Making bento lunches is not nearly as daunting or time consuming as one may think. I make Little One’s lunches as I’m making supper and it really takes little extra time at all.
A girl friend was over recently and when she saw Little One’s lunch for the following day (like I said, I make her lunches while I make supper), she made a face and said, “Oh. My. G-d. Chris, please tell me you do not do this every day. That is crazy!”
I don’t think she meant it in the “crazy awesome” way, but more like the “you’re out of your mind” crazy way.
We had a good giggle, as I’m okay with her opinion of my lunches for Little One. The only thing that matters to me is that my daughter is eating all her food groups and ENJOYS her lunches!
In all honesty, it doesn’t take much time at all to make bento lunches. They can be as fancy or as plain as you want them to be, but the bottom line is that your kid gets all of the food groups and a well-balanced lunch. Variety and portion sizes are key. For me, the fact that her lunchbox comes home EMPTY is good enough reason for me to continue making fun, healthy, well-balanced lunches for her. Most of the time, she gets just fruit as a dessert. On the odd occasion, I’ll add a little surprise like some Hello Panda treats or a homemade cookie.
Here are 5 Quick & Easy Bento Lunches for Kids
Hello Kitty Bento Lunch
- Rice – Leftovers from supper, but if I had to cook it, it’s only 14 min in my rice cooker.
- Omelet – 2 min to beat egg, cut up onion and meat, microwave for 1.5 min.
- apple – washed and sliced: less than 2 min to do.
- Ham – rolled up in less 30 sec.
- Sugar snap peas – arranged in seconds
- Grapes – arranged in seconds
- Hello Panda treats – put into a container in seconds
Total time to make this bento: 8 minutes
Blooming Flower Bento
- Mandarin orange – peeled & segmented: Less than 2 min.
- Pepperoni – sliced in less than 2 min.
- Carrots & Cucumbers – washed, peeled, & cut into flower shapes with vegetable cutters: Less than 3-4 min.
- Sugar snap peas, grapes, mini homemade chocolate chip cookies & yogurt added – less than 2 min.
Total time to make this bento: 9 minutes
- Banana – halved, face drawn on peel: less than 1 min.
- Homemade applesauce with raisins as a face: less than 1 min.
- Cheese cut in cubes: less than 1 min.
- Salami roll up: 30 sec.
- Celery sticks: less than 1 min.
- Crackers arranged: less than 1 min.
Total time to make this bento: Just under 6 minutes.
- Ham roll ups: less than 2 min.
- Broccoli “mini trees”: 2 min.
- Star-shaped carrots and cucumbers: 3-4 min to wash, peel and cut with vegetable cutters.
- Orange segments and grapes: Less than 2 min.
- Green onion garnish: less than 1 min.
- Cracked Wheat sandwich: Less than 1 min to cut bread with sandwich cutter. Less than 1 min to put pomegranate jelly on bread & assemble sandwich.
- Homemade Chocolate Chip cookie
Total time to make this bento: 9-10 minutes or less.
Petite Gourmet Gourmande Bento
- Homemade Puff pastry with onion/chive cream cheese filling – leftovers from supper: less than 1 min to put into bento box.
- Apple, cucumber and red pepper slices: less than 2 min to cut and arrange.
- Turkey slices – leftover from supper. Less than 1 min to arrange.
- Mandarin orange segments and grapes: Less than 2 min to arrange.
Total time to make this bento: 5 minutes.
Little One always takes a thermos filled with water to school with her meals.
There you have it! Bento lunches for kids are actually quick and easy to make. Little One really enjoys eating food from all the colours of the rainbow. Her latest favourites are red pepper spears, cucumber, sugar snap peas and homemade applesauce.
If you use the CuteZCute cutters, and are worried about waste, fear not! I am married to a frugal farmer and we are not allowed to waste anything in this house! I use the crusts and bread left over for making my own croutons, bread crumbs, stuffing, etc. Many of you have asked where I purchase my bento supplies. I get them (including the CuteZCute cutters) at BentoUSA.