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
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
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.
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
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.