Bento Box Kids Lunch Ideas: healthy and easy (2024)

Looking for fun and nutritious bento box kids lunch ideas? You’re in the right place! Bento boxes are a fantastic way to pack a variety of foods in a compact, kid-friendly way. Whether your little one is a picky eater or an adventurous foodie, bento boxes can cater to every taste. They’re not just about sandwiches; think colorful fruits, crunchy veggies, protein-packed bites, and a little treat to sweeten the deal. Bento boxes encourage kids to try new foods and enjoy a balanced meal, all while having fun with the presentation. Let’s dive into some creative ideas that will make lunchtime the highlight of your kid’s day!

bento box kids lunch ideas

Packing the right food for our children can truly be a challenge. Some eat a lot, some little, and then there are times when they forget to eat altogether. We’ve probably all experienced it – in the afternoon, the kids come home and their lunchboxes are still full. Our children are often influenced by their peers when it comes to eating. If the others don’t eat something, suddenly that food is uncool, even though they always ate it before. They are simply fickle until they develop their own opinions.

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The key to a successful kids lunch bento box is balance and variety. You want to have a good mix of the following:

  • Proteins: such as turkey roll-ups or hard-boiled eggs
  • Carbohydrates: including whole grain sandwiches or rice
  • Vegetables: like carrot sticks or cucumber slices
  • Fruits: such as apple wedges or grapes
  • Dairy: cheese cubes or yogurt

Not only do bento boxes help in portion control, but they also make lunchtime exciting for kids with their colorful and diverse choices. Let’s not forget the fun part: cookie cutters can turn a regular sandwich into a work of art, and cute picks can make fruit and veggies irresistible.

With a bento box, the possibilities are endless and you can cater to your child’s taste, even if they’re a picky eater. Pack a wholesome lunch that your kids are guaranteed to love and look forward to! Ready to get started? Let’s jump in!

Nutritionally Balanced Bento Ideas

When it comes to preparing a bento box lunch for your kids, striking that balance between appealing flavors and nutritional value doesn’t have to be a struggle. These ideas offer a combination of key nutrients that are essential for your child’s growth and development:

Protein-Packed Combinations:

  • Turkey Roll-ups: Pair lean turkey slices with cheese and whole wheat tortillas for a protein-rich bite. Incorporate variations with different deli meats or lettuce wraps for variety.
  • Hummus and Veggie Slices: Chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber. Serve with colorful vegetable sticks to make the lunch box visually appealing and nutritionally balanced.

Whole Grains for Sustained Energy:

  • Whole Wheat Pasta Salads: Toss in some cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers, and a sprinkle of feta cheese with a light dressing for a flavorful and filling side.
  • Rice or Quinoa Bowls: Mix in some veggies or a few pieces of bite-sized grilled chicken for a heartier option.

Fruits and Vegetables for Vitamins:

  • Cheesy Beans with Tortilla Strips: Top canned beans with shredded cheese, which pairs well with whole wheat tortilla strips for a fun, finger-food style meal packed with fiber and calcium.
  • Veggie “Sushi” Rolls: Spread hummus on a whole wheat tortilla, add avocado and shredded carrots, then roll and slice into sushi-style pieces for a fun way to present vegetables.

Remember to include a small treat, such as a blueberry muffin or a homemade cookie, to round out the meal with a sweet note. Keeping your kids excited about their lunch often means bringing in elements of fun and novelty, besides being nutrition-conscious.

We desire a healthy diet for our children. With the help of the bento box, we can portion everything quite well. But what do we do with the leftovers? For us, it’s quite simple: I get to eat the leftovers.

Themed Bento Boxes for Kids

bento box kids lunch ideas

Dive into a world of creative lunches with themed bento box kids lunch ideas that capture your child’s imagination. Make mealtime an adventure they look forward to every day.

Fun Characters

Transform a simple lunch into a story with character-themed bento boxes.

  • Superheroes: Imagine their delight in finding a bento styled after their favorite superhero, complete with sandwich shields and fruit capes.
  • Cartoons: For little fans of animation, character-shaped rice balls or sandwiches resembling beloved cartoon friends add a smile to lunchtime.

Seasonal Themes

Celebrate the changing seasons with bento boxes that reflect the time of year.

  • Fall Harvest: Pack a bento with pumpkin-shaped cheese slices or a turkey and cranberry wrap to give a nod to autumn’s bounty.
  • Winter Wonderland: Create a frosty feast with snowman-shaped rice balls and veggies cut like snowflakes, perfect for a cozy winter meal.

