Make packing lunches so much easier with these easy bento lunch box ideas. Bento boxes are an awesome way to pack a mix of nutritious foods together in one lunch box—and the options for what to pack is almost endless!
Bento Lunch Box Ideas
Using a bento box, or a divided lunch box, to pack lunches for kids can make it much easier to assemble balanced meals with less work. I’m not exactly sure why, but having those little compartments just makes it so much easier to find things to fill them! And sure, you can go with a theme for the whole box or use it to simply compartmentalize the foods—both approaches work.
Lunch Box Ideas for Picky Eaters
I’ve always found that lunch can be hectic and loud and kids are happy to eat simple, familiar foods. And so I did my best to include options here to appeal to more and less adventurous eaters. Of course adjust them as needed for the specific likes and dislikes of your kids.
Best Bento Boxes for Kids
You can find all of my favorite kids lunchboxes here, including my go-t0 bento boxes. I’ll note the brands under each photo in this post so you know what you’re looking at too!
Bento Box Idea #1: Egg Muffins
Making a batch of Spinach Egg Muffins ahead and packing them in lunches through the week (including your own!) is an easy way to get ahead. It’s also a great way to pack vegetarian protein and iron in a kid-friendly form. Pair with cantaloupe, cucumbers, and cereal. (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes Snack Box.)
Bento Box Idea #2: Hard-Cooked Egg Breakfast Box
Pair a hard-cooked egg with a mini bagel, sliced cheese and berries for a simple breakfast-for-lunch idea that kids of any age can enjoy.
Lunch Box Idea #3: Falafel Lunch
Pick up some premade falafel at the store (in the prepared foods aisle or frozen) and add a side of cucumber sauce for a fun lunch option. Easy sides like pretzel sticks, blueberries, and snap peas round it out. (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes Snack Box.)
Lunch Idea #4: Rotisserie Chicken Salad Lunch
Rely on a store-bought rotisserie chicken (or just a prepared breast or thigh) to make quick work of lunch. Dice it up and pack it in a bento box with halved cherry tomatoes, shredded lettuce, bread cubes, ranch and a side of halved grapes for a fun riff on chicken salad.
Bento Lunch Idea #5: Hummus and Crackers
If you have a kiddo who loves to dip, consider hummus and crackers. (You might need to try a few different brands to find one that the kids like best). Pair with crackers, cheese, and watermelon. Add another simple side like yogurt if the kids are typically hungrier.
Bento Idea #6: Bean Dip and Crackers
If the kids aren’t into hummus, try the crackers with another dip like black bean dip or guacamole.
Lunch Box Idea #7: Jam Sandwich
If the kids are tired of pb&j (or if they can’t bring them to preschool or school), try a jam sandwich. Add some protein with defrosted edamame beans (which are naturally a little sweet!), strawberries, and a side of fruit leather. (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes Snack Box.)
Lunch Idea #8: Turkey and Cheese Sandwich
There’s nothing wrong with going with the classic turkey and cheese sandwich! Make them mini and add to a bento box with easy sides of diced pineapple and bell pepper strips.
Lunch Idea #9: Hummus Sandwich Lunch
Spread a thin layer of hummus on whole grain bread and pack with a side of diced mango, shredded carrots, and an Energy Bite or a cookie.
Bento Lunch Box Idea #10: Blueberry Muffin Lunch
Muffin lunches are so darn easy since you can make them ahead and simply throw them into a lunch box right before leaving in the morning. Here, I have them shown with baby carrots and applesauce. Shred or thinly slice the carrots for younger eaters. (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes .)
Lunch Idea #11: Spinach Banana Muffin Lunch
Help the kids eat their greens by packing iron-rich spinach muffins for lunch. These are slightly sweet from the banana and store really well in the fridge or freezer. Pack with compartment of yogurt or cottage cheese and freeze-dried fruit.
Bento Idea #12: Veggie Muffin Lunch
Use a bento box with an insulated compartment (like the Omiebox) and pack warm Veggie Muffins for lunch. Add a side of milk, cucumber sticks, and melon for an easy kids lunch.
Bento Box Idea #13: Cheese and Cracker Box
Keep things simple with cheese and crackers, plus simple fruit and veggie sides like bell pepper, clementine, and peas. Quick and fun for the kids! (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes .)
Bento Lunch #14: Snack Box
Any assortment of snacks can become a healthy lunch if you mix nutrients from each food group. Pretzels, yogurt, strawberries, and snap peas; crackers, pepperoni, tomatoes, cherries…you see how to do it!
Lunch Idea #15: Taco Salad Box
Combine compartment of black or pinto beans, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and corn. Add a side container of guacamole or salsa and some baked tortilla chips for a fun salad box lunch.
Tips for Packing the Best Bento Lunch Box Ideas
- Adjust the portions based on your child’s normal appetite.
- Pack with milk or water.
- Try to make sure the foods will be easy for your child to eat.
- Try to send foods your child usually likes.
