Healthy Snack/Lunch Bento Boxes

Today, I am preparing to house sit/dog sit and take care of my French bulldog friends, Theo and Remy. The dog owners usually stock the freezer with some of my favorite healthy frozen foods, but I thought I would pack some supplemental bento boxes that could work perhaps as lunches or as healthy snack boxes.

I went out to the grocery store with some ideas but not too much of a plan and picked up a variety of healthy snacks.

I picked up some savory plantain chips and cheesy kale chips …

some baby carrots with avocado ranch dip, strawberries, vanilla yogurt covered raisins and light Babybel cheeses,

some sundried tomatoes,

and Annie’s fruit snacks that came in cute shapes like barns, tractors, pigs, sheep, cows, bunnies and carrots. I’m sure they are meant to have kid appeal for kids’ lunches, but I am a kid at heart, so why not?

Here’s a little humor for you on these fruit snacks. As I was putting together my bento boxes with these fruit snacks, I couldn’t recognize all of the shapes unless they were flipped the right way. The molded details are really only on one side. I was assuming one of them was a tractor until I flipped it and saw it was a cow. Mom got a kick out of that and said, “You can’t tell the difference between a tractor and a cow? You wouldn’t make a very good farmer. You would sit on the cow and try to plow the field!”

The variety of snacks meant that each bento box could be a bit different, and I wouldn’t be eating something identical every day.

I used these segmented plastic lunch boxes that I purchased some time back on …

And used some silicone cupcake liners that helped me squeeze in a few more compartments for separate items.

Here are a few different layouts ..

yogurt covered raisins, kale chips, plantain chips, sundried tomatoes, fruit snacks, Babybel cheese and strawberries
strawberries, Babybel cheese, yogurt covered raisins, sundried tomatoes, kale chips and plantain chips
yogurt covered raisins, Babybel cheese, fruit snacks, plantain chips, carrots and avocado ranch dip

Some of you may notice that it seems spare for a lunch or is lacking in more protein based snacks. Partly, I’m not sure if these will end up being snacks or lunches. In the past, when I have done something like this, I have included rolls of turkey cold cuts or turkey rolled with a little neufchatel cream cheese and lettuce. So, there’s an idea for more protein. For snacks, the portioning helps to limit some of the snacks that have more calories or fat, although I don’t feel like I need to limit carrots or strawberries.

I think bento boxes like this can serve different purposes. With a few changes, they could work as kids’ snack or lunch boxes. A few of these snacks like the carrots, cheese or fruit snacks are kid-friendly. I’m not sure about the sundried tomatoes or kale chips, but it might depend on the kid. You might want to double up on the protein for a lunch box, but with a few moderations, this could work for either an adult or child’s lunch box.

You could pack some of these bento boxes for a vacation, so you have some options for lunches or snacks while on the road or, if you have a fridge where you are staying, you have some options for either snacks or lunches that won’t involve eating out.

I want to show you a few other food or drink items I am packing.

I am growing to like these Bubly sparkling water drinks. I am trying to drink more water and less of other drinks that have sugar, and plain water is not as interesting to me as this sparkling water is. This just has a little bit of fruit flavoring and carbonation and nothing artificial.

I also got these tiny frozen desserts — ice cream surrounded by mochi. Mochi is a sweet Japanese snack made with glutinous rice. I got them in six different flavors: cookies and cream, vanilla bean, green tea, ripe strawberry, double chocolate and dulce de leche. The packaging is so tiny that there is no nutritional information on it, but I am assuming that just the tiny portion size makes it a better choice than some other frozen desserts would be.

I hope this post gives you some inspiration about healthy eating and snack or lunch prep.

Southwest Turkey Taco Salad


(Servings: 3 large lunch salads)

small head of leafy lettuce (I used red Cherokee lettuce from our CSA)

1 lb. ground turkey

I package taco seasoning

black beans, about 3/4 of a 15.5 oz. can, drained and rinsed

8.5 oz. can of Niblets corn (or the equivalent in frozen corn)

1 Roma tomato, chopped

3/4 avocado or 3/4 of 7.5 oz. package of chunky guacamole

about a cup of shredded Mexican blend cheese

a handful of tortilla chips, crunched in pieces, per salad

bottled chipotle ranch dressing (I used Marie’s brand)

First, cook the ground turkey with the taco seasoning until the turkey is browned and no longer pink. I happened to use taco seasoning this time that was made for pork, but it still worked well.

