Bento-Inspired Toddler Lunch for Daycare. It's a treat!

Kids love novel things. That's what we love so much about them. Fire trucks are showstoppers, every passing pet gets a squeal, and the same thing goes for food. If it's fun, cute, cool, or pretty, it'll stop them in their tracks and make for a great treat.

If you're planning on drop-in care, packing a fun lunch is one way to make the day extra special. Japanese bentos are especially great inspirations for packing captivating lunch boxes.

Here are two simple tips:
  1. A few cut shapes make all the difference. 
  2. Lunch boxes with sections take pressure off the creative process.

Cutting Shapes

A quick way to make a lot of shapes is to cut five or more V-shaped grooves into a peeled carrot like the image below. For the hearts, only cut one groove and cut two flat sides to form the shape of a heart. Then chop all of them into medallions and you have a host of shapes to decorate lunch boxes!

 Cookie Cutter Sandwiches

Cutting off the crusts tends to make sandwiches easier to eat and more appealing to kids, and using cookie cutters to cut out shapes adds extra flare. (Tip: I used raisins to make eyes and made french toast the next day with the crusts I saved.)

My kids were so thrilled with the cookie cutters and sandwiches, that they insisted on "helping" and a few sandwiches didn't even make it into the lunch box. (Please excuse the marker doodles on their hands. They just jumped in!)

Packing the Lunch Box

If you have a lunch box with sections, it only takes one fun section to make the whole meal special. After I decided to use cookie cutters to make a sandwich in the shape of a mouse, I simply filled the rest of the sections with food I found in my kitchen. In my case, it was blue berries, sugar snap peas, broccoli, pasta, cut carrots, oatmeal squares, raisins, and spinach.

That's it! Enjoy!


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