Embassy Shares Creative Lunches For Your Kids

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Start the school year off right with creative lunches for your kid

Clair McLaffertyBy Clair McLafferty 
on August 19, 2015 at 4:24 PM, updated August 20, 2015 at 12:25 AM

There's no better time to start a new lunchtime tradition than the beginning of the school year. If you've ever wanted to start packing your child's lunch, now's the time to begin. A good lunch can come with some extra benefits: restoring energy an concentration to finish out the day.

But preparing – and eating – the same lunch every day isn't fun. To help you spice up the plain brown bag lunch, we've talked to Birmingham Mommy's Angie Cleland to put together a list of a few easy ideas to make lunchtime more fun.

Send a note.
"Notes are always a good way to (mix it up)," Cleland says. "They're especially fun for the child on the first day of school when kids are adjusting to a new class and a new classroom." If paper notes seem a bit bland, write on peel and stick chalkboard material. Leave another strip of tape or chalkboard for your child to write a reply.

Use a bento box.
In Japanese, "bento" means "convenient." There, elaborately themed lunches are packed in segmented containers. Much the same is true in the U.S., but it's not hard to find inspiration. "There are tons of Pinterest ideas for bentos," Cleland says. "It might be a bit more expensive on the front end, but it will last longer than a regular Wal-Mart lunch box." 

To make a budget bento, divide up large reusable containers with muffin cups. 
If a brand name bento box is just too expensive, you can create a very similar setup by inserting muffin cups into reusable containers. "Everything is still proportioned out," Cleland says. "You don't have to worry about estimating appropriate portions."

Use salad greens as a background.
Just like with any scene, creating a background is as important as creating the scene itself. For a healthy and beautiful green background, use lettuce or arugula to set the stage for colorful shapes.

Cut fruit, sandwiches, or veggies with cookie cutters to make shapes.
To fill in the design, use geometric or themed cookie cutters to make food designs. Arrange on a lettuce background, and pair with themed foods like eggs for Easter to make a themed lunch.

Make a sandwich into a face.
Instead of leaving a sandwich whole, decorate the outside with two circular slices of cheese for eyes and a Cheerio for a mouth. Another possibility is to add eyes to the outside, then to cut a mouth out of the top layer of bread so the toppings underneath show through. For added cuteness, cut a Post-It note into the shape of a speech bubble and write a note.

DSC_9385.jpgSandwich on a stick: Cut up cubes of bread. Spread some mayo or mustard on one side. Thread the bread onto a skewer with deli ham and a cheese of choice. Serve with crackers or chips and dill pickles. (Photo by Melina Hammer) 

Put food on a stick.
Mix it up by making fruit or veggie kabobs, or just stick a popsicle stick into a layered sandwich. "Who doesn't love food on a stick?" Cleland says.

Make DIY Lunchables.
Once the lunch container is segmented, it's not hard to keep crackers, cheese, and sliced pepperoni or lunch meat separate. Pack this combination with a piece of fruit or a small dessert as a healthier and cheaper version of the supermarket lunch.

Substitute whole wheat tortillas for bread.
Mix up the daily sandwich by making a wrap or burrito instead of a sandwich. Cut the edges of the wrap to make mountains or crazy geometric patterns.

Make something dippable.
"Kids love to dip things," Cleland says. Whether it's packing a small container of ranch dressing with cut up veggies or peanut butter and celery packed separately, incorporating dunkable snacks is easy and fun.


Source: http://www.al.com/bhammag/index.ssf/2015/08/pack_a_punch_in_your_kids_lunc.html#incart_river