6 Tips For Packing A Bento Lunch Box For School #RocktheLunchbox

Bento Lunch Box Packing Tips #RocktheLunchbox-I'm Not the Nanny

Big thanks to the Rock the Lunchbox for sending me coupons and nifty lunch containers. Check out my tips and enter the giveaway for free product coupons (for organic foods) and awesome lunch packing containers.

In just a few days, my lunch packing sabbatical ends. But I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get back to packing school lunches. I love seeing all the cute cartoon characters and animal shaped foods that other parents make for their kids’ bento lunches. Honestly, I’m just too tired and lazy to that myself. The best I can do is to buy dinosaur sandwich cutters and hardboiled egg molds.  You won’t find any tips for making bunny apples or making flowers out of fruit.

Here are my practical tips for packing a bento lunch box for school–or any kind of lunch container:

1. Ask your kids to make a list of their favorite lunch foods.  If they can’t write yet, help them write a list or ask them to draw pictures. We keep the list on our fridge. My husband and I refer to it when we feel stuck on what to pack. We know that at the very least, they’ll eat something from that list.

Sophia's Lunch List #RocktheLunchbox-I'm Not the Nanny

Bonus tip: ask your child to update the list every 2-3 months. That’s how we found out my daughter no longer liked Nutella sandwiches. Instead she prefers peanut butter and honey.

2. Think small. As in finger foods, that is. The benefits of packing lunch in a bento box are the compartments. Mini versions of foods not only look cuter, but they’re more appealing to kids. Try bite-sized chunks of chicken, baby cut carrots (a staple in our lunch repertoire), snack-sized cheese, and sandwiches cut into triangles or squares.

Laptop Lunchbox Bento-Ware Close-up #RocktheLunchbox-I'm Not the Nanny

Brown rice with furikake (Japanese rice topping)

3. Use a fun bento lunch box. I think I get more excited about cool bento containers than my kids do. They make packing lunches more fun. With the different compartments, I’m less likely to overpack or underpack their lunches. Less waste and no hungry kids. Plus a box like Laptop Lunches Bento-Ware (pictured above) can save you money. Instead of purchasing individual snack sized bags, just buy the regular size and fill up a compartment.

READ MORE: 12 Bento Boxes for Back-to-School

4. Pack the rainbow. This rule applies to every meal, not just lunches. The more visually appealing the lunch is, the more our kids (and we) will eat. I usually pack the protein or main course first. My kids love pasta, chicken, salami or hummus–which aren’t usually very colorful. Then I add color with fruit (cut up, of course) and vegetables (sugar snap peas or edamame). Sometimes I luck out and find multicolored carrots at the grocery store. While they’re not already cut, I just spend about 10 minutes and prep a week’s worth of carrot sticks.

6 Tips For Packing Bento Lunch Box for School #RocktheLunchbox-I'm Not the Nanny
(Fruit salad, Nutella sandwich on whole wheat, steamed edamame, Annie’s Cheddar Snack Mix, Honest Kids Berry Berry Good Lemonade)

5. Leftovers are your friend. Seriously. Leftover ravioli goes right into the bento box after dinner. In the morning I add the fruit, veggies, yogurt and whatever I need to round out their lunch. Other lunch friendly lunches are chicken tenders, fried rice, meatballs, spaghetti, and baked potatoes. I’ve even been known to stick broccoli florets in their lunches.

6. Let your kids help pack their lunch. It might feel like more work that packing the bento yourself, but consider it training. Eventually they’ll be able to do all the work! Teach them how to pack a rainbow and give them selection to choose from. You’ll teach them how to make healthy choices. If your kids are young, let them add the cut fruit or vegetables to their container. Older kids can make and cut sandwiches, etc.

READ MORE: 7 Fun Bento Lunch Box Supplies Under $10

Need Lunch Box Ideas?

#RocktheLunchbox in Laptop Lunches Bento-Ware-I'm Not the Nanny
(Brown rice with furikake topping, carrots, sugar snap peas, blueberries, Stonyfield YoKids Squeeze Strawberry, Organic Valley Cheddar Cheese)

If you’re stumped on what to pack, head over to Rock the Lunchbox website for ideas featuring Honest Kids, Organic Valley, Annie’s, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, and Applegate. You can even submit your photos! While you’re there, download coupons from those companies to help fill your child’s lunchbox with healthy, organic foods.


I received a Rock the Lunchbox kit. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Rachée Fagg August 20, 2014
  2. bamauthor August 20, 2014
  3. Kimberly Bauer August 20, 2014
  4. Jennifer August 20, 2014
  5. kristie August 20, 2014
  6. Jannie August 20, 2014
  7. Nell August 20, 2014
  8. Kelly D August 20, 2014
  9. Gina Badalaty August 20, 2014
  10. heather August 21, 2014
  11. Nina August 21, 2014
  12. Sheila B August 21, 2014
  13. @MommyWorksALot August 21, 2014
  14. adrienne August 22, 2014
  15. tiffany August 22, 2014
  16. Sharelle D. Lowery August 22, 2014
  17. Erin Ellis August 22, 2014
  18. latanya August 23, 2014
  19. Lee Ann Kaplan August 24, 2014
  20. Noreen August 24, 2014
  21. Calli August 24, 2014
  22. Sandy Gram August 25, 2014
  23. Francine Speaker August 25, 2014
  24. mermont84 August 25, 2014
  25. Melissa M August 26, 2014
  26. Aubrey August 28, 2015
  27. news arema twitter November 7, 2015