Crazy Easy Bento-Style Lunchboxes



It seems I’ve managed to trick some of my Facebook friends into thinking I have my life together. How? Sharing pictures of my kids’ lunchboxes. My husband had a conversation about it with a colleague earlier this school year. She implied I might do it all. He invited her to come by without asking first and see how our apartment looks. (Only because he knows I would say the exact same thing.) I have nothing together. But I do enjoy packing my kids’ lunches.

Do I make elaborate, styled sushi and cut-out vegetable animals? Not a chance.

But here’s the key: regular lunches in a Bento box just look more appealing. I can pack a sandwich, chips, carrot sticks, and a cheese stick, and not only does a Bento box use fewer bags and packaging materials, it just looks better than everything stuffed in a bag.

Now, very occasionally my boxes look like this (a template I totally “borrowed” from Lunchbox Dad):


But way more often, they are stupidly easy to put together. Here are some simple ideas for your own bento-style boxes.


Exhibit A: Homemade “Lunchable.” I make this at least once a week. Lunchmeat and cheese cut into squares and put in silicone cupcake liners with crackers; I added Snapea Crisps, applesauce, and raisins.


Exhibit B: Pumpkin chocolate chip muffin, GoGurt, veggie straws, pineapple, and “trail mix” made with dried cranberries and peanuts. Mini chocolate chips in the small middle compartment. A quick bread plus yogurt or cheese makes a nice substitute for a sandwich.


Exhibit C: Homemade pizza “Lunchable.” Pieces of pita bread, shredded mozzarella, and mini pepperonis; veggie straws and apple slices. My kids are not big on pizza sauce, but it works great in the middle compartment! To keep apple slices from browning, toss them in a bowl of water with a little lemon or lime juice. Pat dry, then place in the box. That way, they don’t taste too much like citrus, but it keeps them from browning for several days.


Exhibit D: Simple but delicious! Sandwich wrap, apple slices with peanut butter, baby carrots, yogurt, and a treat.


Exhibit E: Strangely, this is one of my daughter’s favorite lunchbox meals. Chips with shredded cheese, trail mix, ham, and half a banana.

I have two kinds of Bento boxes: PlanetBoxes (the stainless steel ones) and the BentGo Kids boxes (colored BPA-free plastic). The PlanetBox is larger, but the BentGo Kids seals, which I like. I use them for different types of lunches as needed.

I may not be the room mom, or keep up with the laundry, or go on every field trip, but I can fake my way to a fun lunch for my kids! They are big fans of their lunches – and I love that packing lunch costs considerably less than buying school lunch or purchasing Lunchables for them to take every day.

What do you do for lunches?