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?

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Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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 :)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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