Farm Fresh Family

Learning life's lessons on an organic farm in the mountains.

Vegetarian Bento Boxes for Toddlers and Preschoolers

12 Comments

Vegetarian Bento Boxes for Toddlers - Farm Fresh Family

If you have a toddler or preschool age child, you know how difficult it can be to get your child to eat, and even more difficult to get them to eat healthy, balanced meals! As an early childhood teacher, I’ve been able to observe kids at lunchtime and have learned lots of tricks to encourage healthy eating. Here are the TOP 3 guidelines I use when packing lunches for my 2 and a half year old.

1: VARIETY: Kids like to be able to snack on many different things. I like to keep portions fairly small to make sure my daughter doesn’t get full on dairy and skip her fruits and veggies. I found these silicone baking cups on Amazon. They are perfectly sized for toddler portions and they are dishwasher and microwave safe. I really love them! They make it possible to pack everything up in a simple Rubbermaid container rather than juggling a bunch of different containers and baggies.

2. FUN: The best way to make a lunch look fun is to make it colorful! I like to mix fruits like strawberries and blueberries or veggies like carrots and sugar snap peas to make Clare’s lunch look like a rainbow. Some moms get really creative (like the ones below), but I usually keep it pretty simple. Clare often giggles with delight when her lunch is put in front of her!

Vegetarian Bento Boxes for Toddlers - Farm Fresh Family

via Cute Food For Kids

3. BALANCE: I do my very best to make sure each meal is balanced with protein, dairy, fruits, veggies, and grains. Protein can be tricky sometimes, since Clare is vegetarian, but I’ve found some great staples like black bean quesadillas and edamame. By keeping the meals balanced, I hope that I am teaching Clare skills for healthy eating that she will carry with her for the rest of her life!

Here are some of the lunches and snacks I packed this week:

The childcare center where I work is peanut free, so I use almond butter and Nutella a lot for sandwiches and rollups.

Vegetarian Bento Boxes for Toddlers - Farm Fresh Family

Clare ate every last bite of this yummy lunch! There was literally nothing left in her container after lunchtime.

Vegetarian Bento Boxes for Toddlers - Farm Fresh Family

Here’s an example of a yummy snack bento.

Vegetarian Bento Boxes for Toddlers - Farm Fresh Family

I hope this inspires more mommies and daddies to jump on the bento box train! It makes packing lunches so much fun (I actually look forward to it!) and there are endless possibilities!

What are some of your favorite lunch options for toddlers and preschoolers?

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Author: Farm Fresh Mama

I am the proud mama of a beautiful, hilarious little girl and the proud partner of a kind, smart man. The three of us have decided to make a major lifestyle change and move from Fort Collins, CO to an organic farm in southwest Colorado. We hope that by being surrounded by nature's beauty and working with our hands, we will be reminded daily that the simplest things in life are the most important. I learn big and small lessons every day, and I want to share what I've learned with other families.

12 thoughts on “Vegetarian Bento Boxes for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  1. We already do this on plates that have separate areas! I am so excited when my daughter goes to kindergarten to do bento lunches! So fun!

  2. Awesome ideas! My daughter is 14 months so we’re just getting started with this kind of food. I hope you don’t mind if I ask why your daughter is a vegetarian? I was for 10 years but have been more off and on lately and have debated raising my daughter as one.

    • My partner, Rob, is vegetarian mostly for environmental reasons, i.e. the effect of factory farms on climate change, etc. He really wanted to raise her vegetarian and I agreed because of the hormones that are in most meat now. We might start introducing her to meat after we make the move to the farm because we will have more access to ethically and responsibly raised meat.

      • Awesome! My sister and her boyfriend are saving money to buy land and start their own organic farm. I may work on a farm with them in the next year or so. It would be quite the adventure. Anyway, sorry getting a little off topic! I haven’t given my daughter much meat. I decided to be a veg when I was 9 and realized I was eating animals. There are a lot of great reasons to be a vegetarian.

      • That’s awesome that you might be working on a farm! I think that’s definitely what all the cool people are doing 🙂

        You should watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZCXCBKPogc

      • Oh my! That is the sweetest thing. Definitely how I felt, and still do sometimes. I think we grow up not really thinking much of it, but I had that same revelation as him one day. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi there! I’m stopping in from Let’s Get Real today. I’m always looking for great ideas for Bento-style lunches. I pack lunches for my school-age children and they are quite a hit at school. We call them their “famous” lunches. I have them just close up the box and bring it home so that I know what they are eating and what they are not eating. My daughter who is 8 very quietly (without saying anything about it) quit eating meat when I put it on the table. I think she has decided for herself that she feels better when she eats more of a flexitarian diet. Kind of interesting to me how kids figure that out. We just need to listen to what they are saying. My youngest son…………total carnivore. Makes cooking for my family very interesting.

    • You’re right! Kids are actually pretty great about regulating their own diet as long as we give them the right things to choose from. Cooking in my house is interesting too. My hubby and my daughter are both strict vegetarians, while I occasionally eat meat. I usually just cook vegetarian at home and order burgers when we go out to eat. Thanks for checking out my post and hosting the link up!

  4. Pingback: Color Sorting Activity for Toddlers | Farm Fresh Family

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