As a mom to two kiddos, I know all about the school lunch woes. Coming up with new ideas each week can really suck all the creativity and joy out of packing a lunch. I’m here to help you simplify packing lunches with 27 insanely delicious, healthy, and easy bento box ideas for kids!

8 bento box lunches laid out with different foods packed inside each one.
So many healthy and easy ways to pack a bento box! Never run out of ideas with this list of 27 bento box meals.

What is a Bento Lunch Box?

A bento box is a lunchbox that’s divided into smaller compartments, separating the food in the box. Here’s what I love about using a bento box for kids and school lunch…

  • Makes packing a school lunch super easy.
  • An easy and organize way the kids to enjoy their lunch. Everything is easily laid out for the kids at lunchtime, which is ideal when you only have a few minutes to eat.
  • Saves money: no more buying plastic bags that get tossed or new lunchboxes every year.
  • I’m not a “Pinterest mom,” packing all the fun things like fruits in different shapes, etc. but the bento box makes packing a beautiful lunch super easy. When a lunch is beautiful (this doesn’t mean complicated), kids are more likely to enjoy their lunch.

The 5 Best Bento Boxes for Kids of All Ages

  • PLANETBOX ROVER A stainless steel option for preschool and elementary kids. Very easy to open with the latch handle. You must use the Planetbox lunch bag as the lunchbox doesn’t fit in other bags. Not leakproof, so use leak-proof containers (purchased separately) that fit inside the lunchbox when packing yogurt, applesauce, dips, etc. Cost $60
  • OMIELIFE – A plastic option for young children (preschool-3rd grade) with a built-in, removal thermos. My kids loved this box when they were little and it was a great way to pack hot lunches. This lunchbox is leak-proof. Cost: $45
  • LUNCHBOTS A great option for preschool-adults. The lunchbox is easy to open and clean with 3 compartments, one for a larger main and two sides. Not leakproof; use leak-proof containers (purchased separately) that fit inside the box when packing yogurt, applesauce, dips, etc. Cost: $40
  • BENTGO This plastic box is great for young children (preschool-2nd grade). Personally, I find this lunchbox to be restrictive due to the small compartments and size. But if you have a child with a smaller appetite, this is a good option. It is leak-proof. Cost: $30
  • EASY LUNCHBOXES This is a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot on a lunchbox. With 3 compartments, it’s the perfect size for preschool-adults. Not leakproof; use leak-proof containers (purchased separately) that fit inside the box when packing yogurt, applesauce, dip, etc. Cost: $14 for 4 boxes
Best bento boxes: planetbox rover, omielife, lunchbots, bentgo, and easy lunchboxes.
The best of the best bento boxes for kids and school lunch.

7 Best Tools for Easy Lunch Packing

My Easy Lunch Formula

Coming up with lunch ideas each day is a lot of work! That’s why I created a simple lunch-packing formula. My formula divides the lunchbox into 4 categories. You’ll notice that I use this formula to build all 27 bento lunch ideas (below).

Why use this formula?

  • Takes all the guesswork out of having to build a lunch each day.
  • Instead of feeling frustrated by a lack of ideas, you’ll have a framework or starting point that simply needs to be “filled in.” The printable 42 school lunch ideas cheat sheet gives you a ton of ideas.

My Lunch Formula

  • Main Course: the hearty “main dish” of the lunch. A sandwich, pizza, leftovers, soup, a wrap, homemade lunchable, quesadilla, rolled up turkey and cheese, pasta salad, etc.
  • Fruit: fresh fruit, like sliced apples, berries, fruit salad (a few fruits mixed together), dried fruit, 100% fruit bars, etc.
  • Veggie: a mini salad, veggie sticks, or veg that’s been added to a sandwich or wrap or soup.
  • Crunch: Something extra that feels like a “treat or snack,” like a muffin, trail mix, popcorn, crackers, plantain chips, pretzels, cheese cubes or slices, etc.


Nourishing meal ideas for effortless school lunches. Download your free lunch guide.

27 Lunchbox Ideas Guide

  • Cheese, Crackers, Turkey Lunchable
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Pizza Lunchable
  • Egg Muffins
  • Turkey Roll Ups
  • Hard-boiled Eggs
  • Taquitos
  • Build Your Own Parfait
  • Banana “Sushi” Roll Ups
  • Pancakes
  • Pancake or Waffle Sandwich
  • Hummus and Turkey Pita Sandwich
  • Salad
  • Chicken and Rice
  • Chicken Nuggets / Tenders and Ranch Dip
  • Hot Dogs
  • Banana Bread Cream Cheese Sandwich
  • Pasta Salad
  • Classic Sandwich
  • Soup
  • Oatmeal
  • Apple Sandwich
  • Cheese Quesadilla
  • Meatballs and Dipping Sauce
  • Chicken or Tuna Salad Wrap
  • Pizza Muffins
  • Mac and Cheese

27 Easy & Healthy Bento Box Ideas for Kids

  • Nearly all the easy lunch ideas, below, are nut free or can be accommodated to be nut free (safe for nut-free schools).
  • All the lunches are healthy and made with nourishing, real-food ingredients.
  • Many of the ideas are picky-eater approved! My son was a super picky eater for many years and packing a lunch that he would eat and that would nourish his body was my top priority! (How to encourage picky eaters to eat more variety.)
  • The lunches are easy to make and many of the ideas save time by using leftovers from dinner or breakfast.
  • Some foods are freezer-friendly, like pancakes, quesadillas, and soup. (Full list of freezer-friendly school lunch ideas.)

Need breakfast ideas for those busy school mornings? I’ve got you covered with 27 Easy & Healthy Kids Breakfast Ideas that pair perfectly with these easy lunch ideas.

Simple, easy-to-build, nourishing, real food lunch ideas for school lunch. A no-fuss, simple guide to packing amazing lunches that will nourish your kids.
The bento box is the perfect lunchbox for making homemade lunchables.

1. Cheese, Crackers, Meat Homemade Lunchable

An easy lunch made with crackers, real cheese, and sliced deli meat (salami, turkey, pepperoni, cubed chicken, ham, etc.). This one is so easy, the kids can pack their own lunch!

  • Main: Homemade Lunchable: salami + cheddar cheese cubes + crackers (Simple Mills brand)
  • Fruit: Grapes and sliced pears sprinkled with cinnamon to prevent browning
  • Veggie: Roasted broccoli (leftover from dinner)
  • Crunch: Crackers (Simple Mills brand)
Pizza in a lunchbox with fruit, broccoli, and a meat stick.
Leftover homemade pizza or mini pizzas are a fun and easy lunch.

2. Pizza

Turn homemade pizza from dinner into a quick and easy school lunch. Or, make mini pizzas by spooning pizza sauce on English muffins or pita bread, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until melted. Mini pizzas are a great meal prep option as they keep in the fridge for days. Eat at room temperature.

Homemade pizza lunchable with strawberries and cucumbers.
Using a dipper container is a great way to add sauce, like pizza sauce, or a dip to the bento box.

3. Pizza Lunchable

Cut homemade pizza dough into small rounds using a biscuit cutter and bake. Or, cut pita bread into small rounds with a biscuit cutter. Pack a side of pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, and optional, pepperoni, for a build-your-own pizza lunchable.

Main: Homemade pizza lunchable
Fruit: Strawberries and pitted cherries
Veggie: Sliced cucumber and olives
Crunch: None

Egg muffin, yogurt and granola, and strawberries in a bento box lunchbox.
Eggs are an excellent way to add protein to the lunchbox!

4. Egg Muffins

Bake eggs with bacon, veggies, and cheese in a muffin tin. The egg muffins can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and enjoyed at room temperature or reheated. These muffins are perfect for a protein-rich breakfast or lunch. Pack an ice pack to keep the food safe until lunch.

  • Main: Egg Muffin
  • Fruit: Strawberries
  • Veggie: Bell peppers cooked in the egg muffin
  • Crunch: Homemade granola (a great food to prep in advance and store in the freezer) and yogurt
Turkey rolled up with spinach, tomato soup in a thermos, side of crackers and grapes.
Turkey or ham roll ups are a quick and easy lunch option.

