’ve got lunch. (via Two Peas and Their Pod)


12. Black Bean Mini Burgers: This box is filled with leftover black bean patties, sweet potato fries and a side of baby spinach with balsamic strawberries. Sometimes you just need to empty out the fridge, and that’s how the best bentos come together. (via Veggie Bento Love)


13. Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadilla: Quick quesadillas make a packed lunch exciting when they come with sides of salsa and sour cream for dipping. For a quick guacamole, mash some chopped avocado with the juice of a lime and call it a day. (via Vicky Barone)


14. Salami and Crackers: For those days when you’ll be running through back to back meetings, it’s great to pack foods you can snack on, like this salami and crackers box. Remember to add a bit of fruit to keep your energy level up. (via Wendolonia)


15. Rainbow Wrap: Making a wrap can be as easy as slicing some veggies and adding a spread of cream cheese. Fruit skewers and carrot slices round out this healthy meal. And toss a few chocolate coins in there, to put a pot of gold in this rainbow meal. (via Eats Amazing)


16. Back to School Box: Whether you have kids, or just like to eat like one sometimes, lunch can be as easy as a crustless cut-out sammy and some cheese slices. Go crazy with those cookie cutters! (via Alpha Mom)


17. Chicken Taco Bento Lunch Box: When you have leftover chicken breast, it’s the easiest thing in the world to pack it with some tortilla scoopables. When it’s time for lunch you can build your own taco right on the spot. (via Cincy Shopper)


18. Salmon Yuzu Rice Bento: Salmon and rice leftovers are always better the second day, because the rice gets even stickier in the fridge. Add a side of whatever veggies you have on hand, and you’ve got a delicious and nutritious lunch. (via Bento Zen)

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