When my daughter started school, I was eager to pack her fun lunches to brighten up her long school day. There are tons of resources out there, but I’d thought I’d throw together a list of what I consider the essentials of Bento lunch making. I am certainly not an expert, just a Mom having fun making sweet lunches for her daughter 🙂
I love these bento boxes, but any box will do. (I have many Sistema boxes that I picked up for a good price at TJ Maxx.) These boxes latch nicely, and they come in a wide variety of cute colors designs. The only drawback to the boxes pictured above, is they are hand wash only.
*Some things to look for when buying bento boxes: look for BPA free. Make sure the latch is easy for your child to open and close.
Food cups are great for separating your child’s food…keep grapes packed tightly in a cup and away from the meats and cheeses, etc… I prefer the silicone cups over the paper ones because they hold up much better.
These little condiment cups are invaluable, not to mention adorable! I pack one in my daughter’s lunch almost every day. They are easy to open/close and they haven’t spilled on her – yet!, (fingers crossed) I have used them to fill up with ketchup, hummus, ranch dressing, cupcake sprinkles, and granola.
These egg molds and sandwich shapers are fun, but certainly not necessary. The egg molds work nicely and are a fun way to present a hard boiled egg to your child. The sandwich shapers create adorable little bite-size sandwiches. They are easy to use, but be warned, they do waste a lot of the excess bread, meat, or cheese. I always save my meat and cheese for scrambled eggs and feed the little bits of bread scraps to the birds.
Deco Cutters or any variety of cookie cutters are used to shape sandwiches or meats and cheeses into fun shapes. They’re cheap and can be picked up anywhere.
Food picks are a great way to dress up your child’s lunch. They come in a wide variety of girl and boy friendly designs.
Here are some of the ways to use food picks:
- layer fruits, veggies, cheese or meats on the picks
- decorate the tops of sandwiches
- Your child can use them as a utensil to pick up food with.
Baran food sheets are decorative, as well as useful. Much like food cups, these are used to divide food. These come in decorative sheets of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or you can find silicone versions.
Although I don’t use them as often, I keep food markers on hand to decorate sandwiches with every now and then.
I use sprinkles pretty often as a fun way for my daughter to decorate her own yogurt. I throw a variety of sprinkles into a condiment cup and store them beside her yogurt.
It’s pretty exciting to open up a box full of Bento supplies! My Aunt sent me this box full from California! 🙂
*Not listed, but very useful: plastic utensils. My favorite are the plastic kind that break down into two parts for easy packing, such as these from Sistema. And also, don’t forget to pick up some blue ices to keep your child’s lunch cold.
This was my son’s snack at home. I would never pack yogurt in a silicone cup like this to send to school with my daughter…it’d be a huge mess
My kids love these homemade granola bars, and they’re a fun addition to a bento lunch. Recipe here
Almost all of my supplies were purchased online at BENTO USA