5. Turkey Roll Ups

An easy protein option for the lunchbox. Roll up sliced turkey, ham, or pastrami with either sliced cheese or spinach. I love Applegate and True Story brands for lunch meat.

  • Main: Turkey roll ups with spinach leaves and homemade tomato soup (leftover from dinner)
  • Fruit: Grapes
  • Veggie: Spinach (in the turkey roll up) and the soup!
  • Crunch: Crackers (Simple Mill’s brand)
Simple, easy-to-build, nourishing, real food lunch ideas for school lunch. A no-fuss, simple guide to packing amazing lunches that will nourish your kids.
Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs and store them in the fridge for an easy lunch or breakfast.

6. Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs are a fantastic meal prep food. Make 8-10 eggs on the weekend and keep them in the fridge for breakfast and lunch all week. The eggs keep for up to 5 days and are best enjoyed at room temperature or cold. I love to make hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. They come out perfectly every time!

Ground beef taquitos, cantaloupe, side salad with ranch, and energy bites in a lunchbox.
Turn dinner into lunch with leftover ground beef taquitos! Add an ice pack to keep the food safe until lunchtime.

7. Taquitos

One of my kids’ favorite lunches! Make ground beef taquitos for dinner and serve the leftovers for lunch (room temperature with an ice pack).

Taquitos are also freezer-friendly, so you can make a batch and freeze them. Grab a few to bake in the morning and place in the lunchbox (wrap in foil if you want to keep semi-warm).

Main: Ground beef taquitos with sour cream (in dipper container)
Fruit: Cantaloupe
Veggie: Mini salad and leftover salsa
Crunch: Energy bites (these are nut-free!)

Build your own parfait lunch: yogurt, honey, granola, strawberries, with a muffin on the side and rolled up ham.
Build your own parfait: yogurt with honey, granola, and fruit! A fun and easy meal that’s perfect for the bento box.

8. Yogurt Parfait

The divided compartments in the bento box makes it perfect for packing this fun lunch! Add plain yogurt and honey (this Greek yogurt fruit dip is a great way to make flavored yogurt for kids) to a leak-proof container with a lid, add granola on the side and fruit.

Banana rolled up in a tortilla and peanut butter, carrot sticks, cheese cubes, and turkey rolled up in a lunchbox.
Banana “sushi” is a fun treat for the kiddos: banana, peanut butter, and a tortilla.

9. Banana Sushi Roll Ups

My kids are obsessed with peanut butter banana toast (a breakfast staple in our home). But toast doesn’t pack well in the lunchbox.

Instead, here’s a lunchbox alternative: start with a tortilla and spread with peanut butter (or sunflower seed butter). Place a full banana on one side of the tortilla and tightly roll up the tortilla over the banana. Cut the tortilla into “sushi bites.”

If your kiddos love cinnamon, sprinkle a bit over the “sushi” to keep the banana from browning too much in the lunchbox. This lunch is best made and packed the morning of school.

  • Main: Banana “sushi” and rolled up turkey
  • Fruit: Banana (in the sushi)
  • Veggie: Carrot sticks
  • Crunch: Cheese cubes
Mini pancakes with maple syrup, hardboiled egg, strawberries, and celery with peanut butter in a lunchbox.
Use leftover pancakes from the weekend to make an effortless lunch on Monday!

10. Mini Pancakes

The perfect way to turn Sunday’s homemade pancakes into Monday’s lunchbox! Pack a little dipper container of pure maple syrup or fruit on side. I also recommend adding a protein, like an Instant Pot hard boiled egg, leftover cooked bacon, or rolled up turkey or ham.

Waffle sandwich (with cream cheese and jam), yogurt and granola, apple slices, and cucumbers in a lunchbox.
Leftover waffles or pancakes make the best sandwiches. Add cream cheese, jam, or nut/seed butter.

11. Pancake or Waffle Sandwich

Turn leftover weekend pancakes or waffles into the very best sandwiches! Spread the waffles or pancakes with cream cheese and jam, just jam, or peanut butter (or sunflower butter) and jam. I make einkorn pancakes, almond-oat pancakes, almond flour waffles, or einkorn waffles and keep them stocked in the freezer.

Hummus and turkey pita sandwich, crackers, orange slices, and carrots in lunchbox.
Use pita bread for sandwiches. Here, I’ve added hummus, turkey, and cucumber slices to the pita.

12. Hummus and Turkey Pita Sandwich

Slice a pita into quarters. Spread hummus inside the pita, add turkey or chicken or ham, cheese (if desired), and a cucumber slice. A quick and easy sandwich that feels different than your classic sandwich, and it’s perfectly balanced with protein, complex carbs, and fiber.

  • Main: Pita sandwich: pita bread, turkey, homemade hummus, and cucumber slices
  • Fruit: Clementine slices
  • Veggie: Carrot sticks (store cut carrots in water and they’ll stay fresh and crisp for weeks)
  • Crunch: Crackers (From the Ground Up Cauliflower brand)
Simple, easy-to-build, nourishing, real food lunch ideas for school lunch. A no-fuss, simple guide to packing amazing lunches that will nourish your kids.
The bento box is perfect for making salads! Use a small dipper container to pack a salad dressing, like homemade ranch.

13. Salad

If your child is a salad lover, the bento box makes packing a salad super easy! In the picture, I added lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber slices, carrots, and some leftover shredded chicken (I love to cook a whole chicken or grill chicken thighs and keep the meat in the fridge for lunch). In a dipper container, I added homemade ranch dip (homemade vinaigrette is another great option!).

  • Main: Mixed salad with lettuce, carrots, cucumber, grape tomatoes, shredded grilled chicken thighs (leftover from dinner) with cheddar cheese, cubed bread, and salami skewers
  • Fruit: Grapes
  • Veggie: Salad 
  • Crunch: Stonyfield YoKids Organic Strawberry Yogurt
Chicken and rice in a thermos with pineapple slices, red pepper slices, plantain chips, and hummus on the side in a lunchbox.
Turn a quick chicken and rice dinner into a delicious lunch! Use the Omielife box, with a built-in thermos, or add the chicken and rice to a separate thermos.

14. Chicken and Rice

Instant Pot chicken and yellow rice or Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice are two of our favorite weeknight dinners. And the best part is they make lots of leftovers for school lunch.

If you’re using the Omielife bento box, with the built-in thermos, add the chicken and rice to the thermos in the morning (after reheating). If you’re using a different bento box, add the chicken and rice to a separate thermos, then fill the bento box with a fruit, veggie, and crunch.

Chicken tenders with homemade ranch dip, clementine slices, banana muffins, and sugar snap peas in a lunchbox.
Make homemade chicken tenders for dinner, doubling the recipe, and you’ll have an easy lunch for days!

15. Homemade Chicken Nuggets/Tenders

Are you noticing a trend here? Leftovers are your best friend when it comes to packing an easy and healthy lunch!

Make homemade chicken tenders for dinner, double the recipe, and stash the extras away in the fridge for an easy lunch. Serve the chicken tenders with homemade ranch dip (or ketchup), add the meat to a tortilla for a wrap, or top on a salad. Serve the chicken tenders at room temperature with an ice pack for safety.

Main: Homemade chicken tenders with homemade ranch dip
Fruit: Clementine slices
Veggie: Sugar snap peas
Crunch: Einkorn banana muffins (made in a mini muffin pan)

Simple, easy-to-build, nourishing, real food lunch ideas for school lunch. A no-fuss, simple guide to packing amazing lunches that will nourish your kids.
Hot dogs are a quick way to pack a protein for lunch. Add ketchup to a dipper container for easy dipping.

16. Hot Dogs

In the morning, you can quickly warm up hot dogs, cut into pieces, then add directly to the bento box or a separate thermos. I like Applegate brand, Niman Ranch brand, or True Story brand.

  • Main: Applegate hot dogs with ketchup
  • Fruit: Peaches and strawberries
  • Veggie: Cucumber sticks 
  • Crunch: Sea salt potato chips (cooked in avocado oil)
Pink bento box with a banana bread cream cheese sandwich and rolled up ham, grapes, oranges, hummus, and snap peas.
Banana bread makes the best cream cheese sandwiches!

17. Banana Bread Cream Cheese Sandwich

Make your favorite banana bread on the weekend (I love this almond flour banana bread or turn these einkorn banana muffins into bread). Slice the bread and add cream cheese between two slices. A delicious and fun lunchbox sandwich!

Pasta salad in a lunchbox with celery and peanut butter, pretzels, and blueberries.
Make pasta salad and serve it up for a work and school lunch. The perfect cold lunch.

18. Pasta Salad

This Zesty Italian Pasta Salad is a great prep-ahead meal. It makes a ton, so you can make it for a weekend lunch or dinner (alongside grilled chicken thighs). Serve it up for a school and work lunch. It keeps for up to 2 days in the fridge.

Ham and cheese sandwich on dinner rolls with grapes, cheese cubes, and cucumber slices in a lunchbox.
Go classic with a traditional sandwich. Even the classic sandwich looks fun in the bento box!

19. Classic Sandwich

There is nothing wrong with classic! Pack a classic sandwich, like ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, or peanut butter (or sunflower butter) and jam. Use sourdough bread, a brioche bun or dinner rolls, or homemade pancakes or waffles for the bread.

  • Main: Ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce on brioche dinner rolls
  • Fruit: Grapes
  • Veggie: Cucumber slices
  • Crunch: Granola bar (Autumn’s Gold brand from Costco: some of my favorite foods from Costco.)
Chicken noodle soup, energy bite, apple slices, and bread in a bento box lunchbox.
Add your child’s favorite soup to the built-in thermos in the Omielife box. Or, use a separate thermos and pack a fruit and crunch in the bento box.

20. Soup

Chicken noodle soup and roasted tomato soup are always popular with kids! Turn this nutrient-dense dinner into a school lunch by reheating the soup and adding it to a thermos. Then pack a fruit, veggie, and crunch in the bento box.

Oatmeal in a thermos with a grapefruit, cucumber slices, cheese stick, and tortilla chips on the side in a bento box.
Oatmeal is a fantastic lunchbox option!

21. Oatmeal

Turn breakfast into an easy and healthy lunch by packing oatmeal in a thermos, then adding a fruit, veggie, and crunch to the bento box. I add grass-fed whey protein (this is my favorite brand) to the oatmeal (stir in after cooking) for extra protein!

Oatmeal is fantastic to prep on the weekend and reheat later in the week with a bit of water to keep it from drying out.

  • Main: Oatmeal and cheese stick
  • Fruit: Grapefruit
  • Veggie: Cucumber slices
  • Crunch: Tortilla chips
Ham rolled up with an apple sandwich (apple and peanut butter), carrot fries, and crackers and cheese in a lunchbox.
Apple slices are a fun way to add healthy fiber, carbs, and fat to the lunchbox!

22. Apple Sandwich

Core an apple, then thinly slice, and add peanut butter (or sunflower butter) to two of the slices to make a sandwich. Sprinkle the apple slices with lemon juice or cinnamon to prevent the apple from browning in the bento box.

  • Main: Apple sandwich (apples, cinnamon, peanut butter or sunflower seed butter) and rolled up turkey
  • Fruit: Apple
  • Veggie: Carrot fries (carrots cut into sticks and roasted, similar to this roasted green and carrot recipe)
  • Crunch: Cheese cubes and crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers) and homemade yogurt stick
Cheese quesadilla with grapes, cucumber and carrot slices with hummus, applesauce, and pretzels in a lunchbox.
Quesadillas are served cold or at room temperature in the lunchbox. This also works with a grilled cheese sandwich.

