As a mom of two, I know firsthand the challenges of making sure our little ones are eating a nutritious and balanced lunch. Throw in the mix the need for the meal to be appealing to them, easy to pack, and diverse enough to avoid lunchbox boredom, and you've got yourself a daily puzzle to solve.
We've all been there – meticulously preparing a meal that checks all the health boxes, only to find it untouched at the end of the school day.
And let's not even start on the Herculean effort it takes to make these lunches appealing while juggling our endless to-do list.
That's where Bentgo boxes come to the rescue. These handy, compartmentalized lunch boxes are a game-changer for busy parents.
Not only do they make packing a balanced lunch straightforward and convenient, but they also lend themselves to creative meal ideas that keep our little ones excited about lunchtime.
In this blog post, I'll share some of my favorite Bentgo box ideas that have been a hit with my kids, and offer tips to create nutritious and appealing lunches your kids will love.
What is a Bentgo Box?
A Bentgo box is a type of bento lunch box that is designed to make packing balanced and visually appealing meals easy and convenient.
Originating from Japan, the term "bento" refers to a single-portion meal often packed in a compartmentalized box, and Bentgo has taken this concept and adapted it for modern, on-the-go lifestyles.
A Bentgo box typically features multiple compartments of different sizes, perfect for packing a variety of foods. It offers a way to conveniently pack protein, grains, fruits, and veggies all in one container while keeping each food item separate.
This makes it an excellent tool for ensuring a balanced diet and helping kiddos have a healthy lunch.
Bentgo boxes are known for their durability and are often made of sturdy, kid-friendly materials that can withstand the rough and tumble of school bags.
They come in a range of sizes and styles, some even with themed designs, to appeal to children of different ages. The boxes are typically easy to open and close, making them accessible even for toddlers.
Beyond their practicality, Bentgo boxes also add an element of fun to meal times. The compartmentalization encourages creativity in meal planning and presentation, making the eating experience more enjoyable for kids.
Plus, the visually separate areas can make new or less favored foods seem less intimidating, providing a gentle way to introduce variety in a child's diet.
In essence, a Bentgo box is more than just a lunch box. It's a practical, versatile, and fun way to pack meals, whether for school, picnics, or family outings, promoting healthy eating habits and making meal prep easier for parents.
Why Bentgo Boxes?
If you've ever found yourself in a constant battle to make lunchtimes interesting, nutritious, and fuss-free, then you're going to love Bentgo boxes. These modern lunch containers offer a wealth of benefits that make them an ideal choice for kids lunch.
Made from sturdy materials, Bentgo boxes are designed to withstand the inevitable rough and tumble that comes with being handled by children.
Whether it's being tossed in a school backpack or accidentally dropped, these boxes stay intact, keeping the meal inside safe.
Bentgo boxes feature compartments, making it easy to pack a variety of foods without them getting mixed up. This compartmentalization is not just handy, it’s a visual guide helping ensure balanced meals. No more wondering if you're packing too much of this or too little of that.
With a Bentgo kids box, portion control becomes a breeze.
One of the most standout features, especially where our picky eaters are concerned, is the visual appeal. Bentgo boxes present food in an attractive, colorful, and organized way, which can entice even the most selective eaters to try a bite.
By transforming their lunch into an edible rainbow, we're also teaching them about balanced eating habits in a fun and engaging manner.
My youngest, who would always turn her nose up at veggies, became much more inclined to eat her greens when they were neatly tucked into her Bentgo box alongside her favorite foods. One day, she had cherry tomatoes next to some cheese cubes and a mini sandwich.
The fun mix of colors and shapes piqued her interest, and much to my surprise, the tomatoes were the first to disappear! It was a clear win for team vegetables.
In essence, Bentgo boxes take a lot of the guesswork and stress out of lunch packing, while encouraging our kids to eat a well-rounded meal.
They're an all-around win for both parents and children.
Getting Creative with Bentgo Box Lunch Ideas
Unlocking the potential of Bentgo boxes comes down to creative meal planning. One of the best aspects of these boxes is their versatility. They lend themselves perfectly to a whole host of recipes, from mini sandwiches and wraps to fresh fruits and veggies, dips, and even homemade muffins or cookies for a little treat.
You can also incorporate various food groups such as proteins, dairy, and grains, thanks to the divided compartments.
A key aspect of Bentgo box lunches is making meals visually enticing.
Kids are more likely to eat their lunch when it's colorful and has a variety of shapes and sizes. Think about the visual appeal of different foods: vibrant strawberries next to green cucumber slices, a handful of blueberries paired with some yellow cheese cubes, or mini ham and cheese wraps.
Use food cutters to create fun shapes or arrange the food in a pattern. Get creative with the colors and shapes of fruits, vegetables, and other food items to make lunchtime an exciting, enjoyable experience for your little ones.
Bentgo boxes also make it easy to introduce new foods. You can place a small portion of something new alongside their favorite foods. This can encourage kids to try new things without feeling overwhelmed by a large portion.
Another fun aspect is themed Bentgo box lunches. Based on your child's interest, you could have a superhero-themed lunch one day or an animal-themed one on another day.
Little touches like these can bring a lot of excitement to mealtime and can make your child look forward to what's in their lunchbox.
In the next section, I'll share some of my favorite Bentgo box recipes, tried and tested by my own little ones. These ideas will provide you with a starting point to inspire your own creative Bentgo box lunches, making meal prep less of a chore and more of a delightful activity.
14 Easy Bentgo Lunch Box Ideas
Here are 14 of our favorite recipes for bento-style lunch that kids love. From crackers with egg salad to a fun spin on PB&J, there's a delicious lunch idea here that even the picky eater on your hands will love.
Bento Boxes vs. Traditional Paper Bag Lunches
If you're still on the fence about whether to make the switch from traditional lunch bags with Ziploc baggies to bento boxes, let's take a moment to compare these two lunch-packing methods.
Bento boxes are reusable, making them a more eco-friendly option compared to single-use Ziploc baggies. By using a bento box, you're not only reducing the amount of waste your family produces, but you're also teaching your children about the importance of sustainability from a young age.
Bento boxes, with their compartmentalized design, are excellent for portion control. The different sections make it easier to ensure a balanced meal by visually dividing the box into areas for each food group. In contrast, with Ziploc baggies, it's easy to pack too much or too little of a certain food group.
Bento boxes are usually airtight and often come with insulation bags, keeping the food fresher for longer. Traditional lunch bags may not provide the same level of protection unless you're using insulated baggies, which could lead to spoilage.
One of the key benefits of bento boxes is how they present food. The distinct compartments allow food to be displayed in an appealing way, which can make mealtime more enticing for picky eaters. On the other hand, Ziploc baggies can often squish food, making it less appealing to kids.
Bento boxes are typically more durable than plastic baggies. They're designed to withstand daily use and accidental drops or spills. With Ziploc baggies and paper bags, there's always the risk of punctures or leaks.
While the upfront cost of a bento box might be higher than a box of Ziploc baggies, it's a one-time purchase that, with proper care, can last for several years. On the contrary, you'll need to continuously purchase Ziploc baggies, which can add up over time.
Switching to a bento box like a Bentgo box not only simplifies the lunch-packing process, but it also contributes to healthier eating habits and reduces our environmental footprint. While traditional lunch bags with Ziploc baggies might work fine for some, the numerous benefits of bento boxes make them a worthwhile consideration for any parent.
Tips for Successful Bentgo Box Prep
As much as we love the concept of packing Bentgo boxes, as busy parents, we also need to ensure that the process is as streamlined and efficient as possible.
Over the years, I've developed some tips and strategies to make Bentgo box prep a breeze.
One of the best time-saving strategies is to plan your Bentgo box meals for the week ahead of time. Knowing what you're going to pack each day eliminates the morning scramble
Make a list of all the components you need for each box and incorporate them into your grocery shopping list.
Whenever possible, prepare food items in batches. For example, if you're chopping fruits or vegetables, do it for the entire week, not just one day.
Similarly, if you're making mini muffins or sandwiches, make more than you need for one lunchbox and use the leftovers later in the week.
Never underestimate the power of last night's dinner. Many foods taste great the next day and can easily be repurposed into a Bentgo box lunch.
Leftover pasta can be added to a lunch box as a cold pasta salad, or grilled chicken can be cut into cubes and paired with some veggies and dip. Even leftover tacos with a little avocado make a fun lunch.
Keep Staples on Hand
Always have a stock of staples that can quickly be added to a Bentgo box. These could be things like hummus, cheese cubes, yogurt, nuts (if your child's school allows), or easy-to-eat fruits like berries and grapes.
Make it a Family Activity
Involve your kids in the prep process. Not only does this reduce your workload, but it also gives your children a sense of control and involvement in their meals and often times they like to make them. They can help wash fruits, use cookie cutters to make fun shapes, or arrange the food in the Bentgo box.
Rather than trying to do everything in the morning, I usually prepare the components of the Bentgo box the night before and simply assemble it in the morning. This significantly cuts down on morning stress and ensures that everything is ready to go.
Packing Bentgo boxes doesn't have to be a chore. With a little planning, preparation, and creativity, it can become a simple and enjoyable part of your routine.
And the reward is well worth it – healthy, balanced, and fun meals your kids will be excited to eat!
Where to Buy Bentgo Boxes
Finding the right Bentgo box for your child is easier than you might think. These versatile lunch boxes are available through various retailers and online platforms, giving you the flexibility to choose based on convenience and preference.
Here are a few places where you can find Bentgo boxes:
Bentgo's Official Website
The most straightforward place to buy Bentgo boxes is directly from their official website. Here you'll find the widest selection of styles, colors, and designs, plus any new products they release. The website often offers sales and discounts, so it's worth checking back regularly.
Amazon is another reliable source for Bentgo boxes. With the convenience of Prime shipping, this can be an excellent choice for those who need their Bentgo boxes quickly. Just be sure to check that you're buying from the official Bentgo store on Amazon to ensure you're getting a genuine product.
Several large retail chains carry Bentgo boxes. Check out stores like Target and Walmart. It's always a good idea to call ahead to make sure they have the specific model you're interested in, as stock can vary from store to store.
Some specialty children's stores and kitchenware shops also carry Bentgo boxes, so if you prefer to physically see and touch the product before buying, these can be great places to look.
Do you need an ice pack with Bentgo?
You don't need an ice pack, but some Bentgo boxes come with them if you would like to use one.
Does food stay warm in the Bentgo lunch box?
Standard Bentgo boxes are not designed to keep food warm. However, Bentgo does offer a specific product, the Bentgo Kids' Insulated Food Jar, which is designed to keep food warm for several hours.
What can I put in my lunch box instead of a sandwich?
Instead of a sandwich, you could pack alternatives like pasta salads, quinoa salads, chicken strips, vegetable sticks with hummus, sushi rolls, mini quiches, or even homemade pizza bites in your lunch box.
What should I pack in my bento box?
The beauty of a bento box is its versatility. You can pack a variety of foods including, but not limited to, fruits, veggies, sandwiches, wraps, dips, cheeses, crackers, and a small treat for a balanced and enjoyable meal.
Is a Bentgo box the same as a bento box?
Yes, they are the same. Bentgo is a popular brand of bento boxes.
Bentgo boxes have revolutionized the way we think about packing school lunches.
They provide an innovative solution to a common challenge many parents face - creating balanced, appealing, and varied meals that kids will enjoy. Thanks to their compartmental design, durability, and visual appeal, these lunch boxes are not just containers but tools to instill healthy eating habits in our little ones.
Through creative meal planning, we can use Bentgo boxes to serve a mix of familiar favorites and new foods, making lunchtime a delightful and educational experience.
From mini sandwiches to colorful fruits and veggies, the possibilities are endless. With some planning, meal prep strategies, and a dash of creativity, Bentgo box lunches can be both fun to prepare and a hit with your kids and get you out of your sandwich rut.
Remember to involve your kids in the process too. This gives them a sense of ownership over their meals and can make them more likely to eat their lunch.
It's also a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time together and educate them about nutrition in a hands-on manner.
Finding Bentgo boxes is easy, with multiple options online and in physical stores. Investing in these boxes is a step towards stress-free mornings and enjoyable lunchtimes for your kids.
In the end, Bentgo boxes are more than just lunch containers. They're a way to simplify your life, encourage healthy eating habits, and add a splash of fun and creativity to your child's lunchtime. So, embrace the Bentgo box revolution and turn lunch-packing from a daily challenge into an enjoyable activity
I hope this blog post has helped give you some easy bento box ideas and makes back-to-school planning a little easier for you and your kiddo!