Traditional recipes

Back-to-School Bento Boxes that Are Too Cute to Handle

Back-to-School Bento Boxes that Are Too Cute to Handle

These are almost too adorable to eat

We wish our parents had packed us lunches like these.

Back to school is coming up and we are all frantically preparing. We are thinking about school lunches and after school activities, and sometimes it is hard to get everything in order. We want to send our kids back to school with a bang, and we want their year to be spectacular too.

Clearly the parents who packed these adorable lunches knew a thing or two about helping their kids have an awesome day at school. Not only did they pack healthy and hearty meals to keep their kids going throughout the day, but they also made them look more like artwork than food. Props to these parents and their adorable bento lunch boxes. We kind of want to be their kids too.

Piggy Faces

First of all, that pudding looks delicious and we want it. And how cute are those piggy-faced sandwiches? We are very jealous of this lunch.


Pokémon Lunch Box

This kid is pretty lucky to have a mom who understands the importance of catching them all. These happy Pokémon are almost too cute to eat.


A Lunch Zoo

This lunch has everything we loved about going to the zoo in food form. Peanut butter sandwich lions, cookie elephants, and cheese giraffes make for one of the cutest lunches ever.


Puzzle Lunch

Not only is that sandwich cut into puzzle shapes, but it also has adorable flowers to top it off. Not to mention that this lunch includes fruits and veggies for extra nutrition. You go, parental unit!


Best Bento Boxes for Kids School Lunch

Best Bento Boxes for Kids School Lunch &ndash an expert review of our favorite tried-and-true lunch boxes! I tested out the top 9 bento boxes to help you find the perfect lunch box for your toddler, preschooler or big kids that can go anywhere they go &ndash school, preschool, a school pod, have lunch at home, a playdate or a fun outing. Plus, there are great options at all price points!

Watch How to Make Cute Bento

Cute animal sandwich bento made with cheese, ham, nori. Be creative and make different sandwiches to go with different animal characters!

Simple Bento Making Tools

When I first started to make this sandwich bento, I tried to see if I can avoid spending money on bento making tools such as animal cookie cutter and nori punchers . If you’re wondering what nori puncher is, it’s a little tool to create a facial expression using a sheet of nori seaweed. Having various nori punchers help create different fun faces.

I attempted to make my own handmade nori facial expression and hand-cut animal shape…but to be honest they didn’t look nice at all despite my effort. After I purchased a few bento tools, it was much easier and faster to make cute characters. If you plan to make character bentos in the future, I think the following tools are worth investing.

Other Homemade Bento Ideas:

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Best for Kids: Bentgo Children's Lunch Box

Rubber sides are extra durable

Made with BPA-free plastic

Slightly heavier than other models

Exterior scratches pretty easily

Kids will love this colorful bento box. It has five compartments that are portioned for a child’s appetite​ and is designed for kids aged three to seven, but it would also make a great snack container for adults.

This bento box has rubber-coated edges and internal hinges that help make it drop-proof and sturdy enough for the most active kids. The box is leakproof and has two kid-friendly latches that make it easy for small hands to open and close.

The removable compartment tray is microwave- and dishwasher-safe, while the outer shell should be hand washed to preserve the seal. This includes a booklet with 30 kid-friendly recipes and meal ideas. It's available in green, purple, or blue, and there are also options with bright colors and multiple fun prints to suit any taste.

Materials: BPA-free plastic | Compartments: 5 | Size: 20 ounces

“How to Get Your Lunchbox Prep Really Organized… and Fast

Here are a few simple but life-changin tools that I use to organize my kitchen, pantry, and overall lunchbox making process.

1. Add color-coded bins to your pantry

When attempting to involve the kids in lunch packing (which realistically doesn’t happen every single day, but when it does it’s always nice) it is WAY easier to say, “Ok, now go pick a snack from the green bin.” than it is just pointing them toward the shelf.

By having colored bins set up for different types of snacks it’s very easy for kids, AND FOR YOU, to go grab a snack cracker or fruit from it’s designated bin. (We also use them in the fridge for a bit more organization.)

