Bento box lunch ideas for kids have to be simple. I know it’s fun to search out elaborate creations online, but as someone with three kids, I don’t have time to weave together anything uber-creative at 6:45 in the morning.
I need a balanced meal that my children will eat. Basically… I need bento ideas for kids they will like to consume AND I will like to make. That’s the truth, isn’t it? It has to work for everyone involved. Me and the kids. Notice how I started with me first. What? I’m an only child.
Bento Box Lunch Ideas For Kids
The truth of the matter is that my youngest child doesn’t eat sandwiches. My oldest child doesn’t eat meat. My middle child doesn’t eat peanut butter or cold cuts. I feel like I’m running a restaurant at times and I know that you understand the feeling.
It’s important to keep everyone’s dietary and personal preferences in mind, but it’s also important to stay mindful of your own time and energy. The last thing we need to do is to start off the day in a HUFF because there are too many tasks on your plate.
Bento Lunch Ideas
I like the concept of Bento lunches because they are built off of compartments. The way we design our bento box lunches revolves around the food pyramid. We try to ensure that our children get some fruit, dairy, starch, and a protein.
Like I mentioned, my children each have issues with different types of foods and so we have to swap out one or two things from each. But 75% of the base remains the same.
For example, everyone will get cut up strawberries, cheese, and crackers. Two out of the three will get peanut butter cups and the last will get rolled up turkey slices. Once you understand the four squares that you want to fill, the rest is simple. Bento box lunch ideas for kids can get set up any way you’d like.
In case you are looking for bento box lunch ideas for kids, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Strawberries, yogurt, string cheese, crackers
- Rolled up turkey, sliced cheese, grapes, goldfish crackers
- Celery and carrots, rolled up salami, Baby Bell cheese, crackers
- Applesauce, String cheese, crackers, grapes, cookie
- Rolled up turkey, sliced cheese, strawberries, crackers, tomatoes
- Applesauce, sliced cheese, rolled up turkey, strawberries, cookie
- Cheerios, orange slices, Pizza bites, cucumbers, cookie
- Pretzels, dried fruit, peanut butter dip, string cheese, apple sauce
Print Your Copy Here
If you’d like to print a copy of this bento recipe cheat sheet, click here. This is two weeks worth of lunches for us because we always let our children buy lunch one day a week as a treat. After a while, you will get the hang of using what you have in your refrigerator and alternating through fruit and protein.
I didn’t include any granola bars or nuts because I didn’t want to put too many nut products on this form just in case you have a nut-free school. Instead, I just sprinkled in peanut butter a few times, but you get the idea. Granola bars are also another great option to consider, but I would take the wrapper off.
If you like premade snacks, Lil Bites are also another great option to weave in. Just make sure you take them out of the package so it is easier for your children to get to them when they need to. Do whatever you’d like with my bento box lunch ideas for kids – make them your own!!
Types Of Bento Boxes
This section contains affiliate links.
The Bento Boxes that we use in our house are from Amazon. They are available here and are 100% BPA free, PP material. MICROWAVE, DISHWASHER & FREEZER safe.
The reason why I like this particular brand is that they fit easily in my son’s lunchbox and they come with removable compartments. So, depending on how I want to configure the lunch determines on how many compartments I use. Pretty sweet.
What Food Should Be Avoided In Children’s Lunch Boxes?
You have to remember what it means for a child to eat at school without you. Yes, there will be helpers in the lunchroom that can assist children if need be, but try not to make things too difficult.
Complicated wrappers, nut-related products (consider your school rules), and foods your children struggle with should be avoided for simplicity reasons.
No one is going to reason with your children as they sit at the lunch table. Your children will just not eat and they will bring everything home and you will get upset. Believe me, we’ve been there. I much rather my child eat chopped up string cheese than no cheese at all.
Bento Box Meal Prep
Believe it or not, bento box meal prep is really easy! On Sunday, I just wash and chop everything that I need from the refrigerator – including vegetables and fruit. If I have strawberries, I cut the tops off and prep as much as possible while my day is slow. The last thing I want to do is waste time during the chaos that is the hour before school.
As far as shopping is concerned, I do bulk shopping at BJ’s and store all the crackers, goldfish and pretzels in my pantry. I really don’t worry about splitting these out ahead of time because I really only take a handful out every morning. No need to prep this – it will take you two seconds.
And when you bulk shop for your pretzels, your box will last you the entire month! So, not only are you saving money but you are also saving time.
So, bento box meal prep honestly will take you about 20 minutes for the whole week. It’s really not that big of a deal. This is my favorite type of lunch to make and to eat.
I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, antipasti is my favorite course to eat. So, it makes sense that my children like to “pick” their way through a meal as well.
A bento box meal is really just like a mini- antipasti if you think about it. Yum and yum!
Are you ready to give bento recipes a shot? A healthy bento box can go a long way at school. And it doesn’t have to be only for kids, either! I personally eat these all the time as well.
I hope these bento box lunch ideas for kids give you the inspiration that you need to tackle this week with full force. I know how trying it is to have to make meals for 21 years in a row. I am currently living your exact life. It only gets easier when you have a plan. That’s my official mom hack.
Other Recipes Your Kids Will Love:
- Mac and cheese bites
- Chicken cutlets breaded in the Ninja Foodi
- Mozzarella Meatball Sliders
- Easy homemade pizza bagels
- Chicken noodle soup