I knew I wanted to try something new for lunchtime last fall as my three year old started preschool. He’d always been a pretty good eater at home, but he’d often come back hungry from Mother’s Day Out after leaving most of his lunch uneaten in little plastic baggies.
I saw other moms on Pinterest and Instagram who could create these beautiful, elaborate bento style lunches and didn’t think I’d ever have the patience to do it.
But it turns out,
all it takes is a little prep and creativity.
Here are four tips to break out of the boring lunch routine and start the new school year off right:
1. Make a list.
What does your daughter like to eat? Can you take peanut butter? Write out all the foods you can include in your lunches and post it to your pantry door. This way you’ll never be at a loss for what to send. I have one divided into proteins/fruit/cereals/veggies/snacks. It’s great for my foggy morning brain!
I also like the Easy Lunchboxes. They really are easy and will hold a full sized sandwich.
Growing your sandwich cutter and food pick collection can be an ongoing process, but you need just a few pieces to get started.
- Silicone cups (like these)
- Sandwich stamps. These little animal stamps are adorable! And work for both boys and girls. There are also cute cookie cutter stamps at Williams-Sonoma. I’m always on the lookout for cookie cutters!
- Food picks. They’re not vital, but they’re adorable. And add a big bang for your buck.
4. Plan ahead.
I like to make my lunches in the morning because I feel like they stay fresher that way. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a plan until I start packing.
The night before I think about what I’m going to do for the next day’s lunches. I get my boxes out and plan for what I want to include. This way I’m not flying by the seat of my pants in the morning while trying to get everyone dressed and out the door.
So I have learned that bento style lunches are very doable with a little prep work. And they really encourage good eating habits.
I’m amazed at how much food my preschooler eats. Sometimes he comes home with a grape or two left over, but that’s about it. He certainly won’t leave a Hulk shaped ham sandwich behind!
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Meagan blogs at Meagan’s Musings about all things preschooler, toddler and photography. She and her husband met at SMU and love Dallas living. As a stay at home mom, their 3.5 year old boy and 1.5 year old baby girl keep her busy but she wouldn’t change a thing!