2. While we’re at it, you can color-code your kids’ lunch boxes.

There are a lot of really nice and affordable BPA free bento-style lunchboxes available on amazon. I like having color-coded lunchboxes for the kiddos for two reasons.

  1. It makes for a lot less confusion when you hit that rushed time of the morning and I can just holler out, “Jade grab the green box!”
  2. Once again, giving kids options makes them feel happy, involved, and important. So the days they are helping they get to pick their lid color.

3. Organize the rest of your pantry in clear plastic containers.

I like having my pantry crazy organized. We go through a lot of food in my house, and when I say a lot I’m sure if you saw the amount of food the 4 of us alone purchase and consume every month you’d be astounded!

With all that food quickly coming in and out everything needs to have a place or it gets lost in the shuffle. Behind my color-coded bins of snacks that the kids can pick, there are clear plastic bins that hold the staples in an easy to see and access place.

Having an organized pantry makes the whole cooking and preparation process exponentially easier.”

Japanese Condiments for Bento Menu

Finally, the rice seasonings and Japanese condiments often added to a bento box are Umeboshi, Furikake rice seasoning, and pickled veggies. Umeboshi are particularly good as it has an antiseptic effect. So too has sushi ginger. Remember that we have to make sure the Obento does not go off easily. These Japanese condiments are not just adding colour or filling the gap, but also have an important job in the bento box.

If you do not access to real Umeboshi, which is salted plum, I shared fake rhubarb Umeboshi in a previous post. They are seriously just like Umeboshi. I could not believe it myself, and rhubarb, I believe is easily available world wide(?)

You can buy Furikake in packets but also it can be homemade. If you do not have access to the Furikake rice seasoning packet, look at my recipe. Similar to Furikake, salmon Soboro is great to eat with plain rice.

I would also add Shibazuke by Just one cookbook. Soon I can make it because I am growing one of the ingredients. I would like to share this in the blog in the future

Hope you enjoyed this post, and now have a better understanding of how Japanese people create delicious, nutritious and eye catching Obento. If you like the post or have any questions, please leave comments below.

Also don&rsquot forget to follow me on Youtube, Pinterest, Facebook , Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest happenings on Chopstick Chronicles. Don&rsquot forget to use the hashtag #ChopstickChronicles so I can see your wonderful creations!

9 Bento Boxes and Other Ways to Pack Your Lunch in the 21st Century

You know how you used to pack your lunch box every day, emblazoned with your favorite action figure, Little Pony, or Sailor Moon character? Maybe you picked one out during back-to-school shopping every year, and you carried it with pride as it kept your PB&J safe and sound? And then you grew up, and that pure beautiful sort of joy left your life? And now sometimes you eat sad $12 salads out of the plastic containers they came in because who has time to pack lunch with all of these emails coming in?

Well, no more. It's time to go back to a place of lunchtime joy, of carrying your (thoughtfully prepared) lunch in something a little more elegant than a wrinkly plastic bag. We've rounded up some of the best lunch sacks and bento boxes on the market. They're functional and stylish, too, because everyone secretly wants to be the coolest kid in the cafeteria.

Carry your soup in style. Photo: Courtesy of Objects of Use

These look like a cross between 2016 Scandinavian chic and Little House on the Prairie quaint. And bonus: you can cook and heat food in them—on the stovetop—which means one less pot for you to clean.

18 Cute Lunch Boxes to Zhuzh Up Your Sad Lil Lunch

Mmkay, I get it. Those plastic bags you got from the grocery store are easy to grab and throw your lunch in, especially when you're rushing out of the house in the morning, but, it certainly ain't cute, honey.

A pretty adult lunch box would look much better on your arm. Nope, I'm not talking about the kiddie ones from your elementary school days. (Although, those were adorable too.) There are tons of new, sophisticated versions to bring to work, and they'll never leave you feeling like a coworker is giving you and your lunch the side-eye.

Picture a bag that's just as pretty as your new purse, except it's got compartments inside for utensils, space to store dressings, and insulated panels to keep everything chilled. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about in the roundup below.

Got a bunch of items that you wanna keep separated? This shiny box comes with three compartments to keep everything in their place.