Themes are always a hit with children. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about bed linen, new toys, clothing, or food. With the right theme, they’ll buy into anything we offer.

DIY Bento Box Accessories

bentobox ideas

Creating unique and fun bento box kids lunch ideas is simpler than you might think, especially with the right DIY accessories. Tailoring these handy additions for your child’s bento box will not only make meals more visually appealing but can also encourage pickier eaters to try new foods.

Homemade Dividers

Materials Needed:

  • Silicone baking sheets or sturdy parchment paper
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Measure the inside of your child’s bento box for the area you want to divide.
  2. Cut the silicone baking sheet or parchment paper to size, creating shapes if desired.

Tip: Silicone baking cups found in The 8 Bento Box Accessories I Use to Make Lunch for My Kids – Epicurious are also perfect for creating flexible, washable, and reusable dividers.

Decorative Picks

Materials Needed:

  • Toothpicks
  • Stickers
  • Small foam shapes or cutouts
  • Glue

Instructions:

  1. Choose stickers or cutouts that match the theme of your child’s lunch.
  2. Adhere the decoration to the top of a toothpick using a dab of glue.

Tip: Use the picks to skewer fruits, cheese, and other bite-sized items, adding a fun twist to the bento box lunch for kids.

Tips for Preparing Bento Lunches Quickly

ideas for bentobox

Looking for ways to pack your kids’ bento box lunches without the morning rush? Bento box kids lunch ideas can be as quick as they are delightful with a few simple tips. Here’s how you can whip up a fun and nutritious lunch in no time!

  • Pre-Cut Veggies and Fruit: Take some time during the weekend to chop veggies and fruits and store them in the fridge. This way, you can just grab and go in the mornings.
  • Use Silicone Muffin Cups: These are not just for baking! They can act as perfect dividers for keeping food items separate in a bento box.
  • Make It Themed: Themed lunches are not just fun—they can also speed up decision-making. Decide a theme for the week or individual days, and prep accordingly.
  • Invest in Pre-Cooked or No-Cook Items:
    • Pre-cooked chicken slices or meatballs.
    • Cheese sticks or cubes.
    • No-cook items like trail mix or granola bars.
  • Include Leftovers: Transform dinner’s leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch. Many meals like pasta or chicken can be eaten cold or at room temperature in a bento box.
  • Batch Prepare Proteins: Cook proteins like hard-boiled eggs, mini meatloaves, or falafel at the start of the week to use in multiple lunches.
  • Frozen Smoothie Packs: Blend fruits and veggies into a smoothie, freeze in a small container, and pop it into the bento as a cold pack to keep other items fresh. It will thaw by lunchtime.
  • Assembly Line: Set up an assembly line fashion for packing multiple bento boxes. Have all your ingredients laid out for efficient packing.

Remember, bento lunches are about variety and balance—pack a little bit of several different food groups to keep it interesting for your kids!

My personal opinion

Bento boxes are eco-friendly; they come with beautiful designs, and we can use them repeatedly. In the past, my food was packed in paper, which sometimes became damp in my school bag. Then there was aluminum foil, but it’s not very good for the environment. So, it’s better to simply use these boxes.

Frequently Asked Questions

healthy bentobox

Exploring bento box kids lunch ideas can spark creativity and ensure your little ones enjoy a variety of healthy, fun meals. Let’s tackle some common questions to help you get started.

What are some easy-to-make bento box meals for children?

You can whip up simple and tasty meals like turkey roll-ups with cheese wrapped in tortillas or an assortment of finger foods such as cut-up fruits, veggies, and crackers with cheese cubes.

How can I create a bento box lunch that accommodates picky eaters?

Focus on familiar favorites while introducing new items slowly. Include things like hummus and crackers or a jam sandwich, which are usually well-received by picky eaters.

What are some creative bento box ideas suitable for a 4-year-old?

For a 4-year-old, consider playful themes or shapes. Use cookie cutters to make star-shaped sandwiches or create a colorful fruit and vegetable rainbow to make the meal visually appealing and engaging. I can also understand not wanting to have leftovers. In that case, we simply eat them ourselves.

Can you suggest bento box options that work well for cold lunches?

Absolutely! Opt for foods that taste great when chilled, such as pasta salads, cold chicken strips, or egg muffins. Add in some yogurt or cheese sticks for dairy, and you’re all set.

How can I pack a nutritious and balanced bento box lunch for my child?

Aim for a mix of protein, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Use silicone baking cups for portion control and variety, and don’t forget to add a tiny bowl for dips or dressings to make veggies more appealing.


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Christian Düppre
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