Time to fill lunch boxes, do you need Bento box recipes? School has started! Which means not only packing lunch for you, but also packing a kid-friendly lunch box too! Nothing is more frustrating than using up all that energy to pack what you think is a kid-friendly lunch, just to get it returned in their lunch bag at the end of the day. We talked to our dietitians and found out what lunches they used to pack when they were younger! Then asked each of them to recreate them with these dietitian approved kid-friendly lunch box ideas!
Here are our Bento box recipes ideas for your lunch:
1. Turkey Sandwich Lunch Box
When asked what she used to bring for lunch as a kid, Rebecca told us she would pack a bologna sandwich on white bread, with cheetos and a cupcake. Instead, she suggests trying to do a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread (for added fiber!) Paired with fresh fruits and veggies and a black bean brownie (because you can’t forget your fun foods!). This is a classic kid-friendly lunch box idea.
2. English Muffin Pizza Lunch Box
Lunchables were always a go to in my family when there was a field trip to go on. One of the best parts of growing up with siblings, was that when one of us got a lunchable for a field trip, we all did! (Parents have to be fair right?) So I decided to recreate my favorite lunchable meal for this kid-friendly lunch box idea, the pizza lunchable! I made mini pizzas using whole grain english muffins, topped with sauce and mozzarella cheese. I pair it with carrots and hummus for added protein, and finished it off with fruit and a peanut butter cup (my favorite treat!).
3. Kid-Friendly Salmon Cake Lunch Box
Another one of our RD’s kid-friendly lunch box idea included salmon cakes (which can be used as part of meal prep, or as leftovers from the night before), on a bed a spinach to get in our veggies. She rounds out her meal with cheese cubes, watermelon and Dove chocolate squares.
My mom was known for making me awesome lunches! I loved having my buffalo chicken deli sandwich on an onion roll with chips inside for crunch. Along with a cup of grapes or strawberries and arizona iced tea juice box. Now Dana likes to pack chicken salad which is easy to make with rotisserie chicken and Sabra tzatziki dip for a Greek twist. Add in some grapes, red onion and celery for crunch and whole grain crackers for dipping! She rounds off her meal with grapes and nuts, ghirardelli chocolate, her favorite fun food! This is a well-rounded kid-friendly lunch box idea!
5. Kid-Friendly Egg Salad
Shelley told us that she used to often just pack a granola bar, fruit and yogurt as a child, and would realize that she would tend to get hungry quickly after lunch. Today, Shelley likes to pack egg salad sandwiches, served with celery and peanut butter, with apples and a piece of chocolate!
6. Greek Pasta Salad
Kaitlin was also a fan of the bologna sandwich growing up! Often paired with chips or pretzels! Today, she likes to pack greek pasta salad instead that is packed with protein from the chickpeas! Pair that with fresh veggies, pretzels and Kaitlin’s favorite tzatziki, and of course finishing off her kid-friendly lunch box idea with peanut butter cups!
7. Nachos Bento Box
Last but certainly not least, we can’t talk about kid-friendly lunch box ideas without chips and dip! This Nacho Bento Box is a play on the standard nachos lunchable. You can use leftover chicken (or precooked southwest style chicken) for protein, with salsa and guacamole for dipping! Paired with cheese cubes, tortilla chips and a sweet treat for a balanced lunch, no kid can resist!
Bento box recipes:
If you would like to meet with one of our dietitians to learn how we can help you and your family meet your nutrition goals, click here or call 301-474-2499.
Updated December 2019
Whether you are a novice in the kitchen, or a seasoned chef, Dietitian Klara will work with you to help you reach your nutrition goals. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating, Cooking with Diabetes and Cooking with Food Sensitivities Guide.