15 Awesome Winter Bento Box Ideas

Nicole Pomarico | Jan 14, 2020 Food & Party
15 Awesome Winter Bento Box Ideas
Image: iStock

bento box
iStock

When it comes to lunch box ideas, there are few easier solutions than anything that has to do with a bento box. Whether the lunch is for a kid to take to school or to take to work instead of eating a boring, sad salad, a bento box is easy to put together, and best of all, it's actually fun and interesting to eat. And now that it's cold outside, the lunch strategy might change a bit -- but don't worry. There are tons of winter bento box ideas out there, including foods that will make anyone feel warm and cozy and veggies that are in season during the colder months. 

A bento box isn't always healthy, but it definitely can be, and this list includes options for those of us who are trying to clean up our eating in 2020 (without making ourselves miserable in the process). There are also plenty of boxes that are already picky kid-approved, and of course, all of the additions to these boxes can be substituted or switched out for taste or variety as needed. That's the beauty of bento boxes: they're totally customizable and there's no way to create one the "wrong" way. They can be as creative or simple as time allows, and they work well for meal prepping for anyone who's short on time during the week.

Read on for ideas for winter bento boxes to try out this season. Before we know it, spring will be here, so it's time to take advantage of cozier foods ... and to make good use of that slow cooker before it gets too hot outside to even think about soup or chili. 

Happy lunching! 

  • Pizza & Salad Bento

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    pizza and salad
    iStock

    What could be easier than using leftovers to make lunch? This bento box includes a small salad and leftover pizza cut into strips. Add in some fruit, nuts, and a small protein bar, and we can call this meal complete -- and yummy.

  • Mini Quiche Box 

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    iStock

    Making these spinach and bacon mini quiches ahead of time will make lunch a snap all week long, and all anyone has to add is sides. Adding some fruit, veggies, or yogurt on the side will complete the meal, and can offer up plenty of variety, too. 

  • Japanese Omelette 

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    Japanese omelette
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    Eggs are incredibly versatile, and when combined with rice and a few other ingredients, they can be filling, too. This recipe for a Japanese Omelette is perfect for any winter bento box, and although it does include a few specialty ingredients, it will also feel a little extra fancy at lunch. 

  • Roasted Winter Squash Salad 

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    winter squash salad
    iStock

    The ingredients in this salad -- like the squash and Fuji apples -- are at their peak tastiness in the winter, so why not take advantage of it (especially since it's healthy)? Whip up this salad and separate into portions to last all week long, and then add extra fruit, nuts, and/or avocado on the side.

  • Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs 

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    teriyaki chicken meatballs
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    In this box, making the teriyaki chicken meatballs will require a little prep, but being that it makes 60 meatballs, we'd say the whole family will be set for the week -- at least. And adding rice and asparagus to the meal couldn't be easier. 

  • Slow Cooker Chili 

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    chili
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    It's chili season, so why not make it the main part of a bento box? This chili can be made in big batches in a slow cooker, and then portioned out. Add some veggies to munch on and some tortilla chips on the side, and lunch is complete. 

  • Broccoli & Cheese Soup 

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    broccoli and cheese soup
    iStock

    Nothing is better than hot soup on a cold day, so why not give this slow cooker broccoli and cheese soup a try? The beauty of packing soup as part of a lunch are all the options that come with it -- toasted bread for dipping sounds delightful. 

  • Clean Eating Bento Box 

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    iStock

    Have a few resolutions the family's trying to reach? Consider lunch taken care of with this clean eating bento box. Stuffed with cheese, fruit, and some sugar snap peas, it's pretty basic, but perfect for those of us who love snacking instead of lunch and want to keep things on the healthier side.

  • Taco Salad Bento Box 

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    taco salad
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    This taco salad is quickly whipped up with ground beef, cheese, lettuce, and salsa. Then, the box gets filled with corn, guac, chips, and some fruit to round the whole thing out. Looks like this will please adults and picky eaters alike! 

  • Mediterranean Bento Box 

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    pita and hummus
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    A Mediterranean bento box adds a little variety into the lunch routine -- and it's perfect for snackers. Cheese, grapes, and veggies all come together with a tortilla or pita bread cut into slices and some hummus for dipping.

  • Egg & Cheese Bento Box

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    eggs and fruit
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    Fans of the protein boxes at Starbucks will love this egg and cheese bento box. It's practically the same thing, made at home (and a lot cheaper). Hard boiled eggs, cheese, almonds, and fruit including grapes and apples -- what could be simpler than that? 

  • Burrito Bowl Bento Box

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    burrito bowl
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    Who needs Chipotle when making a burrito bowl bento box at home is this easy? Choose whatever protein sounds good -- like black beans or shredded chicken -- and prep plenty of it to last the whole week. Then, include ingredients for topping, like cheese, guac, corn ... the combinations are endless. 

  • Ham Sammie Bento

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    ham sandwich
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    Even making a ham sandwich fun is easy to do with this recipe. It's as simple as combining a ham sandwich with snacks on the side like Babybel cheese and some cold, raw veggies. Healthy and delicious ... and easy to put together on a time crunch.

  • Tofu Skewers 

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    tofu skewers
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    Looking for a vegetarian-friendly bento box? Look no further than these skewers of tofu. It can be smoked or baked before skewering up, and then combined in a bento box with cucumbers or other veggies, and even a potato salad. 

  • Gyoza Bento Box 

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    gyoza
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    The gyoza in this box can be made from scratch or bought frozen and then steamed and combined with seasoned rice, broccoli, and cucumber. Depending on how fancy we're feeling, this can be a work of art or the gyoza can just be added to a box with simpler side dishes. 

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