You'll find a few hidden pockets inside this roomy option. It also has a messenger strap, so you can throw it over your shoulders and keep your hands free to carry that iced coffee.

Remember the rolled up brown paper bags? This one has the same vibe, but is def prettier AND washable.

This foil-insulated bag is perfect for those who love prints. The gold-tone buckle also adds some sparkle.

If you're already spending hours meal prepping on Sundays, you might as well have somewhere beautiful to store those delicious lunches. This sunflower painted baby checks all of the boxes.

Need more than one container? This box comes with two trays that can easily stack on top of each other. And, it's got a handy strap to help you avoid spills.

It doesn't get more elegant than this leather bag that comes with microwavable glass containers, utensils, and fancy reusable napkins.

Need to bring breakfast and lunch with ya? This spacious bag will hold smoothies, salads, snacks, and more.

This one has a sweet message (save room for dessert) printed on the front. And how could you say no to the gorge blush color?

Lunch box round up: we’ve put together pros and cons of the best lunch boxes on the market

A BIT like buying the perfect pram, nappy bag or car, getting the lunch box right makes a world of difference to day to day life. Here are our top picks.

How to make healthy lunch box muffins.

How to make healthy lunch box muffins

Back to school 2018: lunch box ideas.

HARD pressed picking the best lunch boxes for the kids to go back to school?

We’ve weighed up the pros and cons of some of the best lunch boxes on the market.

LunchBots — RRP Duo from $34.95

Pros: Stainless steel is felt to be a healthier, sturdier lunch box material than plastic. The LunchBot is lightweight and marketed to “last a lifetime” with proper care. You can get insulated LunchBots to pack a hot lunch or leak proof versions to pack things like yoghurt and dips.

Cons: Not all of the lunch boxes are leak-proof, so choose carefully. The lunch boxes have a relatively small capacity, so additional snack boxes will most likely be required.

Erica, mum to one toddler, say, “LunchBot is a huge hit with Mr 2. I pack my son’s food all separated into each little compartment, like a mini lunch buffet. Not only do I avoid missing plastic container lids and tubs, but the stainless steel LunchBot is much easier and quicker to clean. Win-win.”

RRP Maxi6 from $44.95.

Pros: The Munchbox is similar to the Yumbox, but it has a deeper capacity so suits older kids or kids with a bigger appetite. The Munchbox Maxi holds a full sandwich — with crusts. If you have a newer Munchbox, you can put whole thing into the top-rack of the dishwasher for easy cleaning. A bonus of the Munchbox 6 is that it will keep both the four-compartment and six-compartments leak-proof, making it the only interchangeable lunch box on the market.

Cons: Apart from the earlier lunch boxes being hand wash only, we haven’t heard of any cons for this range.

Claire, mum to three, has been using Munchboxes for over a year. She says, “These lunch boxes are so easy to pack. The kids give them a beating, but they stay leak-proof and we haven’t broken one yet.”

Smash Nude Food Movers

RRP from $4.

Pros: There’s a huge range of BPA-free plastic Nude Food Movers to choose from, so you can pick and choose the combination to suit your kids. You can buy this range in most Coles supermarkets, making it easy to add to your collection as you need. It’s a lot cheaper than many lunch box options too. While the lunch boxes aren’t leak-proof, the screw-lid snack tubes are. Most of the range is easy for young children to open and close.

Cons: The designs can be bulky and difficult to find an insulated bag for (they do make bags that fit the products though). If your child has lots of different combinations, the washing up mounts up. The range can go into the dishwasher, but it’s quite hard to fit the lunch boxes so they clean well.

Dຜor Pumped Duo3 Lunch Box and Drink Bottle — RRP $6.50

Pros: Cheap and easy to find at the supermarket, this is an old-school lunch box that gets the job done. I use this lunch box for my kids when I can’t be bothered packing all the little snacks and nibbles that a bento box requires. These boxes fit a sandwich or wrap, two pieces of fruit and a muesli bar for an easy lunch that the kids enjoy. I freeze the drink bottle overnight so it keeps the lunch cool and fresh for the day.

