Bento boxes have taken the world by storm, and it’s no wonder why!
Bento box ideas for kids
These compartmentalized lunch containers offer a delightful and organized way to pack meals, making them perfect for kids. Whether you’re preparing lunch for a picky eater or want to add a touch of creativity to your child’s midday meal, bento boxes are the answer. In this article, we’ll explore a variety of bento box ideas for kids that are not only visually appealing but also packed with nutrition.
The Art of Bento Boxes: What Makes Them Special
Before we dive into the delicious ideas, let’s take a moment to appreciate what makes bento boxes so unique. Originating from Japan, bento boxes are traditionally packed with a balanced assortment of foods, including rice, protein, vegetables, and fruit. The key is to create a visually appealing and well-balanced meal that caters to both the taste buds and the eyes.
Bento Box Basics: How to Get Started
If you’re new to bento box lunch prep, fear not! We’ll start with some basics to ensure you’re set up for success. You’ll need a good-quality bento box with compartments to keep foods separate. Look for options that are microwave-safe, BPA-free, and easy to clean. Additionally, investing in some cute food picks, silicone cups, and small cookie cutters can add a playful touch to your creations.
Delightful Bento Box Ideas for Kids
- Mini Sandwich Skewers: Thread bite-sized sandwich pieces, cheese cubes, and cherry tomatoes onto skewers. Add a side of hummus or yogurt for dipping.
- Rainbow Veggie Rolls: Create colorful vegetable rolls using rice paper. Fill them with cucumber, bell peppers, avocado, and shredded carrots. Serve with a tasty dipping sauce.
- Fruit Kabobs: Slide a variety of fresh fruits like strawberries, grapes, and melon onto skewers. Add a yogurt dip for extra flavor.
- Pasta Salad: Toss cooked pasta with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette for a burst of flavor.
- Sushi Sandwiches: Roll up deli meats, cheese, and cucumber slices in flattened bread. Cut them into bite-sized sushi-style pieces.
- Mini Meatballs: Make small meatballs and serve them with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.
- Ants on a Log: Fill celery sticks with peanut butter and top with raisins or cranberries for a playful twist on a classic snack.
- Quinoa Salad: Mix cooked quinoa with diced vegetables and feta cheese. Drizzle with lemon dressing for a zesty flavor.
- DIY Taco Kit: Fill compartments with taco-seasoned ground meat, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and cheese. Kids can assemble their own tacos.
- Savory Pancake Stacks: Create mini savory pancakes with ingredients like spinach, cheese, and bacon. Serve with a side of maple syrup or ketchup.
- Rainbow Veggie Bento: Fill compartments with colorful bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and carrot sticks. Include a small cup of hummus for dipping.
- Mini Sandwich Shapes: Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes from whole-grain bread sandwiches. Include turkey, cheese, and a slice of apple.
- Sushi Roll Bento: Make mini sushi rolls with cucumber, avocado, and imitation crab. Add a side of soy sauce for dipping.
- Ants on a Log: Fill celery sticks with peanut butter or cream cheese and top with raisins or cranberries for a playful twist on a classic snack.
- Greek Yogurt Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt with granola and fresh berries. Drizzle honey for added sweetness.
- Cheese and Fruit Kabobs: Skewer chunks of cheese, grapes, and apple slices for a combination of flavors and textures.
- Pasta Salad: Toss cooked pasta with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, black olives, and Italian dressing.
- Quinoa Salad: Mix quinoa with diced cucumber, red bell pepper, chickpeas, and a lemon vinaigrette.
- Hard-Boiled Egg Chicks: Turn hard-boiled eggs into cute chicks by adding carrot beaks and pretzel stick legs.
- Hummus and Veggies: Serve hummus with a variety of veggie sticks like celery, bell peppers, and baby carrots.
- Mini Pancake Stackers: Make mini pancakes and stack them with layers of banana slices and a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Trail Mix Bento: Combine nuts, dried fruits, pretzels, and a few chocolate chips for a balanced snack.
- Wrap Roll-Ups: Fill whole-grain tortillas with turkey, lettuce, and cream cheese, then slice them into bite-sized pinwheels.
