10 Super Easy (and Healthy!) Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Kids

published Aug 16, 2022
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Packing 180 school lunch boxes every year can get old, fast. The easier the better, am I right? If you’re looking to fill kids’ lunch boxes with more nutritious and filling foods, you’ve landed in just the right place.

These lunch boxes are geared towards elementary and middle school kiddos who eat pretty independently but still need plenty of protein to fuel their school days. The best part? Most of these ideas would satisfy hungry adults, too. Here are 10 easy and healthy lunch ideas — without a single sandwich in sight. (Have a really young kid? Check out these lunch ideas for toddlers and preschoolers.)

Buy the Lunch Box

I’m pretty obsessed with this simple-yet-sturdy bento-style lunchbox from LunchBots. I prefer this large size with five distinct compartments, but LunchBots also offers other sizes and configurations like this Small Protein Packer and this Quad snack container. We also love their tiny Condiment Cups for dressings and dips.

Need more bento box lunchbox ideas? Check out our list of the best bento boxes for kids’ lunches. Don’t forget an insulated lunch bag!

10 Super Easy Lunch Box Ideas for Kids

These creative protein-packed lunches go way beyond PB&J.

1. Smoothie Bowl

Packing a smoothie bowl is an easy way to work a ton of fruits and vegetables into lunch. What’s fun is that you can freeze it directly in the bento box — just pour the smoothie in the night before and throw it in the freezer. In the morning, fill the rest of the compartments with other fun breakfast-for-lunch components.

2. Sandwich Skewers

Sometimes switching up how a classic lunch food is assembled is the difference between a lunch devoured and a lunch returned. Here, we transformed a turkey sandwich into sandwich skewers filled with cheddar and cherry tomatoes. Sandwich skewers also use less bread, and are an open invitation for more veggies.

  • Get a recipe: Arrange bread cubes and thick slices of cheddar, turkey, and cherry tomatoes on skewers.
  • Pack with: Apple slices, bell pepper strips, hummus, KIND Kids bar

3. Avocado Toast

The secret to packing avocado toast for lunch is to cover the toast tightly with plastic wrap to keep it from turning brown.

4. Pasta Salad

Yes, pasta salad can be healthy! Make your own or grab one from the deli section or salad bar at your grocery store and then add as many vegetables as it will hold.

5. Nori Wraps

Using nori as a sandwich wrap is a fun way to dress up hummus and vegetables as something other than a sandwich. Make sure you toast the nori — you can do this over a stove burner or a quick toast in the toaster oven — which will help it stay crisp in the lunch box.

6. Egg + Flatbread roll ups

Breakfast for lunch is an easy way to pack in protein. Make a simple wrap of scrambled egg and flatbread, which is a hearty alternative to hard-boiled eggs.

7. Potstickers

Freezer potstickers are an easy shortcut to a healthy lunch. Choose a vegetable-packed option or make and freeze your own.

8. Chickpea Nuggets

These dairy-free chickpea nuggets are full of protein and fiber, plus they’re just totally fun. My 6-year-old loves them packed with an herb yogurt (kind of like a faux ranch dip).

  • Get a recipe: Chickpea Nuggets
  • Pack with: Grapes, Greek salad, pita chips, squeezable yogurt pouch

9. Sausages

Pig in a blanket can be totally healthy if you buy quality sausage and skip the crescent rolls for all-butter puff pastry. Pack this whole rather than sliced so they hold together better.

10. Black Bean Burrito

A simple black bean and cheese burrito is an easy alternative to a sandwich that’s just as easy to pack. Make your own, or find a freezer option you love and heat in the morning before school.

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: 10 Extra-Easy and Health Lunch Ideas for Kids