Cons: Not rubbish-free. Not leak-proof. The drink bottle can make the lunch box moist, so I tend to put it into a plastic zip-lock bag before adding to the lunch box. This lunch box is quite bulky for packing in the school bag.

RRP from $116.95.

Pros: Provided your child doesn’t lose it, this stainless-steel lunch box set should be durable enough to last them through school. Each kit includes a bento-style stainless steel lunch box, two leak-proof containers with silicone lids, cute magnets to personalise the lunch box, and a carry bag. You can also buy items individually to choose your best combination. The lunch boxes are easy to manage and have a large capacity. The carry bag has extra pockets for a spare piece of fruit. You can put the lunch box straight into the dishwasher.

Cons: Expensive, especially when you consider that most kids will probably lose a lunch box at least once a year. The lunch boxes are heavy for little kids once they are packed for the day.

Little Lunch Box Co — RRP $42.95

P ros: This company was started by an Aussie mum. Little Lunch Box Co boxes are a BPA-free plastic bento-style lunch box with a large front clip that is suitable for small hands to manage. There are stacks of really cute designs that the kids will enjoy. A Bento Three would be good if you want to pack sandwiches, and the Five would work well for a tapas-style lunch. The lunch boxes are leak-proof which is perfect for including yoghurts, dips and frozen fruit.

Cons: Like many of the bento options, these lunch boxes are expensive. It’s also recommended that this lunch box is hand washed, rather than washed in the dishwasher.

Kylie from Kidgredients says, “Washing by hand is the bane of my life, so this is a big issue for me!”

RRP $15.

Pros: A good price for a large capacity bento box that will fit recess and lunch in neatly. You can move the compartments around to suit in this box so you can fit in whole fruit or larger sandwiches or wraps. There’s a leak-proof pot included that could be used for any wet ingredients, such as melon or dips.

Cons: The compartments aren’t spill-proof, so handle with care. It’s a big lunch box and quite bulky. This range isn’t the most durable, but for the price you get a reasonably quality that should last a few terms.

Lou, mum of two girls, uses one of these lunch boxes. She says, “We use a Yumbox for school time, but the Sistema Bento is a good back-up lunch box. I pack snacks for the days the girls go straight from school to dance.”

Tupperware Large Divided Lunch Box

RRP $19.

Pros: When you buy Tupperware, you know you are getting a quality brand. This is a simple lunch box that fits plenty of food in for lunch (although older kids may need a separate snack box for recess). The lunch box is spill-proof and easy to clean in the top-rack of the dishwasher.

Cons: The old Tupperware sandwich keeper was an all-in-one unit. This box has a separate lid, which is can be tricky for younger kids to operate. It sticks on tight! You can’t fit a whole piece of fruit in this lunch box.

Jenny, mum to two girls, says, “I loved the old sandwich-keepers, but this new version is too hard for my five-year-old to operate. I use it to keep my sewing paraphernalia in …”

RRP $39.95.

Pros: The king of bento-style lunch boxes, the Yumbox original lunch box is made for kids aged 0-10 years and the large clip is a breeze for most kids to open and close. The Yumbox has pictures on the inserts that encourage us to pack healthy meals. The boxes are leak-proof, dishwasher safe and BPA free.

Cons: The compartments can be fiddly to fill and are quite shallow. It’s a pain to dry as it has so many nooks and crannies. The front clip has broken on all three of my children’s Yumboxes, although Mini Hippo sent us extra clips free of charge.

Kylie, mum of three, is a fan. “YumBox is amazing. It shows you what to pack so your brain is not required when doing lunches! You do need to cut the crusts off a sarnie but that’s fine because they don’t eat them anyway …”

Smash Slimline Bento Box

RRP $10.

Pros: The price of these bento boxes needs to be mentioned as they are less than a third of the price of other bento-style boxes on the market. You can purchase this bento at the supermarket (Coles, Kmart and Big W all stock them). The slimline style means the lunch box packs well into the school bag. I’ve purchased a few of these bento boxes to use for afternoon snacks for the kids and they travel really well.

Cons: While the overall box is spill-proof, individual compartments are not, so you can’t pack sauces, yoghurts, dips or wet fruits like melon. The lunch boxes are generally too long for most insulated bags. It’s a smaller lunch box, so you might need to pack two to feed a hungry kid.

