Healthy Bento Box Lunches for School

By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA 

The key to kid-friendly food is to make it fun and include variety to reduce boredom; I encourage you to get your child involved in selecting foods in our grocery stores and in food preparation. How do you make it fun? Think Bento box, a variety of foods in different sections, this helps create visual appeal and different flavors and textures. What’s a bento box? A bento box is basically a single-portion take-out meal common in Japanese cuisine.  There’s no right or wrong way to create your bento box! Here are some tips to building your box…

  1. Select your Menu:
  • Proteins: Chicken, Turkey, Eggs, Cheese Almond butter, hummus yogurt
  • Carbohydrates: crackers, whole wheat bread or pasta, rice, oatmeal, mini bagels
  • Fruit: strawberries, blueberries, banana, applesauce, oranges, pears
  • Veggies: cherry tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, bell peppers

Other ideas…

  • Fruit salad on a Stick
  • Fun Shaped Sandwiches
  • Ants on a log (celery w/ nut butter & raisins)
  • Green salad – grilled chicken & favorite raw veggies
  • Trail Mix – whole grain cereal, dried fruits, nuts, dark chocolate pieces
  • Falafel
  • Pasta salad w/ bright colored veggies
  • Mini zucchini muffins
  • Hummus with pretzels
  • Tofu, edamame
  • String cheese


  1. Select your Container:
  • 4-ounce plastic containers with lids
  • Cupcake tins
  • Tiny jars – you know those individual serve jelly jars? Works great for dressings.
  • Plastic containers with dividers
  • DIY Bento. Select one medium sized container and create sections by using smaller containers or cupcake tins to section off your food items.


  1. Put it all together:
  • Pack an ice pack for food safety
  • Don’t forget a napkin & utensils if needed
  • Snacks help kids stay energized throughout the day – choose healthy options
  • Love note!


Pre-Schooler Bento Box

I put this lunch box together using my son’s favorite foods. For an older child simply use a larger container and cater to your child’s preferences! Remember, there is no wrong or right way to create a fantastic lunch for your child!


Prep time: 5 minutes

  • DIY Bento Box
  • Basic plastic food storage container
  • 1 cupcake tin wrapper
  • 2 small square plastic containers
  • Flower shaped cookie cutter



  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • Fresh strawberries & blueberries
  • 1/4 avocado
  • Whole grain “fish” crackers
  • 1/4 cup hummus



  1. Place storage containers in an organized fashion within the larger food storage containers.
  2. Fill each container using foods listed above. For the sunflower butter sandwich use a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut sandwich out.


Recipe & photo by Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA