Homemade Lunchable Ideas | Homemade Bistro Boxes

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For kids of all ages, being served fun foods, each in its own private space is attractive. Check out these Homemade Lunchable Ideas to make your own healthier, cheaper, and tastier bento-style lunches.

Homemade Lunchable Ideas | Life as Mom

Lunchables came out in 1989 when I was in 11th grade, working at the local Lucky grocery store as “a courtesy clerk”. My responsibilities included packing customers’ groceries in bags, collecting shopping carts, sweeping floors, and returning unwanted items to their rightful shelves. I knew that store — and most of the ingredients available — like the back of my hand.

Working at the grocery store was my gateway to Good Cheap Eats.

When I saw those cute boxes of cheese, lunch meat, and crackers, all wrapped up in a yellow cardboard wrapping, I was immediately smitten. How cute was that little lunch?!

Fast forward to 2011 when Starbucks launched its line of bistro boxes. It was basically a grown up Lunchable with a few gourmet upgrades. And yes, I confess, it’s still one of my favorite things to buy at Starbucks.

My daughters well understand my fascination with the Lunchable/Bistro Box-style meal. I don’t know what it is about these divided boxes and each food in its own happy little space, but they are definitely winners in the lunch department!

The girls went practically ga-ga when I purchased divided lunch boxes last summer. We have some in plastic and some in glass.

Better yet are the homemade Lunchable ideas that we can use to make our lunches just as CUTE, but cheaper, tastier, and infinitely healthier!

Homemade Lunchable Ideas

Here are some of our favorite homemade Lunchable ideas that work for parents and kids alike:

Homemade Lunchable Ideas | Life as Mom

The Bagel Box

Supplement your favorite bagel with homemade flavored cream cheese, veggie dippers, fresh fruit, and a homemade trail mix.

Get the recipe here.

Homemade Lunchable Ideas | Life as Mom

The Protein Box

Make lunch time super simple and totally delicious with this Protein Box, aka DIY Bistro Box. Packed with good stuff, such as hard cooked eggs, cheese slices, nut or seed butter, crackers, celery, and fresh fruit, it will taste great without breaking the bank.

Get the recipe here.

Homemade Lunchable Ideas | Life as Mom

Mediterranean Snack Box

Take a walk along the gourmet side with this Mediterranean-inspired Lunchable. Grapes, olives, and rooted vegetables complement charcuterie, hummus, and pita breads.

Get the recipe here.

Homemade Lunchable Containers

Moms, let’s face it. Part of what makes the Lunchable attractive is the packaging. Go ahead and splurge on the appropriate divided containers. Label them well; instruct children to bring them home with the promise that if they do due diligence, they will be amply rewarded with homemade Lunchables. 🙂

Here are the containers we use at our house:

Homemade Lunchable Ideas | Life as Mom

Other Lunchbox Ideas

Looking for more lunchbox inspiration? Check out these past posts:

Do YOU have homemade Lunchable ideas YOUR kids love?

Homemade Lunchable Ideas | Life as Mom

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  1. I love the idea of a Bento box lunch, but it needs to be a vertical box. My girls carry their lunch in their backpacks. A horizontal box has to be placed in the backpack on its side and any juices then all run together.

    • After a few visits to my young daughter’s classroom, I learned that everyone’s lunchbox was dumped in a wagon each morning and hauled to the cafeteria each afternoon. So, it didn’t matter if the lunchbox was vertical or horizontal, it was all going to get slopped around. For the life of me, before I realized this, I couldn’t figure out why her leftovers were coming back soggy and in disarray. Now I pack a plastic bento box with dry items in their spaces and I use tiny little containers with leakproof lids for anything wet. No more mess! Hooray!

    • There are some great stackable Japanese-style lunch sets; Diny Home and Bentgo both make affordable 2- and 3-tier options that lock together for vertical transport, and lay out neatly for eating. Or, use a standard lunch bag or lunchbox, and snap-top or screw-top containers inside if for juicy items, baggies for the rest–it’s still fun to have compartmentalized lunch options beyond a sandwich.

      My kids would never get enough to eat if they stuck with a processed Lunchable, so we do our own home-grown option, too.

      One favorite variation is British Plowman’s Box: boiled egg, cheese chunks, summer sausage or ham chunks, fruit in season or dried fruit, nuts, some sturdy bread or crackers, little pot of mustard or homemade cream cheese spread for smearing, and pickles. Always the pickles!

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