Shop and Cook: Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Kids

shop and cook: bento box lunch ideas for kids

Back to school means lots of things – new classes, new outfits and maybe even a new school. But what it shouldn’t mean is new stress about what to pack for your kid’s lunch.

Between their ever-changing food aversions and trying to incorporate foods that are healthy, it can feel like a game of Minesweeper trying to come up with school lunch ideas that keep your kid(s) full and happy, but we may have found a cheat code: bento box lunch.

Meaning convenient or convenience, “bento” is a style of Japanese meal categorized by multiple food items in neat, single portions. Although anyone can pack a bento box lunch, they’ve become particularly popular among children for their fun styles and cute accessories that make eating lunch a customizable experience.

You can have a lot of fun coming up with bento box lunch ideas for kids – and they will likely have a lot of fun with what you make, too!


(Click on linked ingredients to shop)

For our bento box, we incorporated both breakfast and lunch foods with a turkey wrap, quinoa salad, banana and hazelnut spread sandwich, mixed fruit and cucumber bites.

For the turkey wrap, we used hummus as the base layer and piled on sliced turkey, red peppers and butterhead lettuce. The breakfast sandwich consisted of bananas, hazelnut spread and chia seeds for some extra nutrition. Our quinoa salad was admittedly store bought (hello, convenience), but making your own is also super easy like in this recipe from Cookie and Kate.


Coming up with bento box lunch ideas for kids and putting one together may seem a little intimidating at first (there are so many compartments!) but it’s your time to get creative and try all different ways of “plating” the food.

For example, instead of cutting our wrap in half, we sliced it into many pieces and assembled it on the bottom of the bento box insides-up like sushi. We then added the quinoa salad into a smaller, movable compartment next to the wrap and placed a kitty cat spoon into it for ease, and a touch of cuteness.

For the top compartment, we made our breakfast sandwich by layering the hazelnut spread, bananas and chia seeds then used a star-shaped cookie cutter to create two sandwiches. So as not to waste, we created mini sandwiches out of the crusts with a small star cutter.

Making fruit and vegetables interesting can be a challenge but we found such delight in using cutters to create all different shapes, like a flower, bear and heart. To top everything off, we incorporated butterfly forks that were as functional as they were fun.

Watch how everything’s organized in the bento box by pressing play:

Pick up a bento box and all the fun accessories we used in the curated shopping list below.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Have you ever tried making a bento box lunch? Share your bento box lunch ideas for kids in the comments below.


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