Easy Bento Lunch Box Ideas (Picky-Eater Approved)

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Make packing lunches so much easier with these easy bento lunch box ideas. Bento boxes are an awesome way to pack a mix of nutritious foods together in one lunch box—and the options for what to pack is almost endless!

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Bento Lunch Box Ideas

Using a bento box, or a divided lunch box, to pack lunches for kids can make it much easier to assemble balanced meals with less work. I’m not exactly sure why, but having those little compartments just makes it so much easier to find things to fill them! And sure, you can go with a theme for the whole box or use it to simply compartmentalize the foods—both approaches work.

Lunch Box Ideas for Picky Eaters

I’ve always found that lunch can be hectic and loud, and kids are happy to eat simple, familiar foods. And so I did my best to include options here to appeal to more and less adventurous eaters. Of course adjust these bento box lunch ideas as needed for the specific likes and dislikes of your kids.

Best Bento Boxes for Kids

You can find all of my favorite kids lunchboxes here, including my go-to bento boxes. I’ll note the brands under each photo in this post so you know what you’re looking at too!

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egg-muffin-bento-lunch

Bento Box Idea #1: Egg Muffins

Making a batch of Spinach Egg Muffins ahead and packing them in lunches through the week (including your own!) is an easy way to get ahead. It’s also a great way to pack vegetarian protein and iron in a kid-friendly form. Pair with cantaloupe, cucumbers, and cereal. (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes Snack Box.)

Bento Box Idea #2: Hard-Boiled Egg Breakfast Box

Pair a hard-cooked egg with a mini bagel, sliced cheese and berries for a simple breakfast-for-lunch idea that kids of any age can enjoy. (We sometimes pack with leftover Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Greek yogurt.)

falafel-bento-lunch

Lunch Box Idea #3: Falafel Lunch

Pick up some pre-made falafel at the store (in the prepared foods aisle or frozen) and add a side of cucumber sauce for a fun lunch option. Easy sides like pretzel sticks, blueberries, apple slices, and snap peas round it out. (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes Snack Box.)

Lunch Idea #4: Rotisserie Chicken Salad Lunch

Rely on a store-bought rotisserie chicken (or just a prepared breast or thigh) to make quick work of lunch. Dice it up and pack it in a bento box with halved cherry tomatoes, shredded lettuce, bread cubes, ranch and a side of halved grapes for a fun riff on chicken salad.

hummus-and-crackers-bento-box

Bento Lunch Idea #5: Hummus and Crackers

If you have a kiddo who loves to dip, consider hummus and crackers. (You might need to try a few different brands to find one that the kids like best). Pair with crackers, cheddar cheese, and watermelon. Add another simple side like yogurt if the kids are typically hungrier.

Bento Idea #6: Bean Dip and Crackers

If the kids aren’t into hummus, try the crackers with another dip like black bean dip or guacamole to pair with crackers and easy sides like fruit.

sandwich-edamame-bento-box

Lunch Box Idea #7: Jam Sandwich

If the kids are tired of pb&j (or if they can’t bring them to preschool or school), try a jam sandwich. Add some protein with defrosted edamame beans (which are naturally a little sweet!), strawberries, and a side of fruit leather. (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes Snack Box.)

sliced-turkey-wrap-in-teal-lunchbox

Lunch Idea #8: Turkey and Cheese Sandwich or Wrap

There’s nothing wrong with going with the classic turkey and cheese sandwich or turkey wrap! Make them mini and add to a bento box with easy sides of diced pineapple and bell pepper strips.

hummus sandwiches in bento lunchbox.

Lunch Idea #9: Hummus Sandwich Lunch

Spread a thin layer of hummus on whole grain bread and pack with a side of diced mango, shredded carrots, and an Energy Bite or a cookie. Sometimes I use cookie cutters to make simple sandwiches just a little more fun.

blueberry muffins and applesauce in lunchbox

Muffin lunches are so darn easy since you can make them ahead and simply throw them into a lunch box right before leaving in the morning. Here, I have them shown with baby carrots and applesauce. Shred or thinly slice the carrots for younger eaters. (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes .)

