A newly married friend of mine starts work later than her husband, and so most weekdays she packs lunch for both of them. (He usually makes breakfast. They're known to friends as Mr. and Mrs. Turkeybird; evidently he's the early bird and she's the night owl.)
The Turkeybirds don't have bento boxes per se. However, being interested in nutrition and green living as well as in keeping things interesting, Mrs. T. makes do with a variety of reusable containers. She sends this picture of her husband's lunch for today:
She told me about it on the phone. She laid a tortilla on a Wrap-n-mat (along with a paper plate, which will be necessary for reheating). On that you can see hot picante sauce in a little restaurant cup--its lid is not very secure, so it will travel in the meat container. That's sauteed ground beef with bell peppers in a glass container that can also function as a drinking glass (seen at ten o'clock if you imagine the hot sauce as the center of a clock face). There are more bell peppers and some romaine in the Lock and Lock box pictured at eight o'clock.
At the top are some raspberries in a clear box; rice crackers are in a reused cottage cheese container. Off to the right are two cheese sticks, and she even sends his vitamins in a tiny jelly jar (at three o'clock). Not shown: a spoon wrapped in a cloth napkin and his insulated lunch bag with a built-in ice pack.
Now here's her own lunch:
Clockwise from the top:
-- Cherry tomatoes with a pick in a Lock and Lock container.
-- Rice cakes in a Gladware container
-- Cheese stick
-- Peas in a Pyrex bowl
-- Roasted red pepper and tomato soup in a Frigoverre container.
So the lesson from the Turkeybirds is this: if you are looking at the whole bento idea but feeling the equipment is a bit much for you, start by figuring out what you like to eat that is good for you, and then find what you can to make that work. Use leftovers as a starting point. Packing your lunch can be as simple--and as delicious--as you want it to be.