15 Best Kids' Lunch Boxes of 2021

These lunch containers are so convenient for home or school.

This school year might be looking a little different, but packing your kids' lunches is something most parents will have to face at some point in the near future. Instead of a brown paper bag, opt for one of these cute kids' lunch boxes this back-to-school season, whether they're heading into the yard for a picnic or bringing lunch to school.

Many of these lunch bags, boxes, and totes were also top performers when tested by the Good Housekeeping Institute's Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab. Just don't be surprised when you find yourself wanting to "borrow" their new bag. Here are the best kids' lunch boxes:

Thanks to a freezable gel liner, this was the only bag to stay below 40°F (a safety benchmark for perishables) for 5 1/2 hours in our test. It's super spacious, comes with a long strap for easy carrying, and is available in dozens of fun colors and patterns. We recently tested PackIt's Everyday Lunch Box Cooler, too, which is a new, cubed shape, perfect for stocking up with goods for picnics. Both fold up for storage &ndash and taking up minimal room in your freezer!

  • Built in gel liner that can be frozen to keep foods cold for hours
  • Folds up for storage

Bento boxes are great for kids because they get a little taste of everything with various lunch and snack portions. It only has one latch, so little hands can open their lunch box with ease. Plus, these lunch boxes are available in a variety of different colors.

These Bentgo lunch bags were specifically designed to fit an assortment of bento boxes (but you could still use 'em separately!). It's insulated, and it claims to keep food warm or cold for up to four hours. There's even an interior mesh pocket and an exterior pocket, too.

The Flatbox is a soft-sided lunch bag with a comfortable handle on top. When you unzip the sides and lay it flat, it becomes a placemat, making it a great companion at picnics and other venues with messy surfaces (field trips!). It's also machine washable.

This five-piece set is the ultimate lunch box starter kit &mdash it comes with a lunch bag, food box, reusable ice pack, water bottle, and even a mini white board so you can leave him a new note each day. If your kid isn't into race cars, these lunch box sets also come in other patterns.

The Mackenzie bag is super spacious and the rigid walls keep delicate foods from getting crushed. There are zippered pockets inside and out, and its double zipper won't come open if shaken or dropped. Plus, you can get it customized with your little one's name!

This simple and affordable Thermos lunch box comes in 35 different variations based on your kids' favorite movie and TV-show characters. Some designs even come in different forms, like one actually shaped like a police car. They zip open and closed to reveal one main compartment to stash lunch and snacks.

The Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote from Built is super lightweight, plus the polyester and neoprene material is flexible enough to fold up for storage after lunch. Careful with liquids, though, as this bag leaked in our testing.

The Flip-Top was one of the only bags we tested that proved totally leak-proof and stain-resistant. It didn't break when dropped and earned perfect scores for ease of packing.

This lightweight lunch box has a smooth plastic interior that lets you clean up sticky spills easily. Plus, it won't stain, even if you leave grape juice on it overnight.

The Planet Box Shuttle lunch carrier might be pricey, but it comes in fun themes, like this unicorn one. The set includes the stainless steel lunchbox, a cylindrical container for sauces, decorative magnets for the top of the box, and a colorful carrying case.

This set is totally leak-proof and freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe, making it a smart option for kids who love leftovers for lunch. It comes with three colorful plastic containers that snap onto an ice pack: The largest holds a sandwich and the smallest is ideal for snacks.

  • Leak-proof and freezer-proof
  • Individual containers can be used on tray or separately
  • Microwave- and dishwasher-safe

This bento box style lunch box from OmieBox is insulated and comes with a removable leak-proof container for liquids. The rectangular compartments come with dividers that you can use with or without to make larger or smaller.

The fun animal exterior of this insulated backpack makes it even more lovable. The interior is a smooth plastic, so it's easy to hand-clean. It also comes in Allen Alligator, Delancey Doggie, and Lafayette Ladybug.

The Bentology lunch bag set is a great pick for kids who like to customize their lunch. The separate plastic containers mean your child can eat various snacks with their lunch!