DIY Bento Box Lunches for Kids

Who needs brown bags? Try these Japanese-inspired lunch box ideas for your child's next at-school meal.

Packaging up a child’s lunch is an art form in some circles in Japan. Called bento, the idea is to make lunch as visually appealing for kids as it is tasty. Traditional Japanese ingredients might be rice, pieces of fish and even seaweed. While your kids might shy away from having seaweed in their lunch, the idea of presenting your child’s lunch in a fun, creative way is sure to please! And you don’t necessarily need a bento box – a well-made Tupperware box will do the trick just fine. These recipes can help inspire you from making sandwiches that look like a cat and mouse to cheese shaped like giraffes or bears.

How to Make a Bento Box

Putting together a bento box involves packing all your child’s lunch ingredients snuggly so they won’t move around in her backpack. Check out how to make a bento box lunch from Just One Cookbook for all the tips and tricks you’ll need.

Cat and Mouse Bento Box

Dress up a sandwich and crackers by making them into this cat and mouse bento box recipe from Parenting. Craft the cat face out of the sandwich and use a kitchen knife to make the mouse shape from a piece of cheese.

Buddy Bento Box

Make these smiling bears from packed rice. That’s the start to putting together this buddy bento box from Cooking Light. Finish off the lunch by packing fortune cookies and chopsticks to the side.

Giraffe Bento

Here’s another cute bento box idea: giraffes made out of cheese along with veggies and hot dogs made to look like flowers. Encourage your child to make foodie flower shapes to pack into this giraffe bento by Just Bento.

Bear Kebabs Bento

Pick a theme for your bento box! These bear kebabs from Bento School Lunches include bears made out of chunks of cheese. The face? Those are pieces of cucumber peel. Add in more bears with a handful of cookies shaped like – you guessed it – teddy bears!

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