This post comes courtesy of Wendy Copley, blogger behind Wendolonia.
Lunch is a welcome break for children in the middle of a hectic school day. Make it even more enjoyable for them – and more fun for you to pack – by filling their lunch box with a few surprises. Here are four ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Incorporate your child’s interests. Most kids go through phases where they are borderline obsessive about particular topics. Incorporate their favorite superheroes, ballerinas or Star Wars characters into their lunches to give them a special thrill. Some easy ways to add your child’s hobbies or characters to a meal are to thread cubes of fruit or cheese onto decorative cupcake picks, put a sticker on a sandwich bag or use larger cutters to shape sandwiches.
To make Star Wars sandwiches like the ones pictured here, cut and decorate the bread first. To create good face details, set the Star Wars cutter on top of a soft slice of sandwich bread and depress the plunger to make an impression of the face. Then press the edges of the cutter down to cut the shape out of the bread. Finally, layer the sandwich fillings between the two cutouts.
Add some color. One of the easiest ways to add some life to a lunch is to include fruits and vegetables in lots of colors. This is most effective when the food is served on a plate or packed into a bento box because children take in all the cheerful colors as soon as they see their lunches. The more colors you add, the more appealing the lunch is to the eye. As a bonus, it generally makes for a healthier meal, because a lunch packed with all those fruits and vegetables doesn’t have a lot of space left for less healthy foods.
Make a face. Kids love it when you add a face decoration to something in their lunches. You can get a giggle by adding two round items for eyes and just about anything you want for a mouth. Try making a face with olives, slices of fruits or vegetables, or shapes cut from deli cheese or meat on top of a sandwich. Or keep it really simple and draw eyes and a mouth on the outside of a sandwich bag.
Write a note. My boys love it when I take a few seconds to write them a note on a small piece of paper and put it in their lunch bags. There are also a zillion free lunch note templates available for download online that you can print, cut and put in your child’s lunch. If you want to take the note-writing a step further, write directly on food with food-safe markers. They work best on foods with relatively smooth surfaces such as bananas, tofu or dinner rolls. You could also spread a note out by writing a word or two on a few crackers. Stack them up and let your kids eat their way down to the bottom of the message.
About the author: Wendy Copley writes about cooking, crafts, parenting and her obsession with lunch boxes at Wendolonia. Her site features a Bento Box Gallery with over 800 photos to provide inspiration to lunch-packing parents.