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A four image collage with easy bento box lunch ideas.

Bento Box Lunch Ideas - DIY Pasta Salad Bar

Bento box lunches are an easy way to pack a variety of healthy foods for preschool, kindergarten and beyond! Here are some delicious ideas to help make packing school lunches fun and doable.
Course lunch
Cuisine lunch
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 354kcal


  • ½ cup Pasta of choice, preferably whole grain or legume-based (e.g. chickpeas, lentils)
  • ¼ cup Protein (chicken, beef, hard-boiled egg, shrimp, beans, tofu)
  • Cubed or sliced cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Sauce (pesto, vinaigrette, ranch, hummus)

Vegetables (½ cup)

  • cherry/grape tomatoes (quartered for 4 years and younger)
  • cucumber (sliced or cubed)
  • zucchini (sliced or shredded)
  • carrots (sliced or shredded)
  • bell peppers (sliced)
  • baby spinach
  • peas
  • corn


  • Pack all the components into separate compartments. Place the pasta in the largest compartment so that if your child decides to mix up all the components together, they can!
  • If your lunch box is not leak-proof, be sure to add the sauce/dressing in a separate container.


Some inspirations:
  • Greek pesto: rotini pasta, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, feta, pesto
  • Italian pasta salad: fusili pasta, chicken, red bell pepper, zucchini, mozzarella balls, bail, balsamic vinaigrette 
  • Tortellini salad: cheese tortellini, torn romaine, shredded carrots, tomatoes, ranch dressing
  • Shrimp pasta salad: lentil pasta, shrimp, cucumber, corn, black beans, lime dressing
Veggie-loaded homemade sauces to try:
Nutrition facts calculated using whole wheat pasta, chicken, and cheddar cheese.


Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 12g