Make lunch fun with these back-to-school bento box ideas inspired by TikTok

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After almost two years of Zoom school, it may finally be time to brush up on your bag lunch game with a bento box.

To get the kids excited for school again — while also making sure they stay as safe as possible — lunchtime can be a game-changer. Packing your kiddos a fun lunchbox can not only get them to eat their fruits and veggies but also help to avoid the crowded cafeteria lines and touching communal trays and keypads when getting a school lunch.

If you haven’t heard of them, bento boxes are a Japanese solution to a boring lunch — “bento” meaning a single portion of something. The lunch boxes are divided into different compartments, keeping food from touching or spilling over, which can be a picky kid’s worst nightmare. Plus, the box is great for portioning out your child’s meal, making sure they get enough nutrients during the school day.

Reply to @dannydavitos_rat hope this helps! this is a really common question #bento #bentobox #lunchbox #fyp #FAW #foryoupage

While bento boxes have been around for quite a while in Asia and beyond, they have skyrocketed in popularity, thanks to TikTok, where parents show off just how cute they can package them. Many of the videos feature other fun gadgets, like food picks with stars and characters, rice ball makers for a perfect bite of rice every time and colorful cupcake liners to serve as additional separation inside the box.

🌺 Hawaii 🌴 inspired lunches #bentobox #lunchtime #foodtok #recipe #letsmakesomelunchformykids

While you don’t have to go as all-out as Jessica Woo from the above video, taking the time to cut cute shapes and write sweet notes to your kids may give them the boost they need to get back into the swing of things this school year — especially if they’ve been home since spring 2020.

To get you started on the bento box craze, read below for the best bento boxes as well as food picks, liners and other accessories to make a boring bag lunch a thing of the past.

OmieBox Bento Box for Kids, $42.50

Be it a hot lunch or a cold sandwich, this bento box can do it all.

The OmieBox brand is beloved by TikTok moms and so we wanted to share. Sold on Amazon, the bento box comes with three different compartments and an ice pack to keep fruit and veggies chilled and a thermos compartment to keep soups, noodles and more nice and warm.

Bentgo Kids Prints 5-Compartment Bento-Style Kids Lunch Box, $28

You can bet that your kids will love opening their Bentgo boxes to see what surprises you packed for them.

The five-compartment bento lunch box is the perfect size for your kids, with a large area for the main dish and four smaller ones for fruits, veggies, chips and a little sweet, too. The box comes in a variety of adorable patterns as well, including a space theme seen above, unicorns, llamas, sports and more.

Bento Box Japanese Lunch Box 3-In-1 Compartment, $16.58

This bento box comes with a bento bag, too.

This all-in-one set makes packing their school lunch a breeze. First, separate and pack their lunch into the three stackable compartments, keeping food fresh and secure. Top that off with the included silverware and the lid, and place the whole thing into the tote bag, matching whichever color of bento you choose.

FREEDX 10 Mini Skewers Cute Cartoon Eyes Set, $7.07

All eyes in the cafeteria will be on your child’s lunch when they see just how cute it is.

These food picks add the funniest flair to your bento box meals, while also serving as skewers to grab onto slippery grapes or messy veggies. Simply push the picks into your kid’s favorite foods and watch your bento come to life — just be sure to remove the picks before digging in.

66-Piece Animal Food Picks, $10.99

Turn lunchtime into a zoo adventure with these animal-themed food picks.

The set of 66 skewers is sold on Amazon for just over $10, but the smile on your kid’s face when they open their lunch will be priceless. The picks come in a variety of colors and shapes, featuring frogs, pandas and giraffes as well as flowers, stars and even eyeballs to bring your bento box to life.

MB Silifriends molds, $19.90

There’s nothing silly about wanting the most fun lunch for your child.

These Silifriends molds from Monbento are super versatile, as you can mold rice into them for a sushi surprise, freeze fruit for a smoothie bite or even bake tasty treats right into the mold for a pig-shaped cake or fox-shaped muffin bite. The molds are both freezer- and oven-safe, as well as dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.

Rice Ball Making Mold, $2

Get in on the rice ball trend and shake up their school lunch all at the same time.

This rice ball shaker mold is one of the easiest, mess-free ways to make rice balls for your child’s lunch. All you need to do is add the rice into the three compartments and shake, watching the rice form perfectly uniform balls before your eyes. Add them to a sushi box or decorate with picks or seaweed for a fun and easy-to-eat lunch.

BakingWorld Vegetable Cutter Shapes Set, $10.99

If you have a picky eater on your hands, try these fruit and veggie cutters.

Disguise fruits and veggies as adorable animals and shapes with this set of produce cutters. Simply punch through any food to create mini shapes to pack into your bento box and encourage healthy eating in a fun way. Who said you can’t play with your food — especially if it helps them eat right?

LetGoShop Silicone Cupcake Liners, $9.99

Cupcake liners aren’t just for dessert anymore.

Divide your bento box even more with the addition of silicone liners. This package comes with super fun shapes, including hearts, stars and roses that you can easily fill with small fruits, cut-up veggies or even a handful of candies if they were well-behaved that day.

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