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20 Great Lunch Box Ideas for Kids

Published on: September 10, 2011

Pirate bento boxArrr, Matey!

If you've got a young swashbuckler at home that would give anything to trade in his schoolwork for an eye patch, consider making up a special pirate bento box lunch, like this one shown on Bento Lunch.

For this pirate-y fun meal, mama Shannon made a taco muffin (recipe included in the post) with white cheddar cheese on top for the pirate's face, along with an orange cheddar bandanna. The pirate's one good eye is made with icing and his eye patch, mustache and mouth are all made out of cucumber. Throw in some veggies and fruits and you've got a well-balanced lunch that's fit to sail the seven seas!


Fish sandwich lunchSwimming with the Fishes

In honor of Boy's Day (A Japanese holiday also known as Children's Day that takes place on May 5), mama Susan of Hawaii's Bento Box Cookbook made her son these adorable fish sandwiches to resemble carp.

For this cute and quick lunch, she simply used a sandwich with an oat bran hamburger bun, mozzarella and olives for the eyes, American cheese for the gills and heart-shaped carrots for the tails. And for a colorful final touch, the lunch includes a couple of strawberries and a cherry tomato that's straight from the garden. Also don't miss the lunch-time lion included in this post -- you'll be wanting to make it in no time!


Rice elephant bentoSuper Nice Rice

Bento Monsters features this gorgeous bento box lunch with a super cute rice elephant that we couldn't resist sharing!

Made using a rice coloring packet, this edible little elephant has a light purple color and features what we believe to be nori for its eyes and trunk detail, with white cheese cut-outs on the ears. Be sure to check out the rest of this post for more great photography and a quick and easy snack idea.


Hungry caterpillar muffin tin lunchA Very Hungry Caterpillar

Based on the much-loved, classic children's book by Eric Carle, this muffin tin lunch pays homage to everyone's favorite hungry caterpillar -- and his infamous lunch!

Featured on Sugary Flower, this cool muffin tin lunch was made with the exact same treats that the very hungry caterpillar munched his way through -- including an apple, pears, strawberries, plums, oranges, a tummy ache-inducing feast and one bright big green (spinach) leaf. And not to mention, the caterpillar, himself, is included as a rice cracker cut-out. Such a neat idea for a fun, creative lunch!


Ladybug bentoLadybugs for Lunch

We tend to have an infinite love for ladybugs and this idea from Hawaii's Bento Box Cookbook is no exception.

Mama Susan made an easy ham and cheese sandwich and transformed it into this lovely little ladybug by simply using a cookie cutter, cheddar cheese on top and buggy icing eyes. Also included on this lunch menu are mandarin oranges and seedless grapes. We must say -- this is one meal that we wouldn't mind occasionally having ourselves!


Pencil bentoBack-to-School Bento

Send your little one back to school in style this year with a cool school-themed bento box lunch, like this one featured on Bento-logy.

Mama Caren made this neat "pencil" out of a stacked turkey sandwich with cheddar and provolone cheese on top. The eraser is a pink marshmallow and the tip of the pencil has been colored in with food-safe black marker. And to finish off this cool school meal, there's a couple of Hershey's Kisses from mom, along with carrots and ranch dip and some delicious grapes.


Animal muffin tin lunchDown on the Farm

Once again inspired by a fun children's book, Sugary Flower made this muffin tin lunch for her daughter based on one of her favorite reads -- Chicken, Pig, Cow Horse Around by Ruth Ohi.

Included in this farm-tastic lunch are the main characters: Chicken (made with edible marker and cheese), Cow (edible marker and a rice cracker), Pig (rice cracker, edible marker and ham -- naturally!) and Horse (edible marker and a jam sandwich). There's also a couple grapes thrown in, along with an Easter egg goldfish. All in all, a perfect lunch for the tots that know and love this book dearly!


Angry birds bentoFor the Birds

As everyone knows, Angry Birds has been all the rage in the past couple years... So we weren't surprised to see this adorable Angry Birds bento box featured on Bento-logy.

The Angry Bird characters are sitting upon a stacked sandwich and are made using dyed provolone cheese, cheddar, icing eyes and cucumber peel. And we'll be the first to say it -- they look almost exactly like the actual characters! Also included in this cool bento box lunch are tomato and cucumber slices, blackberries and raspberries and couple Hershey's Kisses just from mom. (We have no doubt that this meal probably caused a little bit of envy at the school lunch table!)


Monkey muffin tin lunchMonkey Business

Muffin Tin Mom features this fun idea for making a "5 Little Monkeys" numbers and counting-themed lunch -- and we like it so much, that this is actually the second time that we've featured it.

But regardless of our love for lunch box learning, this meal is a hands-down top pick for little ones. (They can count their way through lunch, all while singing the well-known numbers rhyme!) This muffin tin includes peanut butter roll-up and broccoli "trees," banana slices, five cheese cubes on food picks, baby carrot "alligator teeth," sprinkles hidden in monkey containers and a monkey face made with an orange, fruit leather and apple slices.


Teddy bears bentoTeddy Bear Picnic

Talk about playing with your food! We absolutely love this adorable teddy bear bento box lunch featured on Bento Monsters.

