Summer can be the busiest time of the year. You’ve still got work and your own hectic schedule to manage, while the kids need to be shuttled to and from day camp, sports practice, friends’ houses, and more. Simplifying lunches can make a huge difference in how you prepare for each day. Consider using a bento lunch box to help you save time during the busy summer months. A bento lunch box is a Japanese-style container that has multiple compartments to separate different types of food and a snap-on lid for easy storage. By using a bento lunch box, you can quickly and easily pack nutritious lunches that your kids will look forward to eating. Here are seven summer lunches to try out this season.
No-Silverware Bento Lunch Box
With so many things going on during busy mornings, it’s easy to forget to pack a fork with lunch — and they so often get accidentally thrown out anyways. Instead, try packing a lunch that’s totally hands on. Cucumber slices, crackers, cheese slices, granola bars, and tangerines or mandarin oranges. This lunch is also easy to put together using whatever you might have on hand, so it’s easy to improvise if you’re suddenly running low on supplies later on in the week. Bento boxes are divided into at least two compartments, making it easy to store a variety of foods in one container without mixing them up and risking soggy crackers. Just don’t forget the napkin!
Breakfast for Lunch
Summer weekend mornings are for pancakes and eggs and breakfasts around the table, and there’s no reason to stop the treats when it’s time for summer camp lunches. Pack some fruit, like grapes or strawberries, with a hard boiled egg and leftover pancakes or waffles cut into strips for easy dipping in maple syrup. The syrup can be stored in a small container nestled into one of the bento’s compartments. Thanks to the snap-tight lids on many bento boxes, you can rest easy knowing that leaks will be stopped before the syrup can make a sticky mess inside your child’s lunch bag.
Mini French Picnic
What’s better on a warm summer day than a picnic? Give your child a lunch worth celebrating with a miniature French picnic in a bento. Make a batch of broccoli quiche over the weekend, then reheat them in the morning and pop them in a bento with a fun picnic-themed napkin. Mini quiche are a great way to pack in extra veggies with minimal effort on your part, since the prep work can be done over the weekend when there’s more time. Many bento lunch boxes feature double-insulated walls, ensuring that foods will stay as warm or cold as they need to be by lunch time. Round out the picnic with blueberries, crackers, a cookie, and a juice box for a special summer lunch.
Mix up a boring standby for a complaint-free lunch. Stack cubes of bread and cheese with deli meats, lettuce, and a cherry tomato on a skewer cut to fit inside the bento. Then, fill the remaining compartments with carrot and celery sticks, pretzels, and grapes or other fruit. You can even mix up a batch of Jell-O right inside a bento compartment, making it impossible to forget a sweet treat to round out the meal. Lunch is halfway packed, right when you pull the bento out of the refrigerator! It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Salad Bar Boxes
Your kids might be more likely to sit down and enjoy their lunches — without worrying about getting up to go play again as quickly as possible — if their lunch is a little game on its own. Pack a handful of lettuce on one side of your child’s bento box, and use the remaining compartments to store toppings like cheese, crumbled deli meat, chopped tomatoes and carrots, and crackers to use as croutons. Salad dressing can be stored in a small container and tucked inside next to the lettuce. Your child can then mix up their own salad when it’s time for lunch. Thanks to the multiple compartments inside bento lunch boxes, you can pack the ideal portion of each salad ingredient to ensure that your child is getting a nutritious lunch that will keep them full until the end of the day.
Turkey BLT Roll Ups
Whether your child has a gluten allergy or you’re encouraging grain-free eating habits, turkey roll ups can be a great lunch for summer days. Roll lettuce, tomato slices, and strips of bacon in slices of turkey for the main event, and add in the fruits and veggies of your choice. You can add chocolate pudding and apple sauce in the other compartments of the bento lunch box to finish up the meal. This lunch is easy to remix with ham and cheese wraps or any other combo your child might enjoy. Bento boxes often contain at least one large compartment, making it easy to store multiple turkey roll ups in each lunch and ensuring that your child is getting enough to eat.
While pizza isn’t the healthiest option, it’s a nice treat to celebrate the end of a long week. They’re easy to make ahead and reheat on the day they’re packed, and they can be customized with your child’s favorite toppings. You may even be able to roll in some spinach, bell peppers, or other vegetables, too. Pack a few pizza rolls with a solid serving of sliced veggies and fruits, like carrots, bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries, or grapes to boost the nutrition factor. These portable, make-ahead rolls are a time-saving option when it seems like you’ll never make it out the door. Thanks to the all-in-one design of bento lunch boxes, you won’t have to spend extra time searching for the right lid for multiple containers — just pack in all in one box the night before, and toss it into your child’s lunch box before heading out for another activity-packed summer day.