23. Cheese Quesadilla

Quesadillas are easy to make for lunch! Add cheese to a tortilla, then toast the quesadilla over the stove-top in a skillet or in the oven. Add the quesadilla, cut, to the bento box. Kids eat this lunch at room temperature. You can also add mashed up beans, spinach, or turkey or ham with the cheese. Add an ice pack if using lunch meat in the quesadilla.

  • Main: Cheese quesadilla (use this quesadilla recipe as a guide, just skip the spinach if that’s not your child’s favorite thing)
  • Fruit: Grapes and unsweetened applesauce
  • Veggie: Cucumber slices and carrot sticks with homemade hummus
  • Crunch: Pretzels

Freezer Tip: Make a bunch of cheese quesadillas, cut them into pieces, then freeze on a sheet pan. Place the quesadillas in a bag, then pull out as many as needed and place in the lunchbox. No need to reheat, the quesadillas will thaw out in the lunchbox. This is one of 7 different foods to make and freeze for school lunch!

Meatballs on a skewer with marinara dipping sauce, cucumber sticks, grapes, crackers and cheese.
Turn last night’s meatball dinner into a fun lunch with a side of spaghetti sauce for dipping.

24. Meatballs and Dipping Sauce

Another great dinner turned easy lunchbox meal! Add last night’s oven-baked meatballs and sauce to the lunchbox. I love these little skewers for making the meatballs easy to pick up and dip in the sauce (in a dipper container).

  • Main: Oven-baked meatballs and spaghetti sauce (in a dipping container) leftover from dinner
  • Fruit: Grapes
  • Veggie: Cucumber slices and carrot sticks
  • Crunch: Crackers (Simple Mills brand) and cheese cubes
Tuna salad wrap in a tortilla with apple slices, pretzels, and pickles in a lunchbox.
Use a tortilla to make a delicious wrap with lunch meat or chicken or tuna salad.

25. Tuna or Chicken Salad Wrap

Make chicken salad (with cooked, shredded chicken) or tuna salad (with canned tuna). Keep it in the fridge and in the morning add the salad to a tortilla and wrap it up! This is great for adults and kids. Alternatively, make a wrap with your favorite lunch meat and cheese.

  • Main: Chicken salad in a tortilla with lettuce
  • Fruit: Apples with lemon juice (to prevent browning)
  • Veggie: Lettuce in the wrap and Bubbie’s brand pickles
  • Crunch: Pretzel sticks
Pizza muffins with marinara sauce, tomato and cucumber salad, raspberries, and fruit roll up.
Freezer-friendly foods, like pizza muffins, are a great way to prep lunch in advance.

26. Pizza Muffins

Savory muffins, like pizza muffins or corn dog muffins, are a great food to prep in advance, toss in the freezer, and pack in the bento box. Thaw the muffins in the fridge overnight, or reheat from the freezer in the microwave or oven until thawed. The kids enjoy these muffins at room temperature (just add an ice pack to keep the food safe).

Main: Einkorn pizza muffin with easy no-cook pizza sauce (in little dipper container)
Fruit: Raspberries & 100% fruit roll up (Bear brand)
Veggie: Cucumber, tomato, and feta cheese salad
Crunch: 100% fruit roll up (Bear brand)

Macaroni and cheese in a thermos with cantaloupe, rolled up ham, and broccoli in a lunchbox.
What kid doesn’t love mac and cheese? Make it with nourishing ingredients and pack it for lunch.

27. Mac and Cheese

What kid doesn’t love mac and cheese? Make homemade stove-top mac and cheese or Instant Pot mac and cheese for dinner (serve with a veggie and protein), then turn the leftovers into a quick lunchbox meal.

Reheat the mac and cheese in a microwave or on the stove-top (add a bit of milk when using the stove-top to keep the mac and cheese from drying out), then add to a thermos and pack a fruit, veggie, and crunch in the bento box.

Main: Homemade stove-top mac and cheese (or Instant Pot mac and cheese) and rolled up ham
Fruit: Cantaloupe and 100% fruit leather (Wild Made brand)
Veggie: Leftover roasted frozen broccoli
Crunch: 100% fruit leather (Wild Made brand)



Nourishing meal ideas for effortless school lunches. Download your free lunch guide.

