5 days of school lunches in bento boxes


5 Days Of School Lunches

Nov 4, 2019

My two boys couldn’t be more different in their eating styles. My five-year-old is possibly the pickiest eater I’ve ever met, and my three-year-old will happily munch on raw broccoli, carrots and peas. I mention this, if for no other reason, then just to let you know that if your kid is a picky eater, it’s not your fault.

But the question remains: what to pack for school lunches?

At home, my kids are both big into peanut butter, trail mix and basically all types of nuts for protein and fat. I’ve had to get really creative to make sure my picky kid (who is also vegetarian) has a nut-free lunch that also provides a variety of nutrients and enough protein, fat and fibre to keep him satisfied and energetic throughout the day.

My mantra is moderation and variety. I try not to put the same things in their lunches every day, but I also refuse to be super strict about what does or doesn’t go in. This keeps things fun and nutritious (and stress-free for mama!).

Below you'll find a week laid out in bento box lunches and my tips on how to think about putting them together. Click here to jump to the tips!


Monday's lunch

  • Sunbutter and jam sandwich on sprouted grain bread
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Cheese cubes
  • Chia probiotic chocolate
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberry
  • Snap pea
  • Carrot

From a dietitian: 5 Phrases You Can Use To Get Your Picky Eater Eating On Their Own


Tuesday's lunch

  • Sprouted grain tortilla with sunbutter
  • Golden beet slices
  • Pimento olives
  • Tangerine slices
  • Carrot sticks
  • Homemade pesto and cheese calzone
  • Chia probiotic chocolate


Wednesday's lunch

  • Nut-free homemade granola
  • Homemade pesto and cheese calzone
  • Plain unsweetened greek yogurt with blueberries
  • Raisins
  • Apple slices
  • Snap peas


Thursday's lunch

  • Ants on a log with sunbutter and raisins
  • Hummus and lettuce sandwich
  • Elderberry gummy
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes

Add something homemade: 10 Make Ahead Batch-Cooking School-Lunch Snacks


Friday's lunch

  • Cheese sandwich on sprouted grain bread
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Elderberry gummy
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries


  1. Add colours! Basically, if I’ve put some green, red, purple, orange or blue in a few of the compartments in their bento boxes, I feel like I’ve done my job as far as fruit and veggie exposure goes. I try to vary this to make sure the kids are exposed to lots of different fruits and vegetables. My hope is that eventually these foods will seem so normal to them that they’ll happily eat all of them.
  2. Have a filling favourite. I think we can all agree that if we don’t put at least one filling thing in our kid’s lunch that they actually LIKE, it’s going to make for one hungry, grumpy kid (and it’s also just kind of mean). For us, this is often cheese and crackers, a nutritious homemade muffin, a sunbutter sandwich, a hummus and avocado sandwich, a cream cheese bagel with cucumber or leftovers like pizza or quinoa.
  3. Include a little treat. I love the idea of taking treats off a pedestal and just including them with meals. We use the small compartment of our snack box to add a few chocolate chips, dye-free candy or something else exciting.
  4. Sneak in veggies. I make sure there are some actual vegetables in their natural form in my picky kid’s lunch box for exposure, but he rarely (if ever) eats them. So to make sure he actually does consume some veggies in his day, I often bake spinach, sweet potato, pumpkin or beet into muffins and quick breads or add them to smoothies. Important note: I don’t lie to him! I tell him what’s in these baked goods, and often he’ll help me make them.
  5. Use the healthiest versions of things when possible. A great example of this is the bread we use. When we can, we buy sprouted grain bread instead (to boost fibre and protein). We opt for organic veggies and fruit when possible (especially when it’s on sale!). We usually always opt for organic dairy (cheese, yogurt, etc.) and the treats we do buy often have a nutritional component to them (is dye-free, for example).
Article Author Katharine Reid
Katharine Reid

Katharine is a freelance writer and editor who loves libraries and nature. The former editor of a health website, she now spends her days with her three adorable young kiddos. A big believer in the power of unstructured free play, she can usually be found either going on outdoor adventures with her kids, setting up invitations to play and create, snuggling up to read or escaping the chaos to head to a yoga class.

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