- If your child eats lunch at preschool or daycare, ask for feedback from their teacher about how much they’re eating and any issues they’re having.
- Close the bento and pack in an insulated lunch bag with a thin ice pack to keep the food safe.
I’d love to hear your favorite bento box ideas, especially if it’s not on my list here. Comment below so we can help more families face the challenge of packing lunches together!Print
Adjust these portions for the usual appetite of your child. Nutrition will vary based on the ingredients and portions you serve.
- Egg Muffin Lunch: 1-2 Egg Muffins, 1/4-1/2 cup cantaloupe, 1/4-1/2 cup sliced cucumbers, 1/2 cup puffs
- Hard-Cooked Egg Lunch: 1 hard-cooked egg, 1 mini bagel with 2 tablespoons cream cheese, 1 oz sliced cheese, 1/4-1/2 berries
- Falafel Lunch: 1-2 precooked falafel patties, 2 tablespoons cucumber sauce, 1/4-1/2 blueberries, 1/4-1/2 snap peas, 1/4-1/2 pretzels
- Rotisserie Chicken Salad Lunch: 1/4-1/2 cup diced rotisserie chicken, 1/4-1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons shredded lettuce, 1 slice whole grain bread, cut into cubes, 1/4-1/2 halved grapes, 2 tablespoons ranch
- Hummus and Crackers Lunch: 2 tablespoons hummus, 1/4-1/2 cup crackers, 1 oz cheese, 1/4-1/2 watermelon, yogurt tube
- Bean Dip and Crackers Lunch: 2 tablespoons bean dip, 1/4-1/2 cup crackers, 1 oz cheese, 1/4-1/2 watermelon, yogurt tube
- Jam Sandwich: 1-2 slices whole grain bread, 2 tablespoons all fruit jam, 1/4 cup edamame beans, 1/4-1/2 cup diced strawberries, fruit leather
- Turkey and Cheese Sandwich: 1-2 sliced whole grain bread, 1 oz cheese, 1 oz low sodium turkey, 1/4-1/2 cup diced pineapple, 1/4-1/2 cup bell pepper strips
- Hummus Sandwich Lunch: 1-2 whole grain bread, 2 tablespoons hummus, 2 tablespoons shredded carrots, 1/4-1/2 cup diced mango, 1 cookie
- Blueberry Muffin Lunch: 1-2 Blueberry Zucchini Muffins, 1/4-1/2 cup baby carrots, container applesauce
- Spinach Muffin Lunch: 1-2 Spinach Banana Muffins, 1/4-1/2 cup yogurt or cottage cheese, 1/4-1/2 cup freeze dried fruit
- Veggie Muffin Lunch: 1 Veggie Muffin, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cucumber sticks, 1/4-1/2 cup diced melon
- Cheese and Cracker Box: 1 oz cheese, 1/4-1/2 cup whole grain crackers, 1/4-1/2 cup berries, 1/4-1/2 cup cucumbers, 1/4-1/2 cup peas
- Snack Box Lunch: 1/4-1/2 cup pretzels, yogurt tube, 1/4-1/2 cup strawberries, 1/4-1/2 cup snap peas
- Taco Salad Box: 1/4 cup black or pinto beans, 2 tablespoons shredded lettuce, 2 tablespoons-1/4 cup shredded cheese, 1/4-1/2 cup corn, mini guacamole cup, 1/4-1/2 cup baked tortilla chips or crackers
- Egg Muffin Lunch: warm the egg muffins and pack in a bento with a thermos or pack to eat at room temp or cold.
- Hard-Cooked Egg Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box.
- Falafel Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box.
- Rotisserie Chicken Salad Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box.
- Hummus and Crackers Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Freeze the yogurt tube as an extra ice pack and it will thaw by lunch time.
- Bean Dip and Crackers Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Freeze the yogurt tube as an extra ice pack and it will thaw by lunch time.
- Jam Sandwich: pack in a bento with an ice box. Cut the sandwich into cubes or strips as needed so easy to chew.
- Turkey and Cheese Sandwich: pack in a bento with an ice box.Cut the sandwich into cubes or strips as needed so easy to chew.
- Hummus Sandwich Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Cut the sandwich into cubes or strips as needed so easy to chew.
- Blueberry Muffin Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Pack a spoon with the applesauce or use an applesauce pouch.
- Spinach Muffin Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Pack a spoon with the cottage cheese.
- Veggie Muffin Lunch: Warm the Veggie Muffin and pack in a bento with a thermos or pack to eat at room temperature.
- Cheese and Cracker Box: pack in a bento with an ice box.
- Snack Box Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box.
- Taco Salad Box: pack in a bento with an ice box.
Adjust the portions based on your child’s normal appetite.
Pack with milk or water.
Try to make sure the foods will be easy for your child to eat.
Try to send foods your child usually likes.
If your child eats lunch at preschool or daycare, ask for feedback from their teacher about how much they’re eating and any issues they’re having.
Close the bento and pack in an insulated lunch bag with a thin ice pack to keep the food safe.