Fed up with ham sandwiches day after day? Your kid’s lunch will never be boring if you mix and match these 50 ideas to create fun and healthy bento-box combos for school.
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This autumnal-themed box includes a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, rainbow carrot strips, fig cookies, edamame, pineapple, and pomegranate seeds.
Wheels on the Bus
Get your kid’s lunchtime rolling with mini wheels pasta salad, bell-pepper strips, a hard-boiled egg, chocolate graham crackers, and mango chunks.
Last Night’s Dinner
Stretch supper into the next day with leftover chicken with BBQ sauce, grape tomatoes, rice crackers, chocolate-covered raisins, and cherries.
With a Twist
We don’t know a single kid that wouldn’t smile opening up a lunch box with a Rudi’s Organic Bakery multigrain soft pretzel, green beans with sesame seeds, cheese, trail mix, and berries.
Think About Food Groups
If the bento box seems like a puzzle, keep in mind what you need to cover in each lunch: whole grains, protein (such as meat and beans), fruits, veggies, and dairy (such as a side of milk).
Get the Portions Right
Bento boxes come in a range of sizes. Buy one that holds the amount your child usually eats for lunch at home. Or go a little larger so he can eat his morning and afternoon snack out of the bento too.
Practice at Home
Serve lunch in the bento box for a week before school starts. That way, your child will get experience opening and closing the box. It will also give you a better sense of how much he’ll eat so you won’t pack too much food.
- Find more bento ideas at Catherine’s website, Weelicious.
Get dunking with apple wedges with caramel dip, cherry tomatoes and baby carrots, nectarines, feta or other cheese, and whole-grain cereal.
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids
Turn lunch into brunch with a blueberry-pancake sandwich with cream-cheese filling, sugar-snap peas, an avocado half with cherry tomato, banana chips, clementine sections, and grapes.
- Find more lunch supplies at Shop Parents!
A Taste of Mexico
Go south of the border with a box that includes rice and beans, celery with guacamole, star fruit, dried fruit, and melon balls.
Any kid will look forward to feasting on a waffle grilled cheese, broccoli with dip, banana with mini chocolate chips, crackers, and blackberries.
This box packs a punch with quinoa salad, sliced chicken sausage, dried mango strips, yogurt-covered raisins, and kiwi.
Originally published in the September 2015 issue of Parents magazine.
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