bento lunches for kids

Bento Box Ideas For Kids (+ Tips For Picky Eaters)

It can be a challenging coming up with Bento lunch ideas for kids… especially if they are picky! These Bento box lunches for kids will give you plenty of inspiration to include in your child’s school lunch box, even if they aren’t fond of sandwiches!

Bento box lunch ideas for kids

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Bento Box Lunches For Kids

The Japanese inspired Bento lunch boxes have become popular in recent years, with many families jumping on board this style of lunch box for their school kids. We love using Bento boxes in our household simply because it reduces the amount of packaging waste compared to packing lunches when we were kids.

Bento lunch boxes are divided into sections that keep your food separated. This means no plastic wrap or small containers required. However, you can just as easily turn any lunch box into a Bento box with a few small containers, just to get you started!

They also encourage a variety of foods and proper portion sizes.

Stuck on you Bento box with food

Choosing a Bento Lunch Box

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to picking a Bento box lunch box and no one box is going to suit every child (or adult). Bento boxes come in a range of sizes and configurations which will impact the quantity and style of foods you include.

Here are some of my top tips for choosing a Bento box for your child:

  • Choose one that is leak-proof – This allows you to include liquid-based foods in the lunch box, such as yogurt, dip or foods with sauce.
  • Make sure the size is right – Some bento boxes are small and better suited to toddlers, while others are much larger and fit larger food portions. Choose the size depending on the age of the child.
  • Easy to clean – As a parent, you want something you can wash with ease. Bento boxes you can take apart for easy cleaning are ideal.
  • Easy to open – This is especially important for younger children who may struggle with difficult to open lunch boxes. Practice with your child before starting school to ensure they are capable of doing this solo.

Not everything will fit in most Bento boxes. This means you either need to cut food items up smaller, such as apple or banana, or you can give these to your child separately.

Getting ready for back to school? Check out these back to school essentials.

Which Bento Box Do We Use?

We currently use Bento lunch boxes from Stuck On You, who is popular for school labels and Bento lunch boxes in Australia. These are the lunch boxes I have used in this post to give you Bento box lunch ideas for kids.

They are easy to dismantle and clean, easy to open and you can personalise them at no extra cost with your child’s name, a cute image and the colour of your choice. They also have cooler bags to fit the lunch boxes, which we also use.

There is the option to purchase a sandwich tray as well, in case your child prefers a full-sized sandwich in their lunch box each day. My girls are picky so we rarely do sandwiches, but it’s great to have the option of the larger section tray.

You can take a closer look at the Stuck On You Bento boxes in my video:

Are they big enough? Yes, we have found these Bento boxes to be the perfect size for our kids. Some days they eat everything in their lunch boxes. Other days they bring home a couple of items and usually finish it either in the car or for an afternoon snack.

If you are not located in Australia, there are some great Bento lunch boxes available online. These Bentgo lunch boxes are a popular choice.


Bento Box Lunch Ideas For Kids

With 2 rather picky eaters in our household, our school lunches sometimes look a little unusual. They can also be a little bland at times with my girls favouring certain foods over others. In saying that, I love that Bento boxes encourage a variety of different foods and act as a guide to adding the different food groups each day.

My kids would gladly eat fruit all day if they had it their way, so finding dairy and protein-based foods they enjoy can be challenging. Our kid’s school also has a restriction around eggs, which means no boiled eggs in the lunch box like we did when they were in kindergarten.

Here are plenty of bento box lunches for kids:

Bento Box 1

bento box lunch for kids
  • Popcorn
  • Strawberries
  • Carrot
  • Pickled cucumbers
  • Yogurt pouch
  • Grapes
  • Shredded tortilla

BENTO BOX 2

bento lunch box australia

Tip: When including a portion of food with a lot of liquid, like baked beans, place a layer of cling wrap over the section so it keeps the mess from the lunch box lid and from mixing into other sections.

Bento Box 3

toddler bento box ideas
  • Yogurt pouch
  • Popcorn
  • Museli bar
  • Peach slices
  • Mixed berry muffin
  • Wholegrain wrap
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes

Bento Box 4

  • Ham & cheese sandwich
  • Carrot
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Homemade Polish sausage
  • Poppyseed cake (This one is from grandma)
  • Cheerios

Bento Box 5

Bento Box 6

Tip: Many full-sized items may not fit your bento box sections. To get around this, we often make mini versions of our favourite recipes, such as muffins or scrolls.

Bento 7

Bento 8

bento box lunches for kids
  • Wholegrain sandwich thins with ham and pickles
  • Cheerios
  • Mixed berry muffin
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Nut-free cacao bliss ball
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries

Bento Box 9

Bento lunch box Ideas For Kids

Bento Box 10

Bento Box 11

  • Wholegrain sandwich thins with ham & cheese
  • Mixed berry muffin
  • Grapes
  • Yogurt pouch
  • Popcorn
  • Cheerios
  • Nut-free cacao bliss ball

Bento Box 12

Bento Box Lunch Ideas For Kids
  • Cheese & bacon scroll
  • Mixed berry muffin
  • Shredded ham
  • Carrot
  • Cheerios
  • Chocolate protein ball
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries

Bento Box 13

Bento Box Lunch Ideas For Kids
  • Honey sandwich roll
  • Yogurt pouch
  • Mixed berry muffin
  • Chocolate protein ball
  • Popcorn
  • Kiwifruit
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries

School lunch tips

The last thing any parent wants is school lunch boxes coming home full or half full each day! We want to be sure our kids are eating during the school day, to keep up their energy levels and fuel those developing brains!

Since converting to Bento box lunch boxes for our kids, we have found the perfect balance so that most days our kids eat everything in their lunch boxes, or close to it. They love having the individual sections and will often help me pack lunches for them too.

Here are some simple tips for school lunches your kids will actually eat:

  • Make it easy – This is especially important for younger kids. Make sure their lunch box is easy to open and the packaging you use is also easy for little fingers. We pre-peel mandarines as an example, otherwise, our youngest won’t eat it as it’s too difficult.
  • Variety – Give your kids a good mix of the things they love as well as a variety of things they don’t have every day. This keeps their lunches interesting and fun.
  • Presentation – You will be amazed at how much a few simple presentation changes will impact what your kids eat. My kids don’t like sandwiches and would often bring them home at the end of the day. If I used cookie cutters to turn them into fun-shaped mini-sandwiches, they eat them every time!
  • Get them to help – If your kids assist with making their lunches, they feel involved and expectant of what will be in there when they open it. This can increase the chances of them eating their whole lunch… and let you know what they really don’t like!

If you are looking for more ideas for bento box lunches for kids, get my free printable ideas list to stick on the fridge:

Healthy school lunch box ideas

Prepare for school by ensuring you have all the back to school essentials ready to go, whether you are preparing for your child to start school for the first time or not. And have a before-school routine that will help you get out the door without drama!

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