Bento Lunchbox Ideas for Fussy Eaters | AD

lunchbox for fussy eaters

I love bento box lunches for fussy eaters. If your child is a picky eater, a bento box lunch is great because:

  • Kids can pick and choose between foods
  • It’s a chance to have small tastes of different things
  • food looks fun in a bento, so kids may be more to taste unfamiliar food

I’ve never been a big believer in making food into animal shapes, or spending hours preparing lunches for kids. That said, when you have a fussy eater, spending a few minutes making a lunch that looks attractive and has things that kids will want to eat can help them to feel special, and cared for.

That sort of gesture is especially important for children in foster care. It’s hard to move to a new place, and even harder if you don’t like new foods, or are having to adjust to new foods and recipes. Many children in care won’t have had the best experiences with food and nutrition. But having food you enjoy – and plenty of it – is so important in helping kids feel at home.

I spent eight years in foster care as a child, so I was happy to be asked to work with Compass Fostering to help share some lunchbox ideas that would be suitable for fussy eaters.

Today I’m sharing some fun ideas for bento box lunches that I think are perfect for fussy eaters. Of course, feel free to make swaps based on your child’s own preferences. These are all low-fuss lunchbox ideas that are easy and inexpensive to make, and would be devoured by my own fussy eater.

Bento Box 1: Antipasti and Quesadilla

quesedillas recipe

Quesadilla might sound fancy but this bento box packed lunch takes no more than 5 minutes to prepare, and is a guaranteed kid-pleaser in our house. It’s also a lovely high protein option.

You can fill quesadillas with all sorts of ingredients but in our house the only acceptable quesadilla is cheese. Occasionally we might get adventurous by adding spring onion or diced pepper.

Anyway if you haven’t made quesadillas before, it’s simplify itself.

Pop a flour tortilla in a hot frying pan, and sprinkle a tablespoon or two of cheese over the top. Add some finely diced veggies, we like peppers and tomato. Wait 30 seconds, then place another tortilla on top. Flatten the tortilla slightly, and the cheese will “glue” the two tortillas together.

Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until the cheese is melted, and the tortilla is golden and crispy.

Alongside the quesadilla quarters, we serve a couple of slices of meat. My daughter loves salami and parma ham, but turkey or regular ham would work just as well.

I finished the bento box with some fruit and vegetables – in this case carrot and pepper spears, with some sour cream dip, and a few grapes.

This bento lunch can be prepared in less than five minutes and is ideal when you’re short of time, but want something that’s reasonably healthy and will give kids energy.

Bento Box 2: Pasta and Pesto

bento box pasta

I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t eat pasta and pesto. It seems to appeal to even the fussiest eaters, so I’ve used cold pasta and pesto in this bento lunchbox.

Pesto Recipe

You can easily make your own pesto by using this recipe:

  • 50g basil
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 30g parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 85ml olive oil

Whizz everything except the olive oil together in a blender. Then, with the blender on a low speed, gradually add oil until you get the right consistency. Of course, if you don’t have time, then a jar is perfectly good!

I blend the pesto with cooled, cooked pasta and a tablespoon of cooked sweetcorn and peas.

I don’t add piece of meat to anything with a sauce. In my experience, many fussy eaters will refuse meat if they can’t easily identify it. So for this bento box, we added a small cup of mini sausages on the side. The meal is rounded out with a few sweets and some apple slices.

Bento Box 3 – Fishcakes and Mini Tacos

bento box thai tacos

Every so often, I like to offer Flea something that looks very complicated and fancy, but isn’t. Obviously, because I’m a terrible cook and things that are genuinely fancy are not usually within my skill-set. Like these mini tacos, made with leftover bolognese or chilli sauce.

Mini Taco Recipe

  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 2 tablespoons of bolognese or similar sauce
  • grated cheese

To make the tacos, simply cut your flour tortilla into small squares, about 2 inches by 2 inches.

Put the taco squares into a mini muffin tray so they resemble little scoops.

Carefully place a scoop of bolognese sauce and a sprinkle of grated cheese into each scoop. Then cook in the oven at 180 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

We served the tacos with mini Thai fish cakes, which don’t count as fancy, because I bought ready-made from the supermarket in packs of eight. I add a small pot of sauce, and some vegetable spears – my daughter likes cucumber.

For a treat in this bento lunchbox, we’ve added pretzels and a few sweets. These little cheese balls are also great because they’re mild enough for fussy eaters, but add some extra protein to their lunch.


This is a sponsored post in association with Compass Fostering. I was paid a fee for my time in creating this content, but all words and opinions are my own. 

3 thoughts on “Bento Lunchbox Ideas for Fussy Eaters | AD”

  1. I love the idea of bento boxes but none of those sauces and dips are going to stay in those containers, especially in a child’s schoolbag. I want to shout at all the blogs, vlogs, and adverts: show me what it looks like at lunchtime! And if there is salad on one side of the divider and the box is tipped on its side in the schoolbag, are the juices really contained in that side of the box or will they run through and make the pita triangles soggy? Sorry to not to be enthusiastic but I have never once seen a child open a bento box at lunch time and seen that all the prettily arranged food is intact. Never once in 1000s of blogs and vlogs on this subject.

    1. The sauces are fine because the little posts come with lids – they’re sets of 5 from Amazon (I just took the lids off for the photos, otherwise you couldn’t see the contents!)

      With Bento boxes, the dividers inside the boxes keep the food separate, so although the pasta might get tossed around, it wouldn’t mix with with the veggies in the other compartment. But I wouldn’t swear to something liquid like a sauce wouldn’t leak through under the divider if it wasn’t in a pot.

      I find the Bento boxes are great, but you do have to consider what you put in them.

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