- Muffin Tin Lunch: Use a muffin tin to create a fun assortment of small portions, like grapes, cheese cubes, and crackers.
- Rice and Veggies: Make a colorful bento with steamed rice and a mix of stir-fried vegetables in a soy-ginger sauce.
- Pizza Bites: Mini pizza bagels or English muffins topped with tomato sauce and cheese make for a kid-friendly treat.
- Fruit Salad Cups: Create individual fruit salad cups with a mix of melon, berries, and grapes.
- Chicken Skewers: Thread grilled chicken pieces onto skewers and serve with a side of barbecue or ranch sauce.
- Taco Bento: Fill compartments with taco ingredients like seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and cheese.
- Apple “Sandwiches”: Make “sandwiches” using apple slices as the “bread” and almond or peanut butter as the filling.
- Mini Caprese Skewers: Skewer cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves, then drizzle with balsamic glaze.
- Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip: Alternate chunks of pineapple, strawberries, and grapes on skewers. Include a small cup of vanilla yogurt for dipping.
- Peanut Butter and Banana Sushi Rolls: Spread peanut butter on a tortilla, add banana slices, and roll it up. Slice it into bite-sized pieces.
- Cheesy Quesadilla Triangles: Cut quesadillas into triangles and serve with a side of salsa for dipping.
- Edamame Pods: Steam edamame and lightly salt them for a protein-packed snack.
- Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups: Roll slices of turkey around cheese sticks or cheese slices for a protein-rich option.
- Berry Pancake Skewers: Thread mini pancakes and fresh berries onto skewers for a delightful breakfast-themed bento.
- Greek Pasta Salad: Toss cooked pasta with cherry tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and Greek dressing.
- Bento Burger Sliders: Mini burger sliders with a side of ketchup and a few carrot sticks make for a satisfying lunch.
- Veggie Pita Pockets: Fill whole-wheat pita pockets with cucumber slices, shredded lettuce, and a yogurt-based dressing.
- Sliced Avocado and Crackers: Include slices of ripe avocado with whole-grain crackers and a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Rice Cake “Sushi:” Top rice cakes with cream cheese and thin cucumber slices for a playful sushi-inspired snack.
- Greek Tzatziki Dip: Serve Greek yogurt-based tzatziki dip with cucumber and red pepper strips.
- Pepperoni and Cheese Skewers: Skewer pepperoni slices and cubes of mozzarella cheese for a fun take on pizza.
- Chickpea Salad: Make a chickpea salad with diced veggies, lemon vinaigrette, and feta cheese.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sushi Rolls: Spread peanut butter and jelly on whole-grain bread, roll it up, and slice into sushi-like pieces.
- Tropical Paradise: Combine pineapple chunks, mango slices, and kiwi for a refreshing and vitamin-packed bento.
- Homemade Chicken Nuggets: Make bite-sized chicken nuggets with a crispy coating, served with ketchup or honey mustard.
- Mini Tacos: Fill mini taco shells with seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, and cheese.
- Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries: Add a sweet treat with chocolate-dipped strawberries in one of the compartments.
- Sushi Rolls: Make mini sushi rolls using cucumber, avocado, and crab sticks, or any favorite fillings.
- Pita Pocket Pizzas: Fill whole wheat pita pockets with marinara sauce, cheese, and mini pepperoni slices. Microwave or bake until the cheese melts.
- Pancake Stacks: Prepare small, fluffy pancakes and include a side of maple syrup or yogurt for dipping.
- Cucumber Boats: Scoop out the seeds from cucumber halves and fill them with tuna salad or cream cheese.
- Egg Salad Sandwich Bites: Create bite-sized sandwiches with egg salad and whole-grain bread, then cut them into fun shapes using cookie cutters.
- Mini Caprese Skewers: Thread cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and basil leaves onto toothpicks, then drizzle with balsamic glaze.
- Greek Salad: Make a kid-friendly Greek salad with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. Pack the dressing separately.
- Turkey and Cheese Sushi: Roll turkey slices and cheese into sushi-like rolls, securing them with toothpicks.