Help the kids eat their greens by packing iron-rich spinach muffins for lunch. These are slightly sweet from the banana and store really well in the fridge or freezer. Pack with compartment of yogurt or cottage cheese and freeze-dried fruit.

pizza-muffin-in-lunchbox

Use a bento box with an insulated compartment (like the Omiebox) and pack warm, savory Veggie Muffins or Pizza Muffins for lunch. Add a side of milk, cucumber sticks, and melon for an easy kids lunch.

easy lunchboxes for kids

Bento Box Idea #13: Cheese and Cracker Box

Keep things simple with cheese (such as mozzarella cheese or cheddar) and crackers, plus simple fruit and veggie sides like bell pepper, clementine, sliced cucumber slices, and/or peas. Quick and fun for the kids! (Shown above in an Easy Lunchboxes .)

snack lunch with snacks and a smoothie.

Bento Lunch #14: Snack Box

Any assortment of snacks can become a healthy lunch if you mix nutrients from each food group. Pretzels, yogurt, strawberries, and snap peas; crackers, dried cereal, smoothies, applesauce pouches, pepperoni, tomatoes, other easy raw vegetables, cherries…you see how to do it! This is a great one to meal prep.

Lunch Idea #15: Taco Salad Box

Combine compartment of black or pinto beans, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, avocado with a little lime juice, and corn. Add a side container of guacamole or salsa and some baked tortilla chips for a fun salad box lunch.

Best Tips for Success

  • Adjust the portions based on your child’s normal appetite.
  • Pack with milk or water.
  • Try to make sure the foods will be easy for your child to eat.
  • Try to send foods in the bento box lunches your child usually likes.
  • If your child eats lunch at preschool or daycare, ask for feedback from their teacher about how much they’re eating and any issues they’re having.
  • Close the bento box and pack in an insulated lunch bag with a thin ice pack to keep the food safe.

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your favorite bento box ideas, especially if it’s not on my list here. Comment below so we can help more families face the challenge of packing lunches together!

bento-lunch-box-ideas-on-countertop

Rotisserie Chicken Salad Lunch

Hummus and Crackers Lunch

Bean Dip and Crackers Lunch

Turkey and Cheese Sandwich

  • Egg Muffin Lunch: warm the egg muffins and pack in a bento with a thermos or pack to eat at room temp or cold. 

  • Hard-Cooked Egg Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box.

  • Falafel Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box.

  • Rotisserie Chicken Salad Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box.

  • Hummus and Crackers Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Freeze the yogurt tube as an extra ice pack and it will thaw by lunch time.

  • Bean Dip and Crackers Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Freeze the yogurt tube as an extra ice pack and it will thaw by lunch time.

  • Jam Sandwich: pack in a bento with an ice box. Cut the sandwich into cubes or strips as needed so easy to chew.

  • Turkey and Cheese Sandwich: pack in a bento with an ice box.Cut the sandwich into cubes or strips as needed so easy to chew.

  • Hummus Sandwich Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Cut the sandwich into cubes or strips as needed so easy to chew.

  • Blueberry Muffin Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Pack a spoon with the applesauce or use an applesauce pouch.

  • Spinach Muffin Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box. Pack a spoon with the cottage cheese.

  • Veggie Muffin Lunch: Warm the Veggie Muffin and pack in a bento with a thermos or pack to eat at room temperature.

  • Cheese and Cracker Box: pack in a bento with an ice box.

  • Snack Box Lunch: pack in a bento with an ice box.

  • Taco Salad Box: pack in a bento with an ice box.

  • Adjust the portions based on your child’s normal appetite.
  • Pack with milk or water.
  • Try to make sure the foods will be easy for your child to eat.
  • Try to send foods your child usually likes.
  • If your child eats lunch at preschool or daycare, ask for feedback from their teacher about how much they’re eating and any issues they’re having.
  • Close the bento and pack in an insulated lunch bag with a thin ice pack to keep the food safe.

Calories: 309kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 196mg, Sodium: 380mg, Potassium: 234mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 647IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 76mg, Iron: 2mg

This post was first published July 2020.


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