8 bento box lunches laid out with different foods packed inside each one.
5 from 5 votes

27+ Easy Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Kids

Easy and delicious bento box ideas for kids and school! Use my simple formula: choose a main, veggie, fruit, and crunch to easily and quickly pack a bento box each week. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Kristin Marr
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 1 lunch for each idea


  • 1 bento lunchbox see recommendations above in the article


Choose a Main

  • Cheese, Crackers, Turkey Lunchable
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Egg Muffins
  • Turkey Roll Ups
  • Hard-boiled Eggs
  • Taquitos
  • Build Your Own Parfait
  • Banana "Sushi" Roll Ups
  • Pancakes
  • Pancake or Waffle Sandwich
  • Hummus and Turkey Pita Sandwich
  • Salad
  • Chicken and Rice
  • Chicken Nuggets / Tenders and Ranch Dip
  • Hot Dogs
  • Banana Bread Cream Cheese Sandwich
  • Pasta Salad
  • Classic Sandwich
  • Soup
  • Oatmeal
  • Apple Sandwich
  • Cheese Quesadilla
  • Meatballs and Dipping Sauce
  • Chicken or Tuna Salad Wrap
  • Pizza Muffins
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Yogurt

Choose a Fruit

  • Grapes
  • Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon or lemon juice
  • Orange slices
  • Clementines
  • Pitted cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon chunks
  • Pineapple Slices
  • Cantaloupe chunks
  • Honeydew chunks
  • Peach slices
  • Applesauce
  • 100% fruit bars
  • Dried fruit

Choose a Veggie

  • Cucumber slices
  • Carrot sticks
  • Salad
  • Bell pepper slices or mini sweet peppers
  • Roasted broccoli
  • Roasted carrot sticks
  • Dried vegetables

Choose a "Crunch"

  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Cheese cubes
  • Yogurt stick
  • Popcorn
  • Trail mix
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Pita bread slices
  • Tortila chips
  • Homemade muffin
  • Granola bar
  • Granola


  • Choose one main, one fruit, one veggie, and one "crunch" to easily build a bento box lunch.
    Cheese quesadilla with grapes, cucumber and carrot slices with hummus, applesauce, and pretzels in a lunchbox.
  • Mix and match the options above to create many different bento lunch options. Print this list and download my free 42 easy lunch ideas cheat sheet for more ideas!


  • Use small dipper containers when packing dips, like ranch dip and hummus, for veggies, pretzels, or salad. 
  • Use a large dip container when packing applesauce, yogurt, and other foods that can easily leak and spill, unless using a leak-proof bento box.
  • Use a separate thermos with the bento box when packing hot foods, like oatmeal, soup, or chicken and rice. Or, use a bento box like Omielife, with a built-in thermos.
  • Many foods may be served at room temperature, including meatballs, quesadillas, pizza, and pancakes. Pack an ice pack for safety.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!


  1. 5 stars
    My kids love the ground beef taquitos and quesadillas and homemade lunchable. Those are on repeat in our house. And Monday is always a pancake sandwich day to keep it simple.

    1. Hey Brooke, My best advice is exposure and consistency. Toddlers are still young little people, so parents and caregivers are still very much in charge of food at this age. Avoid the drive thru and stick to making the kiddos favorites at home. If they love chicken nuggets, make homemade nuggets. Mac and cheese? Go the homemade route. Burgers? Make yummy burgers at home. Also offer exposure to other foods. There are many different ways to enjoy something, so offer variety too. Kids may not eat something at first, but after being exposed to it over and over, they may eventually try it and like it. I’ve seen this numerous times with my kids. As parents and caregivers it’s easy to never serve something again, but doing so only leads to picky eating. Serve a variety of food, in a variety of ways, and balance this with favorite meals. It will take some time, but it’s worth it in the end. And seeing parents and caregivers as role models in this area–eating a variety of food, enjoying meals together with the kids– is a big help, too.

      Here are more ideas:

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