Our satisfying Back-to-School Bento Box is jam-packed with fluffy Mahatma® White Rice, protein, and crunchy vegetables: perfect for packed lunches, in picnic baskets, and during beach days.
Cook rice according to package directions. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Stir into rice.
Divide rice between 4 bowls or lunch boxes. Arrange eggs, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots and avocado evenly over top. Top with sesame seeds (if using).
Pack in a divided compartment bento box if desired.
Top rice with your favorite vegetables!
It’s no surprise that bento boxes have been around since the 13th century: these containers keep perfectly portioned meals fresh and delicious until you’re ready to dine. In fact, bento means convenient in Japanese! A great bento has a combination of flavors and textures, and our bento box follows the traditional recipe: rice, protein, and a mix of vegetables.
Make sure the rice is completely cool before packing your box. You don’t want to steam up your container!
Keep your lunch cool by tossing an ice pack into your lunch bag. This is more important when you include fresh ingredients.
Simplify your mornings by packing lunch the night before. Better yet, freeze portioned rice in freezer bags. Then, simply pull out a portion — we recommend leaving it in the fridge overnight — whenever you’re craving a satisfying packed lunch. This is yet another recipe to add to the Best Rice Recipes for Meal Prep right alongside making rice varieties like Jasmine Rice in the Instant Pot.
Packing lunches doesn’t have to be a chore; in fact, it’s yet another way to teach children responsibility, independence, and the value of hard work. Also, let’s be honest, it’ll be one less thing on your to-do list!
Younger kids do need supervision, but it’s a great way to spend time together as a family; these Fun Tips for Cooking with Kids have plenty of ideas of safe tasks for those under 8 years old. As they get older, give options of which proteins, vegetables, and fruits to include in their lunches — just this inch of freedom will make lunch more satisfying. This is a particularly useful strategy when you have a picky eater! When they are ready to make lunches solo, make sure you set them up for success. This could include having ice packs chilled and ready, having thermoses or water bottles, or — you guessed it — having the perfect lunch container at their disposable. Bento boxes’ compartments keep foods from “touching each other” and keep dry foods dry and moist foods moist!
Get inspiration from these Lunch Recipe Ideas for Back to School to create balanced meals your kids will look forward to all morning! Next, try something that everyone will enjoy like a base of Mexican Rice topped with chicken or a Chicken Paella.
Don’t have a bento box? Keep flavors separate and prevent any possible unwanted mushiness by putting any sauces or moist foods inside of a silicone muffin liner, then tuck those inside of your container. If you have some mason jars, our tasty Mason Jar Rice Salad has also solved the soggy salad problem.