Lately, I like to assemble salads into individual bowls instead of one large bowl. It’s easier to see that each person gets equal portions of the different salad components. After washing and spinning the lettuce, tear it into individual bowls.

Drain the corn. Drain and rinse the black beans in a collander. Rinse and dice the Roma tomato.

Lately, I can not find ripe avocadoes that are ready on the day that I shop, if I’m doing last minute shopping. So, on this day, I chose a chunky guacamole instead which worked well. You can use either.

Now, assemble the salad, spooning the toppings in rows over top of the lettuce beds: the turkey, black beans, corn, guacamole (or avocado chunks,) diced tomato and shredded cheese.

Crunch a few tortilla chips on top of each salad. I ran out of room for stripes, so I did a stripe of crunchy chip pieces in the opposite direction. Spoon the dressing in stripes, going the opposite direction.

Assembling the ingredients in rows is nice for presentation. Additionally, although it might not be absolutely necessary, this type of assembly does help to visualize equal portions in each salad, and spooning on the dressing in rows does make it a little easier to mix in evenly later when you stir everything up.

Red, White and Blue (And Green) Salad

5 oz. baby spinach

half pint blueberries

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/8 cup Craisins (dried cranberries)

Makes about three big salads. Serve with a raspberry vinaigrette. I used bottled Marie’s brand raspberry vinaigrette.

This is one of my favorite combinations in a salad. It happens to have all the right colors for the Fourth of July (with the addition of a lot of green) and would also work well as a side dish for a Fourth of July picnic or barbecue.

This salad is full of nutrition. Spinach is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, folic acid, iron and calcium. Blueberries are a great source of Vitamin K1, Vitamin C and manganese and these antioxidants: anthocyanins, quercetin and myricetin.

Caprese Quinoa Salad with Lox

I made this quinoa salad today with some leftover cooked quinoa. I planned to make a Caprese style salad and, in a spontaneous moment, added some lox. It pays to experiment sometimes. It turned out very well.

Caprese Quinoa Salad with Lox

2 cups cooked quinoa

8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved

6 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks

A bunch of chopped basil

4 oz. lox, chopped into small pieces

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Three Healthy Lunch Ideas

Here are three of my recent healthy lunches that might inspire you to do your own version. Two salads listed here are almost “recipes,” but I won’t call them recipes, because the measurements are more to taste than precise, and I used store bought bottled dressings. You can certainly use any of these as inspiration for a healthy and tasty lunch.

I often like to assemble salads on individual plates/bowls rather than in a big bowl. It makes for a nice presentation, but it also helps to make sure everyone gets an adequate amount of the good stuff and the right amount of dressing, neither skimping nor drowning it too much.

1.) Berry, Fig and Clementine Mesclun Salad

Berry, Fig and Clementine Mesclun Salad


  • mesclun, rinsed and spun
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • Black Mission figs, quartered
  • clementine sections
  • pecan halves
  • blue cheese crumbles
  • bottled poppy seed dressing (I used Brianna’s Home Style brand.)

This next salad was made with a “spicy greens mix” from our CSA. I don’t think I can tell you what was in the mix other than arugula.

2.) Berry, Feta, Arugula Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts

Berry, Feta, Arugula Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts


  • arugula, rinsed and spun
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • cubed feta cheese
  • toasted pine nuts
  • bottled raspberry vinaigrette (I used Ken’s Light Options raspberry walnut vinaigrette.)

Hint: It’s easy to burn pine nuts or any nuts. I’ve done it. Now, I turn the heat off after two minutes, and it comes out well.

3.) Strawberry, Kiwi Cottage Cheese Plate


  • Low fat cottage cheese, about a third of container per plate.
  • Strawberry slices from four or five strawberries
  • One sliced kiwi

Simple. You can arrange the fruit on top or stir them in. I liked to take a spoonful of fruit and then get a little scoop of cottage cheese on my spoon.

I hope this inspires you that healthy eating can be delicious too.