If you saw my post about Brooks 2nd birthday party, you might have already guessed that Brooks would choose a primate pal for his lunch box. Monkeys still very much rule my little guy’s world. Santa Claus are you listening??
Do you remember how fun it was when you were a kid to pick out your lunch box? I can distinctly remember picking out my Pac Man lunch box with pride and thinking it was the coolest thing ever!! Lunch boxes have seriously evolved though the years. I mean, those all metal lunch boxes were mini heat conductors and could turn a sandwich into mush! The contents have changed for the better as well. Remember when you got a whole apple in your lunch? You never ate it and it would be recycled and reappear in your lunch box for weeks to come until it was completely bruised and well past edible.
Luckily, that is so not the case these days. Packed lunches for school have come a long way and I have to say I’m all kinds of obsessed with the newest trend of bento box style lunches. I went on a Pinterest bender to give myself some inspiration for making Brooks midday grub for school time. I couldn’t help myself and pinned some over the top bento boxes, but they were too fun to leave out. I also included some vintage lunch boxes as an ode to lunches past.
BENTO # 1
First and foremost, I would say the MOST important rule of kid lunch making is to put stuff in there that your kid LOVES. I’m not saying fill the lunch pail with chocolate covered unicorns, but you know your kid and what they will eat. This is not the venue for food experimentation. If you want to try something out, then my suggestion is to give it a dry run at home first. Our lunch making practice was actually a great way to talk to Brooks about going to school and helped add to his excitement. As you can see in the pic below Brooks was quite fond of his bento box smorgasbord.
My boy is a professional grazer and I know that he loves a snack so in our first attempt at lunch making I stuck to some of his favorite snacks (strawberries, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, and hummus) and added a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat, cut with a heart shaped cookie cutter of course! The finishing touch was a love note from his number one lady, momma.
Our second try stuck to the snack vibe my boy loves and included a banana and almond butter roll-up made with a whole grain tortilla. Brooks and I BOTH loved the roll-up. We had to snap this picture quickly before our subject was gobbled up. Ever since our #TeamSims bento test kitchen I’ve made this snack many times. It is really good especially if your bananas are nice and ripe to add the perfect level of sweetness. Another reason why I like giving a nice variety of food is that toddlers can be fickle. I want to give Brooks a nice array of options in case he’s feeling particularly finicky.
Our third attempt involved some pan-seared chicken breast with two types of berries, some multi-grain chips and a couple pieces of cheese. The big take away for any of these lunches is to make sure you cut everything into toddler sized pieces. They need to be able to feed themselves easily. Brooks is a pro at removing the wax off the cheese. Simple good eating!!
Quick Tip: Baking Cups and Cookie Cutters
Cupcake baking cups are a perfect way to separate food and bring on a little fun. Cookie cutters are great for shaping sandwiches and can be purchased in sets for lunch making for years to come. Both can be purchased inexpensively.
We are now ready to rock this lunch party and I think we are well on our way of being ready for school to start. Again, I think the tears will be coming from me, but they will be of happiness of seeing my boy so grown up and ready to tackle the world… the two-year-old preschool world that is!! Do you have any back to school traditions or favorite lunches you like to pack for your crew?
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.