50 Bento Box Lunch Ideas

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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Fall Faves

This autumnal-themed box includes a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, rainbow carrot strips, fig cookies, edamame, pineapple, and pomegranate seeds.

Wheel pasta bento box lunch

Yunhee Kim

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.

Grilled chicken bento box lunch

Yunhee Kim

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.

Soft pretzel bento box lunch

Yunhee Kim

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.

Bentology box on lunch bag

Yunhee Kim

Pack Smarter!

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.

Apple slices bento box lunch

Yunhee Kim

Dippin’ Delight

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

Yunhee Kim

Cutie Fruity

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.

Mexican bento box lunch

Yunhee Kim

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.

Waffle grilled cheese bento box lunch

Yunhee Kim

Picky-Eater Pleaser

Any kid will look forward to feasting on a waffle grilled cheese, broccoli with dip, banana with mini chocolate chips, crackers, and blackberries.

Quinoa salad bento box lunch

Yunhee Kim

Protein Power

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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