A Smorgasboard of Bento Lunch Ideas

The Little Lady has been in school for nearly a month now and has eaten a Bento lunch each school-day.

(Stuffed Biscuit Bento with steamed edemame, carrots, yogurt dip, and grapes)

Or, eaten most of a Bento lunch.  It seems she’s a bit social at lunch time and doesn’t always get everything consumed — but, she finishes everything up in the car as her “going home snack.”

(Hey – it works for me; I don’t have to hear “Can we stop and get something to eat?”.)

She is loving these fun and healthy lunches and so is Mr. Boy.  Yes, Mr. Boy gets a “skoo ‘unch” every day too.  Why?  He’s two and determined to be four and have everything equal to his “Sissy.”

(A Red Bento – in honor of her class’s Color o’ the Month: almond butter & honey sandwich, apple slices, a Babybel cheese (I used a small cookie cutter to cut out the flower shape), broccoli & yogurt dip)

Making him a lunch and letting him take it along as we drop the Little Lady off at preschool is a HECK of a lot easier than dealing with a fit-throwing toddler.

Learning To Make Easy … At Night

Because our school mornings are insane (mostly thanks to a little Barney K., who ALWAYS wants to nurse about 15 minutes before it is time to leave), I prepare the majority of the bento lunches at night, after the kidlets have gone to bed.  So much more peaceful!

(The Stars at Night Bento: almond butter puzzle sandwiches, a shaped hard-boiled egg, homemade trail mix, cucumbers and yogurt dip)

The Deconstructed Lunch

Most of the time, I make the process even simpler by packaging her bento “deconstructed style” (a la “Lunchables”).  The presentation is still bright and colorful — and the items are healthier than an actual Lunchable product — but the assembly takes hardly any time because I’m just putting “ready to go” items in her box.

(Pizza Bento: Pepperoni, Mozzarella & Triscuit crackers, blueberries & grapes, cucumbers & baby carrots with yogurt dip)

Freezable Lunches Save Time

Another way to save time is to bake “entrees” that are freezable — like savory muffins.  I freeze a batch and then they are ready to go when I have a busy week and need a go-to item for her bento.

(An End of Summer Bento: Savory Cheese & Sausage Muffin – baby carrots, cucumber flowers & yogurt dip, apple flower slices – which were dipped in pineapple juice to prevent browning)

Now that school is in full swing, what tips & tricks have you implemented to create healthy and easy lunches for your kidlets?


  1. Lana says

    Hi Rachel…These are all the best ideas and organization of food and you really amaze me a lot…

  2. says

    Those are so adorable and healthy too. You are the greatest mom ever. I just don’t think I could pull this off everyday for all four boys, plus work and everything else.

  3. says

    I have been doing a couple of bentos for my son, he is a very visual eater. Thanks for the tips, you gave me a lot of great ideas!

  4. says

    I love these ideas! Thank you Rachel so much for posting them. I am just a beginner Bento girl, and not very creative at all LOL. I adore the puzzle piece sandwich and the little fork/toothpick. I bet little lady smiles every time she opens her lunch :)

  5. says

    Oh your lunches are beautiful. I have taken the week off of making lunches. My poor kids have bought lunch all week, as I’ve been sick. So next week, I will be on board again. What system do you use? I love the colorfulness of your containers and inserts.

  6. says

    I have a toddler telling me “NO SLEEPY” so this will be short and I’ll have to come back.

    My biggest tips are:
    *Freezing items pre portioned in bulk (I do this with rice balls, certain breads, fruits, etc)
    *Put together what you can the night before
    *Find things around your house to use instead of buying all new items.

  7. says

    Love this! This is the first year that my daughter eats lunch at school and I have been on a mission to send her a healthy lunch every day! I love the bento-style box that we picked up at Pottery Barn, but I have to ask…where did you get the little container that you put her yogurt dip in? I have had the hardest time finding a container that will fit in the bento box for her dip!