With school back in session after break, you might be breathing a sigh of relief. Having the kids home for two weeks straight is hard!
Although, admittedly, I miss them the second they’re gone.
But what’s even harder for me after they go back to school – in August or January – is the monotony that comes with making lunch. I always tend to fall into a rut when it comes to lunch and by default, so do the kids.
In partnership with Stemilt, a family-owned grower of delicious fruits, I’ve decided to provide you (and myself) some inspiration for this last half of the school year with 10 bento boxes that are perfect for mixing up mundane lunches.
Each lunch includes apples and pears from Stemilt, which you might know as Lil Snappers® kid size fruit. We love these kid size fruits and we often include them in lunches for the kids or send them along as a healthy snack. I love that they provide one daily serving of fruit and that they come in resealable pouches with enough fruit to get me through the week for BOTH kids.
As I said we generally include these in our lunches already, but I took this opportunity to get creative with these little fruits and these lunch box ideas. Here are 10 bento box ideas that you can create for your lunches with Lil Snappers® Piñata® apples and d’Anjou pears.
10 Bento Box Ideas for School Lunches
PB&J & Pear Box
This first bento box idea pulls together an old favorite – Peanut Butter & Jelly with a Lil Snappers® d’Anjou pear. I love the fact that the pear fits right into the bento box. The PB&J was cut (crusts off) into triangles and I could tuck those into the side. I completed the box with some strawberries, tomato slices, dried apricots, popcorn and a few little cookies.
To make the PB&J triangles, I used cookie cutter-type tools. You can find them here.
Turkey & Cheese Sandwich + Apple Box
You may notice that this bento box idea only includes three corners of the Turkey and Cheese Sandwich. I did that purposely for anyone who may have a slow eater or a child that consistently doesn’t finish their lunch. Save the other ¼ for the next day or as a snack for when they come home.
I’ve paired the sandwich with a Lil Snappers® Piñata® apple that fits right in the box with the sandwich. I added in some banana chips, carrots, cucumber cut outs and donuts as a treat.
Throughout this post I’ve used cookie cutter punches to create fun shapes with the vegetables and the fruit. You can find those here.
Mac & Cheese with apple slices
Once thing I love about this bento box idea in particular is that it comes with a space for hot food. This thermos-type container will keep food warm for you so you can mix up your lunches and include some hot lunch favorites.
This box includes a favorite in our house, good ol’ Mac & Cheese. I paired it with Lil Snappers® apple slices. Just because the fruit does fit into the box whole doesn’t mean you have to always use it that way. Slicing it makes it easier for my 4-year-old son to eat it. He doesn’t like to bite into things – including soft bread – so slicing the fruit ensures he will eat it for me.
TIP: To keep apples and pears from browning, dip them in some water with lemon juice or lemon lime soda. The citric acid will help preserve the freshness and color.
I’ve also included some raw broccoli (which my daughter loves), almonds for a bit of protein and a rice crispy treat for dessert.
Salad with an apple
I made this box with my daughter in mind. She loves salad and always asks if she can have it for lunch. I added some cut out cucumber hearts and tomatoes then paired it with a Piñata® apple. All of that fits into that square. Both the salad and the apple are perfect amounts for my 7-year-old.
In addition to those two things, I added fresh raspberries, a cut up cheese stick, fresh oranges and a few crackers to help get a few filling carbs in there.
Fruit Salad Box
This is bento box I made with my son in mind. He is a fruit kid. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up a vegetarian (Although, he does like a good hot dog.). He is also crazy picky and would love this box. He would eat everything in it. I’ve included one whole Lil Snappers® apple and pear chopped up as a base and then added a few, fun, cut outs of them too.
The fruit salad also includes fresh strawberries, grapes (cut), oranges, blueberries and raspberries. Additionally, I added the veggies my son will eat – cucumbers and carrots – his favorite crackers, a cheese stick and donuts again.
Tomato Soup with cut up apples and pears
I’m so excited about this bento box idea! It’s a lunch box I could totally get behind. I filled it with delicious tomato soup and paired that with a cheese sandwich. You could try to grill this cheese if you want. If you do, let me know if it keeps.
I paired the soup and sandwich with a cut-up apple and pear salad. There’s about half a Lil Snappers® Piñata® apple and d’Anjou pear. Then for fun I added in some caramel corn as a dessert.
Also, here is how the warm bowl operates with these boxes.
Bagel BLT with a pear
This one is for your bigger kid. This is a big, delicious BLT. I added in a hefty bagel and then layered on turkey, bacon, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce (mayo optional). A whole Lil Snappers® d’Anjou pear fits in the side slot of this box and I was thrilled to see that! It gives me a lot of ways to make things work.
I added in some fresh, cut strawberries, sliced tomatoes and broccoli.
Chicken Noodle Soup with apple slices
If you need a little warmth this season, then nothing fits the bill like chicken noodle soup. I added in the Lil Snappers® sliced apples, cheese slices, crackers (because some people like crackers in their soup) and cookies.
Spaghetti and pear
I love that I can add leftovers into lunch sometimes. My kids both love spaghetti will both eat it. For this bento box idea, I paired it with a fun side salad, a Lil Snappers® d’Anjou pear, almonds and a rice crispy.
Breakfast for lunch
Both of my kids love breakfast and I’m going to guess yours do too. I made these little egg cups last week for a quick, on-the-go breakfast and they include spinach, tomatoes, onions and ham. Of course, one of the benefits of making egg cups is that they are totally customizable.
I first put the egg cup and some bacon into the warm compartment of this bento box and then sliced up a Lil Snappers® d’Anjou pear to go along with it. I also added a berry and orange salad, some cheese slices and two donuts to create a well-rounded breakfast lunch.