DIY Kids’ (or Adults!) Bento Lunch Ideas
Do you remember burlap You’d roll out your brown bag to find a PB&J white bread, maybe a bowl of fruit, a squeezable neon green drink. And if you got a pre-packaged snack cake, you’d be the envy of the rest of the lunch table. Today we want our children to make healthier choices in school or daycare, and we want them to enjoy their food too. Step into bento boxes, the fun way to serve a healthy, satisfying, and fun lunch on the go.
What are bento boxes?
Bento boxes are originally from Japan for lunch during the work day or school day. They typically have separate sections for a larger main course with smaller sections for sides.
Today you can find bento boxes in every conceivable configuration: toddler-sized, adult, stackable, leak-proof sections for hot and cold food … the possibilities are endless.
The days of boring lunches for kids are over. There are endless combinations of fun bento boxes for kids (and adults alike) for lunch, snacks, and everything in between. Use any size container that makes sense for your child (smaller for younger children, larger for older children) and pack them appropriately. Below are some ideas for the best bento boxes that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy!
The best thing about bento lunch is that there are no rules. However, with a few tips you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your lunch box.
Bento lunches should be:
- Balanced. For filling, include protein and fat with an amount of carbohydrate that will fit your current plan (less for Keto, more for Primal).
- Packable. Make sure your lunch lasts for a couple of hours. Is your content turning to pulp? Does your food taste funny at room temperature? Will the box you pack in the morning make it to lunch? (These sashimi bento boxes look pretty, but to avoid foodborne illness, they should be eaten right after being assembled.)
- Nice. Traditional bento boxes combine a variety of colors and shapes to create a visually eye-catching dining experience.
Bento box lunch ideas for kids (or adults!)
Use this as inspiration to encourage your creativity.
Tip for picky eaters: when introducing a new food, be sure to add one that they like!
Chicken Salad Lunch Kit
Chicken salad, homemade almond crackers, grass-fed cheese cubes, sliced cucumber babies
Chicken salad recipe
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ham, salami or peppers, cheese sticks, baby paprika, hard-boiled eggs, apple slices, creamy ranch dressing from the original kitchen
This is a perfect lunch plate that can be prepared in advance. For tips on making the best hard- and soft-boiled eggs, check out our Perfect Egg Tutorial.
Sweet snack bento
Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries (filled with dark chocolate chips), paleo or gluten-free muesli, protein-fortified yogurt
Chocolate protein grass fed yogurt recipe
Mix the yogurt, protein powder and vanilla extract in a bowl. Pour into the bento box and sprinkle with some almond butter and some paleo granola or crumbled freeze-dried fruit.
Snack Attack Bento Box
Mixed nuts and freeze-dried raspberries, cucumber slices, Flackers® crackers, avocado, baby carrots, Primal Kitchen Ranch dressing
About the author
Priscilla is a Missouri-based food blogger, recipe developer, and personal chef specializing in low-carb, paleofree, gluten-free, keto, vegetarian, and low-FODMAP cuisine. See what she’s cooking on Priscilla Cooks and follow her food adventures on Instagram and Pinterest.
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