The compact food container, which originated in Japan, features anywhere from two to five compartments, each meant for a different meal element. While moms have been using them to pack their kids nutrient-packed meals, the boxes are winning over adults who want to eat more balanced, portion-controlled meals on the go—without using every Tupperware container in their kitchen.
These boxes have been popping up all over Instagram, with fit foodies sharing images of their healthy lunches and on-the-go weight loss snack combos. Looking to get in on the trend? We’ve rounded up some of the most delicious-looking bento boxes on Instagram to help fuel your lunchtime inspiration:
PROTEIN & PRODUCE BENTO BOX
This protein-filled lunchbox features Applegate Farms turkey, raw nuts, cucumber slices, grapes, celery and almond butter for dunking. We’re big fans of the nut spread because it contains a compound that limits the amount of fat the body can absorb — not to mention the flavor we can’t get enough of! Never tried it? Next time you’re at the store, pick up a jar instead of your typical PB to shake up your daily diet.
BEETS, EGGS & FRUIT BENTO BOX
A veggie-packed salad fills this box’s main compartment while raspberry-topped yogurt, almonds and vitamin C-rich orange segments take up the smaller spaces. We love how Instagrammer Valerie pairs her meal with a bloat-busting lemon and mint detox water. Lemon peels contain an enzyme that gives sluggish bowels a kick, which can de-puff your belly almost instantly.
VEGGIE LETTUCE CUPS, EDAMAME & FRUIT BENTO BOX
Featuring a homemade veggie patty and crunchy lettuce cups, this bento box is perfect for a Meatless Monday meal on the run. The edamame provides an additional source of plant-based protein, and the berries and cinnamon-dusted apples add a sweet flavor kick. Belinda Smith, the Instagrammer behind this delicious-looking lunch, mixes yogurt with raspberry chia jam to create a healthier, protein-filled spin on a classic fruit dip.
TEX-MEX BENTO BOX
Chipotle, you’ve finally met your match! This delicious-looking bento is filled with Instagrammer Jamie’s taco bar dinner leftovers. Healthy fats from avocado and water-filled fruits skyrocket the meal’s satiety factor. We also like that the tortilla is kept to a small portion. Since Jamie is eating a refined grain variety, the smaller serving size ensures her blood sugar levels stay balanced, keeping hunger at bay.
TABBOULEH BENTO BOX
Tabbouleh, the Mediterranean dish that fills the largest compartment of this bento box, is a fat-fighting machine. The olive oil used in this traditional dish is a healthy fat shown to boost satiety by increasing blood serotonin levels. But that’s not all: The whole-grain bulgur, which makes up the bulk of the dish, is loaded with hunger-crushing fiber and protein. An assortment of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies rounds out the meal.
VEGGIE ROLLS, OLIVES, CHEESE & FRUIT BENTO BOX
Looking for some healthy vegetarian lunch inspiration? This delicious-looking meal is on point. The homemade veggie roll entrée is accompanied by a number of sides including belly-filling fruit and cashews, a nut that’s rich in nail-strengthening biotin. Together, they create a light and flavorful midday pick-me-up that’s sure to please your tummy and taste buds alike.
BREAKFAST BENTO BOXES
If you typically eat breakfast at your desk, skip the sugary coffee shop pastry and whip up an a.m. bento box using this one from Instagrammer Jamie as your inspiration. We love that she includes some protein- and calcium-filled Greek yogurt, an Envirokidz Peanut Choco Bar (120 calories, 8 grams of sugar) and a small serving of trail mix to keep hunger at bay until lunchtime.
SWEET & SAVORY SNACK BOX
Kick your vending machine cravings to the curb with this salty-n-sweet box. The veggies and fruits are filled with fiber and water so they’re sure to quiet any stomach rumblings. And the creamy, calcium-filled cheese and mini M&Ms squash those 3 p.m. cravings for diet-derailing treats.
GRILLED SIRLOIN BENTO BOX
Bring the steakhouse to your office desk with this meat-filled bento box. The meal is rounded out by kale, blueberries (a fruit that has been shown to ward off cognitive decline) and cucumber, a low-cal veggie that’s 95 percent water. Go ahead and whip up your own version at home — you have our permission to chomp away guilt-free!
Mommy and Me Bento Boxes
Here, Instagrammer Valerie shows off the weekend picnic bento boxes she made for herself and her son. Her son’s box contains a variety of nutrient-packed options including zig-zag veggies — a shape that’s sure to make noshing on carrots and cucumbers far more enjoyable. The main attraction in Mom’s box is a feta-topped salad that pairs nicely with a small serving of crunchy almonds, a nut that has been shown to reduce belly fat. She also prepared some mint and lime infused detox water.