School Bento Lunch Box Ideas for Kids

School Bento Lunch Box Ideas for Kids - CostContessa

It’s back to school time! Over the years I’ve packed a LOT of school lunches. My kids aren’t into sandwiches….so you’ll find mostly easy non-sandwich lunch box ideas for kids on my list. While all my photos aren’t instagram perfect lunch inspiration, they are REAL LIFE lunch ideas you have time to make and your kids [might] eat. Because real kids have eating preferences, can be picky, and healthy means something different to everyone…and frankly I don’t have the time or will to cut flowers out of cantaloupe.

Easy lunch box ideas for back to school!

I *try* to pack healthy lunches…but some weeks the lunchbox comes back full and uneaten and my Italian mama heart can’t take it…so I pack what they will eat be it leftover pizza or chicken nuggets or big old wedge of cake from a birthday. Then I try again to re-introduce healthy foods to their lunch boxes. Often with Oreos. You know, real life, real kids, realistic lunches.


It takes a village! We’d love to hear what lunch box ideas for are working at your house, PLEASE drop your ideas at the bottom of this post in the comments!

this post may contain affiliate links

Bento Kids Lunch Box Protein Ideas:

The hardest part of packing healthy kids’ lunch boxes for me is packing proteins [they will actually eat]…I find that when I slice up protein into small bite size pieces, they eat more of it. Even salami I slice up into strips.

Tip: breakfast proteins are 100% okay to pack in a lunch box if your kid will eat that! Bacon? Yep, pack it! Maple breakfast sausage? Yep, pack it! Canadian Bacon? Yep, pack it! Who decided what food is “breakfast” versus “lunch” or “dinner” – it’s totally arbitrary so if you kids will eat bacon, sausages, etc…send it!

Food Temperature Tip: Don’t decide and voice out loud that certain lunch box foods need to be a certain temperature. I always pack my kids lunch boxes on an ice pack but even with that, it’s not as cold as it should be. And for foods that are normally warm…well they’re definitely not warm. If your kiddo doesn’t notice temp differences in food, don’t project your temperature preferences!! Test it out. You might find they don’t mind room temperature bacon!

Hot Thermos: For some foods which my kids have balked at, I use a kids food thermos. Needs to sit with boiling hot water for a full five minutes before placing food in it. For nuggets or foods that get soggy, try drying it completely, and then placing them in a paper towel.

Try these no-bake omega energy bites for a healthy sweet treat for lunch boxes!

In no particular order, here are my not-pinterest-perfect lunch box ideas for kids…

Lunch Box Ideas for Kids
School Lunch Idea: string cheese, clementine, avocado chucks, watermelon, sugar snap peas
What to pack for school lunch from Costco - healthy bento box ideas!
School Lunch Idea: Pirate Booty, Apple “sticks”, raspberries, sausage slices, cucumber coins and a few chocolate chips.
Kids School Bento Lunchbox Ideas from Costco
School Lunch Idea: Cheese and salami slices, Cheez-it crackers, ham slices, strawberries, cucumber coins, couple of pieces of a sweet cereal
Kindergarten School Lunchbox Idea or Large Snack Box Idea
School Lunch Idea: Cornbread (made with 50/50 regular cornbread mix and half with food coloring), cheddar cheese sticks, sliced salami, cucumber coins, and clementine.
Healthy School Lunch Ideas- Ham Sandwich Lunchbox
This school lunchbox idea has a ham sandwich, mozzarella string cheese, clementines, salami slices and carrots.
Lunch Box Ideas for School for Picky Kids - SPD
Our lunchbox today has fresh grapes and fresh sugar snap peas, sliced fresh roasted turkey and sliced salami, leftover roasted sweet potatoes, cookies and macadamia nuts.
Lunch Box Ideas for Kids
School Lunch Box Ideas for Kids: Sliced ham rolls, Mickey Mouse Goldfish, cucumber coins, apple “sticks”, slice string cheese, blondie brownie
Healthy School Bento Box Lunchbox Packing Ideas
School Lunch Box Idea for Kids: Cucumber slices and sugar snap peas, cheddar cheese chunks, Goldfish crackers, sliced ham and salami, clementines and a couple of fruit gummies.
Bento Box Lunch Ideas - Healthy-ish
School Lunch Box Idea: sliced salami and ham, cheddar chunks, pretzels and Nut Thins crackers, purple carrots sliced, a clementine and dried cherries.
Healthy-ish School Lunch Idea - Hotdogs!
This Kids’ School Lunch Box has sliced hot dogs, ketchup and mustard for dipping, mixed fruit, a yogurt tube, veggie stix, and a few chocolate chips.
Sandwich-Free Lunchbox Ideas for Kids
This sandwich free bento box lunchbox is packed with strawberries and clementines, cucumber coins and baby carrots, ham roll slices, peanut butter filled pretzels, cheddar cheese and a few gummies.
lunchbox ideas for picky kids
Today’s lunch box has fresh grapes and “apple sticks,” deli sliced turkey and ham, pumpkin granola, seaweed, cookies and pistachios.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BeWZWBUAXok/?utm_medium=copy_link https://www.instagram.com/p/BeWZWBUAXok/?utm_medium=copy_link
https://www.instagram.com/p/BeYkNshgV9w/?utm_medium=copy_link https://www.instagram.com/
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bd0jgA1AB97/?utm_medium=copy_link https://www.instagram.com/p/Bd0jgA1AB97/?utm_medium=copy_link

I’ve only included my healthier successful lunches in this post, since I don’t think any of you need to see pizza slices and cake packed in a lunchbox. lol. But trust me, I’m not perfect and we have those days (or weeks) too.

What are your favorite things to pack for a healthy-ish kids lunch? Anything unusual that goes over really well? It takes a village and we’d love to hear what’s working at your house!

Hope you liked these lunch box ideas for kids! Be sure to pin this so you can find it later!

Adding lunch box info re the ketchup – I’m often asked about putting the ketchup right into the lunch box and leakage – and here’s the dice! You have to hand wash your lunch boxes to keep the seal working so that it will seal against liquid spillover. I know it says it’s dishwasher safe – and technically it is – but ultimately the hot water and heated dry will warp them just a tiny tiny bit and they don’t seal so that you can put liquids in. It’s up to you what is most important – ease of washing or packing sauces/watery fruits/etc. That’s a call only you can make…but that’s how I am able to do it 🙂

Read Next:

All opinions expressed on CostContessa are our own. Product features and nutrition information provided on our site is provided to us by third parties, and we do not independently verify its accuracy. Consumers should verify all information. Our content is not intended as a substitute for medical counseling or reading packaging yourself. Please always see actual package information yourself (it can and does change!) and consult your doctor with all questions.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *