Food, Family & Kids Blogged by: Chirnside Park 07 Mar 2019

Healthy & clever bento box lunch ideas for kids

It’s trendy, it’s neat, it’s tidy, it’s fun and it’s EXCITING. The Bento Box.
For many years, parents have been trying to jazz up lunch boxes in the desperate hope that children will eat something healthy (or just ANYTHING, for goodness sake just ANYTHING!).
Enter the Bento Box. One rumour is that the word ‘bento’ has a distant meaning to a slang term for ‘convenience’. For roughly 15 centuries, Japanese farmers, workers, hunters and warriors would use bento boxes to store different types of food in compartments for their lunch.
Parents the world over are now rushing out in hope of avoiding end of day brown apples and squashy sandwiches. Follow some of these fun tips for packing an exciting and healthy bento box and your kids will be cheering (almost as much as you).
Please do remember however, that schools have strict food policies. The following are ideas, but we always recommend that you check your own school’s policies first.
  • Sweet potato or vegetable chips (easy to make your own)
  • Small snacking tomatoes (cherry, mini roma, heirloom tomatoes, grape tomatoes)
  • Baby cucumbers
  • Corn niblets or cut corn rounds
  • Dried fruit (apricots, apple, pear, sultanas, raisins, cranberries)
  • Fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, apple, mandarin, orange)
  • Pickled vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, cabbage: store bought or easy to make your own)
  • Edamame or crunchy green beans
  • Crudités (sliced or whole raw vegetables).(Most of the above can be livened up with a yoghurt, hummus or other dip).
  • Cheese portions e.g. Babybel, Cheese sticks, Happy Cow cheese
  • Yoghurt - natural or fruit yoghurt (hint: freeze the yoghurt, by lunchtime it will still be chilled and it will have kept other food cool)
  • Tzatziki - again, freeze a few cubes and by lunchtime it will be perfect as a dip. 
  • Rice (arancini, fried rice, savoury rice, rice based pies e.g. with tuna, celery and cheese toppings)
  • Pasta (spaghetti bolognese, ravioli, pasta with meatballs, or simply cheesy whole grain pasta)
  • Frittata (vegetables such as capsicum, zucchini or corn are delicious, leftover pasta stirred into the mix, meat frittata with sausage or bacon)
  • Sides (potato skins with cheese, chives and bacon, greek salad, hard boiled eggs, mashed potato or pumpkin, raw spiralised vegetables)
  • Skewers (marinated meat, vegetables or even fruit skewers). 
  • Sandwiches (name your filling! Turkey with cranberry sauce, ham, cheese and tomato, leftover meatballs)
  • Wraps/rolls (rice paper rolls with vegetarian, fish or meat fillings, sushi rolls with salmon, veggies and rice or quinoa, sushi style cut up tortilla wraps with your desired fillings)
  • Sliders (use any leftover meat to make tasty sliders - roast beef, pulled pork, slow cooked chicken)
  • Muffins (savoury muffins with grated vegetables and cheese, leftover pasta, berries with yoghurt) 
  • Make freezable meals in large batches, then freeze in bento sized portions for easy lunch preparation
  • Freeze juice boxes. They’ll act as an ice brick and be cool to drink in warmer weather.
  • Cookie cutters make everything fun. You can use them to make fun shaped food (fruit/sandwiches) OR, use them within your bento box to further separate colours of food in fun patterns.
  • For a nice personal touch, sit down once a week and write out some personal lunch notes. Include a nice message for the day or even a funny joke to make your littlies smile. 

Check out our hot picks for bento style lunch boxes available at Chirnside Park:

Smiggle – Happy Bento Lunchbox - $39.95

Typo - Lunchbox - $12.99

Target – Smash Rubbish Free Lunchbox - $14

Target – Smash Rubbish Free Lunchbox - $14

Kmart - 4 Section Lunch Box - $5

Kmart - 4 Section Lunch Container - $4

Kmart - 5 Section Lunch Box - $5

With these ideas, those lunches will basically make themselves 😉

For more inspiration in Lifestyle, Family, Style & Food visit The Chirnside Collective