Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Kids

Publish Date June 13, 2024 5 Minute Read

When it comes to packing your little ones’ lunches, it’s easy to get stuck in a sandwich rut. Before you reach for the loaf of bread and a zip-top bag, consider putting together a kid’s bento box. This simple accessory makes it easy to assemble diverse, nutritious meals your youngsters will look forward to eating every day.

What is a Bento Box?

Combining function and style, bento boxes are the perfect lunch companion. One bento lunch box can carry an entire meal (main dish and sides) in a single container, making it a convenient alternative to traditional lunch boxes. Plus, they can help reduce your environmental impact. By packing your meal in a bento box instead of sandwich bags, you’ll easily reduce the amount of single-use plastics you use every day.

How Do You Pack a Kid’s Bento Box?

With limitless flavor combinations, your kids will be excited to see what kind of surprises are in their bento box day after day. When choosing the ingredients, aim for a balance of carbs, proteins, fruits and veggies for a well-rounded meal that’ll keep them focused throughout the second half of their day. Pack the foods tightly, adding bigger items first, then placing the flexible and accent foods in the remaining spaces and gaps. Choose fun snacks for kids and brightly colored accessories for a visually appealing arrangement.

Quick & Easy Lunch Box Ideas

Ready to pack their lunch? Here are some easy, delicious and cute bento box ideas you can put together at night or in the morning before school.

  • Cheese & Cracker Sandwiches: Our classic kid-approved recipe uses ham, cheese and multi-grain crackers. Consider switching it up with turkey or salami, or by using flavored or toasted crackers. Add a street taco tortilla to make a wrap.
  • PB&J Tacos: Build a bento box around this twist on a classic sandwich. Flank with fruits and veggies, perhaps with a dip cup. A granola bar can substitute for chips.
  • Kebab Lunch Box: Our kebabs recipe is a fun, delicious alternative to an everyday sandwich. Prepare with grilled chicken, cut veggies and cheese cubes. You can also remove the skewer and pack with shredded lettuce, with salad dressing in a separate section.
  • Burrito Box: Roll up some Southwestern flavors with a burrito-inspired recipe. Round out the lunch with salsa, sour cream, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • DIY Pizza: Add pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni to a street taco, bagel or naan bread. Round out the meal with pineapple or grapes, plus organic chocolate chip cookies or a brownie.
  • Breakfast for Lunch: A breakfast burrito or taco stuffed with eggs, cheese, and bacon or sausage can be wrapped in foil, or an omelette can be heated up for lunch. Flank with fresh fruit or a fruit cup.

Half the fun of building a bento box is deciding on sides. You can’t go wrong with a rotation of these favorites: yogurt, fresh fruit, baby carrots and dip, dry cereal, string cheese, cheese cubes, applesauce, fruit snacks, granola bars and Cheez-Its.

For more school lunch ideas and meal inspiration, visit and shop our extensive collection of recipes, and check out more Back to School inspiration.

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