Made using mini sausages, food picks and what we assume is cheese and nori, these darling little bears are sure to be a complete hit with your tots. Also included in this bento box are mini sealed sandwiches and meatballs. Be sure to check out the rest of the Bento Monsters' website -- there are oodles of neat lunch ideas that are sure to help inspire your own bento box adventures.


Bad to the bone muffin tin lunchBad to the Bone

Got a wild child on your hands? Maybe this "bad to the bone" muffin tin lunch is exactly what they need!

Featured on Cookie Cutter Lunch, this neat muffin tin meal includes a bone-shaped sammy, pretzels, Scooby graham cracker snacks, bone-shaped cucumbers and mini watermelon bones. Like we said -- totally bad to the bone!


Elephant bento Elephant Love

We could not resist sharing this fantastic elephant bento box lunch featured over on Bento Lunch. Tiny edible elephants -- um, yes, please!

This excellent elephant meal offers chicken salad tortilla roll-ups, plenty of yummy fruits and carrots, animal crackers and a cheese-y elephant with a bright blue icing eye for a nice finished touch. Too cute!


Bunny muffin tin lunchBunny Bounty

Though Muffin Tin Mom made this cute lunch with an April theme for Easter, we think it's one that will go down as a top choice among young bunny lovers for any time of the year.

This muffin tin lunch includes carrot sticks, mozzarella cheese circles, cheddar bunnies, gummy treats, bunny-shaped apple slices and a simple, yet bunny fabulous ham and cheese sandwich. Absolutely perfect for that special little somebunny in your life!


Train bentoCrazy about Trains

Got a pint-sized choo choo lover at home? Consider making your own train-themed bento box lunch like this one shown on Bento Lunch.

In honor of Meatless Monday (though they celebrated on a Tuesday), mama Shannon made her little train fanatic this super cute veggie-friendly lunch. The bento box includes a mini banana muffin, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, a sliced hard-boiled egg and a cream cheese and strawberry jam mini pita sammy... With a cheese train on top to boot!


whale muffin tin lunchWhale of a Lunch

And yet another lunch-time gem from Sugary Flower, we can't get enough of this "Baby Beluga" themed muffin tin lunch!

Centered around the famous children's song, this super cool muffin tin meal features a fish stick, yogurt with edible glitter, a veggie beluga sandwich, apple dolphin slices with sprinkle eyes, pineapple slices and a moon with stars made out of cheese.

Now we just want to know -- where was this lunch idea when we were growing up?


Sunshine bentoWhen You Need a Little Sunshine

Bent On Better Lunches features this fantastic idea for a "You are my sunshine" bento box lunch. (How sweet is that?)

Perfect for a gloomy day, we love this lunch's bright and warm sunny colors and the fun sun burst shapes included. This bento box features sunshine-shaped quesadillas, cheddar suns, Sun Chips, raisins, an orange, honey-roasted peanuts and Teddy Grahams.

How's that for bringing in a little sunshine?


Monster bentoLittle Monsters

This Domo-kun bento box lunch featured on Happy Little Bento is absolutely too cool not to share.

Well-known as the official mascot of Japan's NHK television station, Domo-kun is known for being a small, brown, open-mouthed monster. (We also love it because it reminds us of a Little Big Planet character.) The look-alike sammy was made using rye bread with grapes for eyes, mozzarella cheese for the teeth and a plum for the mouth. Also included in this awesome bento box: peaches, nectarines, grapes, raspberries, snap peas, broccoli and carrots. Pretty darn cute if you ask us!


Under the sea muffin tin lunchMaritime Adventures

If your little one loves all things when it comes to life in the sea, consider making an "under the sea" muffin tin lunch like this one shown on Bent On Better Lunches.

Included in this fun maritime meal: ramen "waves," a turkey "octodog," canteloupe starfish, a clownfish gummy on a bed of sea urchins (sliced grapes) and "baby" goldfish that are topped with a reigning cheddar "mama" fish. Perfect for some seafaring fun with your little one and overall, an excellent way to start a conversation about our friends that live under the sea.


Fox bentoFeelin' Foxy

Bento Lunch's mama Shannon explains that she made this foxy bento box meal for her kids before a long road trip when stopping for lunch wasn't going to be an option.

Though her daughter thought it looked more like a cat and her son thought it resembled a chihuahua (too funny), we agree that it looks like a fox -- though it could go either way. (Throw on a couple of whiskers and you'd be in business for a kitty!) Included in this "on the road" bento box lunch: strawberry yogurt, cantaloupe and a ham and cheese sandwich on a multigrain round, topped with a fox face made with strawberry ears, white cheddar eyes and blueberry fruit leather for the nose, mouth and pupils.


Frog prince muffin tin lunchFroggie Love

As the old saying goes, "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince!"

Needles to say, we love this "frog prince" muffin tin lunch featured on Cookie Cutter Lunch.

Included in this froggie fun muffin tin meal: Sun Chips, Hershey's Kisses (gotta have those kisses for your prince), carrot sticks with ranch, grapes, crown-shaped cheese slices and a frog-shaped sandwich with icing eyes and fruit leather for the crown and mouth. We can't get enough of that little crown -- the fruit leather gives it that nice shiny touch and from the picture, it almost looks bedazzled. And of course, by all means, it's certainly fit for a prince.

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