15 Easy Bento Ideas – Perfect for Mess-Free Snacking in the Car


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I’ve admitted often on my blog that my kids are slobs less than tidy creatures. It’s pretty easy to tell where they’ve been based on the trail of their stuff that’s strewn from the door to every corner of my house. And my car is no exception. I get so tired of cleaning up the mess in my car that I’ve often thought of banning eating there altogether. But I can’t. I’ve tried, and it just doesn’t work with our crazy homeschool schedule. Instead, I’ve been working on a list of 15 easy bento ideas – perfect for mess-free snacking in the car. Shhhh — don’t tell your kids, but these ideas are also {mostly} healthy!

15 Easy Bento Ideas - Perfect for Mess-Free Snacking in the Car #Arla101 #sp

15 Easy Bento Ideas – Perfect for Mess-Free Snacking in the Car

The key I’ve found to mess-free snacking in the car is small portions with no waste. I want my kids to be able to pick up whatever they find in their bento box and put in their mouths. Nothing to spill, nothing left over later for the trashcan. At least that’s the idea. So banana peels, apple cores and the like are a big no-no. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found a petrified banana peel or rotten apple core in my car. It’s so gross, but I still want them to have healthy, real food options in the car. So, without further ado, here are my easy bento ideas!

Real Food Bento Box Ideas - for mess free snacking in the car. from SimplifyLiveLove.com #Arla101 #sp

Fresh Fruit & Veg

My kids love fresh fruit and veggies. Preparation is the secret to mess-free, I’ve found. If your kids don’t like peels, peel ahead of time and cut into bite sized pieces because they seem to work best. Luckily, a lot of fresh fruit & veg can be prepped ahead of time to create less mess. You can use whatever fruit and veg your kids like, but these are some of our favorites for easy bento ideas:
1. Bite size tomatoes – cherry, grape, pear

2. Sliced apple & pear {to keep the peels off the car floor, peel ahead of time if they don’t like the peels. If you add a little fresh lemon juice, you can prep these ahead of time without worrying about them turning brown.}

3. Chunks of  kiwi & peeled cuties {again – peel ahead of time so there’s no trash for your car!}

4. Whole grapes & berries {perfect for popping right into the mouth.}

5. Pomegranate seeds {what a great little vitamin and anti-oxidant powerhouse!}

Bento Lunchbox ideas for mess-free snacking from SimplifyLiveLove.com


6. Small, bite size crackers – but just a few. These are notorious offenders on my car floor.

7. Half a granola bar, or small pieces of granola bars, wrapper removed and cut into chunks. {I like to focus on real, whole food so another reason for cutting these into small pieces is to just give them a taste.}

Nuts, Twigs, & Berries

{Okay, don’t really feed your kids twigs…that’s just what my hubby calls my health food obsession.}

8. Very small amount of raisins

9. Craisins

10. Shelled pistachios or other nuts your kids may like {I’ve found the key here is to only give a few. If I give them a bit handful, a lot end up on the floor of my car.}

11. A couple olives

12. Pickle slices or spears, or better yet, pickles wrapped in cheese! Arla-Dofino Creamy Harvati slices work well for wrapping pickles {or salami…} YUM!  With no added hormones, artificial ingredients or preservatives, cheese from Arla-Dofino passes my crunchy-mom test. I also love that it is handcrafted not too far from me in Wisconsin, and has been made there for over 100 years.

Easy Bento Ideas for Mess Free Snacking in the Car - from SimplifyLiveLove.com #Arla101 #ad


13. Small pieces of {healthier} salami, no added nitrites, BHT, or BHA. {I often find the healthier salami in the deli case – in tubes I cut  myself.}

14. Bite size pieces of cheese. We love the Harvati Dill from Arla-Dofino. {I’m not usually the kind of mom who cuts food into cutsie pieces, but aren’t these pumpkins and leaves cute? My kids really love them. I promise, no cheese is wasted in the cutting of these shapes. I eat the leftovers.}

15. Bite sized pieces of hard-boiled eggs – if they don’t like the yolk, remove it so it doesn’t end up as waste. Are you sensing the theme here? 😀

To sum it all up, pack small amounts of real food your kids will eat in mostly bite size pieces. Make sure there’s nothing that could be trash in your bento box, and you’ve got easy bento ideas that will hopefully reduce the waste left behind in your car!

15 Easy Bento Snack ideas #Arla101 #sp from SimplifyLiveLove.com

Arla Dofino’s Snack-to-School Facebook Sweepstakes

If you like Arla-Dofino Cheese as much as I do, head over to their facebook page from September 15 to October 15, 2015. One lucky winner will win a semseter’s worth of cheese and a Genuine Thermos lunch kit! How much money would you save if you won?

How do you encourage mess-free snacking in your car? Please share your tips!

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. I’ll have to look for this cheese. I love Havarti. And really, sometimes presentation is the key to getting your kids to eat something. Atleast that is how it works around here!