When I’m packing my kids lunches, I always run out of ideas, so I came up with these five bento box lunch ideas for back to school so I have some ideas in my back pocket.
Because there’s nothing like standing in the kitchen at 10pm wondering what you’re going to feed the kid tomorrow.
At least I have some back to school lunchbox notes already printed…
Also, let’s all work together to make this whole lunchbox packing thing easier, shall we? Let’s all set an alarm on our phones or put a note on the fridge to remember to pack those lunches.
Because, I am so tired of remembering at 10pm! Ha!
What Makes a Bento Box Lunch for Kids?
One word: variety.
Kids are so squirrley about what they will and won’t eat. It changes so fast, even if they’re not typically a picky-eater. But, especially if they are a little picky, well, good luck trying to keep up with what they will and will not eat on a given day.
That’s why the bento box lunch ideas for kids is so useful.
If you can include a wide variety of little things, they’re just more likely to eat SOMETHING for lunch and not head into the afternoon hungry.
Why Make Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Kids?
Well, for one thing, it saves the environment. Can you imagine sending all those little snacks in plastic bags to the lunchroom? How wasteful.
Also, imagine the money that you’re spending on those throw-away plastic baggies, too. I know a box of about 100 plastic zipper baggies is ONLY $3, but if you’re sending 5 of them every day, for each kid, that adds-up really quick. Every little penny counts, you know.
So, spending $20-$30 on a bento box that will last for years is so much more economical and environmentally-friendly.
What Are the Best Bento Box Containers for Kids?
I prefer leakproof, spill-proof and also easy-to-open. Because those kids shouldn’t have to ask me to open a box for them (or the lunchroom aide or anyone). So, I try to make sure that they can open the box themselves, or I just don’t buy it.
Frankly, I also like the bento boxes where the lid stays attached to the box itself. Nothing drives me crazier than a lost specialty lid in the land-of-tupperware-lids drawer.
Some of my favorite bento box containers for kids are easily found on Amazon, so I pulled my affiliate links for that so you could grab one, too!
Do Bento Box Lunches for Kids Have to be Complex?
Oh, heavens, absolutely not. For one thing, the kids are going to eat the food, so you don’t want to spend 8-hours making something crazy complicated. Or, then they don’t even eat it (why, my child, whyyyy?!) and you’re sad you spent 8-hours making it (I imagine them throwing all that hard work into the trash and I just cringe).
No, bento box lunches for kids need only be as complex as you want them to be. I mean, just make some tuna canoes with some pretzels, sliced cheese and a few grapes, and, trust me, the kid will be thrilled.
I’m not trying to discourage you if you really enjoy making wild shapes and crazy ideas for your kids to devour. If that’s your thing, you go for it. You do you, friend. And I will stand over here and applaud you with all that I’ve got.
But, if you’re like me and there’s just too much going on to make a crazy panda bear rice ball and matching dumplings, then these five easy bento box lunch ideas for kids will be perfect. I mean, what could be more simple than your own DIY lunchable? Or leftovers–that maybe you hadn’t thought to send before. We’re going to break this down and make lunchtime simple.
Because the name of the game here is fast, especially if, like me, you keep finding yourself frozen and without ideas at 10pm Sunday night thinking “what am I making for lunch tomorrow?!”
If you’re ready to get your lunch game going, let’s get to these five bento box lunch ideas for back to school.
Five Bento Box Lunch Ideas:
When I’m meal prepping my kids lunches, I always run out of ideas, so I came up with these five quick bento box ideas for back to school so that I always have some ideas in my back pocket.
Ideally, your quick lunch recipes include all the food groups to make. Yes, you do need to make sure you pack a healthy meal for your children.
1. DIY Lunchables
My kids love the Lunchable cracker sandwiches. But you can easily make your own at home! The best part of making your own is that you can customize them to your kids’ liking.
Here are a few ideas: Mix ham, turkey, or salami lunch meats in for some variety. Store bought Lunchables don’t include fruit. Add in strawberries, blueberries, or kiwis. Cut fun shapes out of the cheese.
Use a small circle cutter like this one to cut the meat and cheese, so that it’s just like the “real” Lunchables.
2. Taco Tuesday
Taco Tuesday doesn’t have to be just for dinner.
Whether you use up leftovers or if you whip up some taco meat in advance, tacos are always a hit. Keep the taco meat warm in a funtainer!
Make sure the box includes meat, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes so the kids can make their own.
Add tortilla chips and a side of guacamole for a complete meal.
3. Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs may not seem like a traditional pack your own lunch, but it’s an easy one.
Add the spaghetti to your funtainer to keep it warm and the kids will think they’ve hit the lottery of lunches.
Frozen meatballs are fast to make the night before, making morning packing a breeze.
Complete with a side salad and breadstick, or you can even just send a pretzel rod as a breadstick stand-in. LOL!
4. Breakfast for Lunch
Breakfast is good anytime of day – including an inspired bento lunch!
While you are making your breakfast this weekend, make a few extra pieces of french toast for lunch.
In your funtainer, add French toast sticks and a couple sausage links. My kids love this meal with mandarin oranges! For a fun bonus, include a small container of syrup or powdered sugar!
Don’t do french toast? Make some pancake sticks. That’s a fun way for kids to get a little taste of breakfast for lunch, for sure.
5. Mac and Cheese
My number one requested lunch from my kids to make is mac and cheese with ham twists.
Your funtainer comes in handy for the macaroni for this one too!
To make ham twists, unroll a package of crescent dough. In a small dish, melt butter, sprinkle in brown sugar and add a bit of dijon mustard. Brush on the crescent dough. Top with ham and cheese and roll up. Brush the tops with butter and poppy seeds. Bake as directed.
Finish your lunch with a pack of applesauce or a protein packed boiled egg and your kids will have a new favorite lunch!
More Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Back to School:
Once you’ve gotten the hang of making a little bento boxes recipes for your kids every evening (or morning, you do you), I think you’re probably going to find yourself ready for more ideas. So I brought together some of my favorites for you:
- 3 Weeks of Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Kids
- 50 Back to School Lunch Ideas
- 13 Bento Box Lunch Ideas Your Kids Will Love
If you loved these bento box lunches for back to school, be sure to pin this post. You’ll want to find it again when its 10pm and school’s in the morning!