- Peanut Butter Banana Quesadillas: Spread peanut butter and banana slices between tortillas, then heat until warm and gooey.
- Edamame Pods: Steam edamame and sprinkle with sea salt for a healthy and fun-to-eat snack.
- Veggie Noodle Salad: Use a spiralizer to make veggie noodles and toss them in a light vinaigrette.
- Avocado Boats: Fill avocado halves with salsa, black beans, and a sprinkle of cheese for a Tex-Mex twist.
- Mini Frittatas: Bake mini frittatas with diced vegetables and cheese in muffin tins.
- Pesto Pasta Salad: Toss cooked pasta with homemade or store-bought pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes.
- Colorful Fruit Kebabs: Skewer a variety of fresh fruit chunks for a visually appealing and tasty treat.
- Veggie Sushi Sandwiches: Make sushi-inspired sandwiches using flattened bread, cream cheese, and julienned veggies.
- Chicken Drumsticks: Prepare mini baked chicken drumsticks with a savory glaze for a protein-packed option.
- Fruit Pizza: Create mini fruit pizzas using whole wheat English muffins, yogurt, and assorted fruit toppings.
- Mini Taco Bowls: Fill mini tortilla bowls with seasoned ground meat, cheese, and lettuce.
- Rice and Seaweed Shapes: Mold rice into fun shapes and include small seaweed sheets for a DIY sushi experience.
- PB&J Sushi Rolls: Spread peanut butter and jelly onto whole wheat bread, roll it up, and slice it into bite-sized sushi rolls.
- Mini Bagel Sandwiches: Use mini bagels to create sandwiches with cream cheese, sliced strawberries, and a drizzle of honey.
- Pita Pocket Salad: Fill whole wheat pita pockets with a mix of diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and chickpeas, then add a dollop of yogurt dressing.
- Hummus Dippers: Pack hummus in a container along with veggie sticks, pita chips, or whole wheat crackers for dipping.
- Cheese and Grape Skewers: Thread grapes and cheese cubes onto toothpicks for a sweet and savory snack.
- Mini Tofu Skewers: Marinate small tofu cubes and cherry tomatoes in teriyaki sauce, then skewer them for a tasty protein option.
- Bean and Cheese Quesadilla Triangles: Fill a tortilla with black beans and shredded cheese, fold it in half, and cut it into triangles.
- Rainbow Veggie Wrap: Roll up a colorful assortment of thinly sliced veggies and cream cheese in a tortilla.
- Apple Sandwiches: Create “sandwiches” by placing almond butter or cream cheese between apple slices.
- Mini Quiches: Make bite-sized quiches with spinach, cheese, and eggs for a protein-packed treat.
- Tomato and Mozzarella Bites: Skewer cherry tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls, and fresh basil leaves, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Chia Seed Pudding: Prepare chia seed pudding with almond milk and top it with fresh berries.
- Veggie Muffins: Bake savory muffins with grated zucchini, carrot, and cheese for a wholesome snack.
- Mini Meatballs: Create small turkey or chicken meatballs with hidden veggies for a protein boost.
- Mini Corn on the Cob: Steam mini ears of corn and include a small container of butter for dipping.
- Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips: Dice mixed fruit and serve it with cinnamon-dusted whole wheat tortilla chips.
- Mini Greek Yogurt Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt with granola and berries in a small jar.
- Sweet Potato Fries: Bake sweet potato fries and include a side of ketchup or Greek yogurt dip.
- Rice Cake Toppings: Top rice cakes with almond butter, banana slices, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Rainbow Smoothie: Prepare a colorful smoothie with layers of different fruit purees or yogurt for a visually appealing treat.
These additional bento box ideas will keep your kids excited about lunchtime and ensure they get a variety of nutrients while enjoying their meals.
Fueling Kids’ Imaginations with Bento Boxes
Bento boxes are a fantastic way to encourage healthy eating habits in children while allowing for creativity and variety in their lunches. By incorporating a mix of colors, textures, and flavors, you can turn mealtime into an exciting adventure. So, why not give it a try and let your kids enjoy the magic of bento box lunches? It’s a win-win for both their taste buds and their well-being. Happy lunch-packing!