(Photos by Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

This story originally published in August 2016.

A new school year often brings new lunchboxes along with the piles of school supplies. You may have seen bento boxes, which are Japanese-style food containers that are divided into compartments. You can find fancy metal boxes or simple plastic options, but the idea is to keep food separated. So your blackberries won’t turn your pita chips purple.

If you have a new bento box or are thinking about buying one, you might wonder what to put inside. Food blogger Michele Olivier shares lots of ideas in her new book “Little Bento: 32 Irresistible Bento Box Lunches for Kids.” She organizes the recipes by season, so there are warm foods for the fall and winter, fresh fruits and vegetables for summer. We chose one of her year-round options: “Banana + Peanut Butter Rollups With Cinnamon + Honey.” They’re so easy that you can make them in a few minutes with just a little help from Mom or Dad.

The only challenge may be leaving them in your bento box until lunchtime.

“Banana + Peanut Butter Rollups With Cinnamon + Honey”

Adult help: Yes

Kitchen gear: Cutting board, small spatula, sharp knife

Total time: 5 minutes

Makes: 6 one-inch slices


Flour tortilla, large (about 8 inches)

2 to 3 tablespoons peanut butter, or any nut or seed butter, divided

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons honey


Nutella (optional)


1. Place flour tortilla on a cutting board. Spread a thin layer of peanut butter or other nut butter (1½ to 2 tablespoons) on the entire surface of tortilla.

2. Sprinkle cinnamon and drizzle honey on top of the peanut butter.

3. Place peeled banana on tortilla about an inch from edge nearest you. Pull edge up and gently press onto middle portion of banana. (The tortilla should stick to the banana.)

4. Slowly roll the tortilla and banana away from you while gently pressing to keep the tortilla tightly wrapped.

5. Using a sharp knife, trim the two ends of the roll. Cut the remainder of the roll into 1-inch slices. Turn the slices on their sides and cover the exposed banana with about ½ teaspoon of peanut butter or Nutella.

Place several slices in bento box compartment, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store overnight in the refrigerator.