Working Mother

4 of the Easiest, Healthiest, Make-Ahead Bento Lunches You'll Ever Find

They are perfect for bringing to school or work.

Homemade bento lunches are a great way to save money and eat more nutritiously. Though they can look intimidating to prepare, making the components in advance—say, on the weekends—and stashing them in your freezer or refrigerator can save you time in the long run. Then, all you need to do is assemble the bento boxes in the morning or the night before.

For some bento box inspiration, check out these recipes from Just Bento Cookbook 2: Make-Ahead, Easy, Healthy Lunches To Go, by Makiko Itoh ($13, amazon.com).

The Just Bento Cookbook 2: Make-Ahead, Easy, Healthy Lunches to Go by Makiko Itoh

There are plenty of recipes for moms and kids alike.

Photo: Makiko Itoh

1. Teriyaki Meatballs

Makes 20 to 24 meatballs

These meatballs are poached in water rather than pan-fried, then coated in a sweet-salty teriyaki sauce. Working the meat well until it’s sticky ensures that the meatballs are soft and tender even when cold, and poaching them cuts down a little on the fat content.

Basic Poached Meatball Mix

1 lb (450 g) ground beef (15 to 20 percent fat) or a combination of ground pork and beef 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 egg ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper, or ½ cup (25 g) soft breadcrumbs 2 to 3 tablespoons milk or water, optional

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