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Big M is headed to first grade! If you’re like me, you want to make beautiful lunches. Every day. With all of the fun and love packed inside for your kiddos to take to school. You imagine them happy to open their lunchbox. There’s all the different colors, shapes, and textures. It’s fun and nourishing.
But, ha! Time! Sure, I make cute lunches sometimes. And I post them on Instagram (don’t judge me, you’d post your uber cute lunches on IG too). Most days I make not so insta-worthy lunches. They are still cute though because I add one cute thing. You could probably stop reading here, because that’s the main hack. Add 1 thing!
Why make cute lunches? Because kids sometimes don’t care about eating. If you have one of those kids, like I do, this post is for you! A cute lunch can make all the difference in kids paying attention to their food long enough to eat it. I know it’s helping Big M in his new noisy cafeteria.
Here are my top 5 ways to add 1 cute thing to make cute lunches in no time flat.
1. Pick a Food Pick
Want easy? I’ll give you easy. Like 30 seconds easy. Make a lunch. Add 3 food picks. They come in a million different shapes, colors, sizes & themes. It’s true. Plus they are washable, reusable, and fun.
NOTE: They are good to start using once your child has stopped putting things in their mouth. Age varies, usually 2.5 – 3 years is a good age to start with food picks.
I always pick food picks I like…because then that makes it fun for me!
Here are my top 10 all time favorite food picks:
2. Cut Out Some Fun Shapes
Mini cookie cutters are my next lifesaver trick. Many kids will eat anything in a star shape. Why? Because stars taste better. Seriously. They do. You have to try it. Your kid will tell you they for sure taste different. Or at least they have to verify with a taste (very sneaky trick, mommy).
Mini metal cookie cutters are the best. Don’t worry about cutting every single apple piece into a star. That is WAY too time consuming. Instead, cut the apple up. Cut 3 pieces into cute shapes and put them on the top of the other ones.
Many kids will be perfectly happy with just 1, 2, or 3 star shapes. It captures their attention and gets them eating.
3. Use a Cute Thing
Messy food can be cute with the right accessory. This takes almost no extra time. And it’s still cute.
First, get a set of silicone baking cups. Fun, colorful, and zero time to set up. Plus, kids can sometimes feel weird about their food touching (sometimes adults do too). It’s normal! The silicone baking cups are the perfect way to keep foods from touching.
Next include a sauce/dressing for fun. In my experience, if it can be dipped in something yummy, it WILL be. The problem is dealing with sauces, and a cute condiment container can help! I have a whole post about dips if you want to learn more about what kind of dips are great for kids.
These soy sauce droppers are also great for, salad dressing or oils.
I like to use these condiment containers with lids for thicker sauces like ketchup or BBQ sauce.
Do you often pack leftovers for lunch? It is one of my favorite #lunchhacks for two reasons:
- It reduces food waste
- It’s super easy and takes five minutes
My kids sometimes go for soups at school. I like to serve them in a thermos though, to keep them warm. I find that the novelty of the container helps my kids think it’s cute. But note, all I did was get a cute thermos. Plus, I didn’t have to do anything to make this a cute lunch. #momwin
This container by Thermos is great and has over 30 different design options including fun characters.
Full disclosure, this next hack is a time LOSER, not a time saver. Egg molds. They take time, but every now and then, they are fun to use. I’ve never seen my kids not eat a hard boiled egg in a fish or bunny shape. The egg molds shown in the picture turn ordinary hard-boiled eggs into fun shapes!
Here’s how to use them:
- Hard boil an egg.
- Before the egg cools, take off the shell (it’s hot…you will have uncomfortably warm fingers, having a bit of cool water running helps).
- Put the hot egg into the mold and snap shut.
- Cover with cold water and wait until the egg is cool to take it out.
4. GET A CUTE LUNCH BOX
Some lunch boxes are cuter than others. There’s nothing wrong with my favorite brown paper bag with food thrown in. If you have a selective kiddo who won’t dig through a lunch bag though (I do), a cute lunch box can help. Plus, if you have a cute lunch box, you actually don’t have to make the food cute. Hahaha.
Here are the lunch boxes that I personally think are the cutest lunch boxes.
- YumBox / Mini YumBox
- Lunch Bots
- Oxford Brick Lunchbox (for the leggo lovers!)
- 3 Compartment Meal Prep Containers
5. LET THEM CHOOSE A CUTE UTENSIL
The power of a fun fork or spoon cannot be denied! You can make a quick 5 minute lunch and add a cool eating tool like this construction or fairy garden set. I’ve seen M&m down things I didn’t think possible, with that fork lift fork. And again, you don’t actually have to make cute food to have a cute lunch with one of these.
Lunch time can also be play time, in fact, I encourage playing with your food when it is appropriate. One way to have a little fun is by adding novel utensils. Something the kids aren’t expecting. These cute kid-sized bamboo tongs and trainer chopsticks, are ones that my kids love.
- These are a great option for our left-handed kiddos!
- This owl pair comes with a matching fork, spoon & case!
If you have multiple kids with different dominant hands, these are a versatile option that can go from righty to lefty.
For our littlest Kids Eat In Color friends, try these Grabease forks and spoons. They are perfect for tiny hands that are still learning!
Happy eating! What’s your favorite time-saving tip for making lunches for your picky eaters? I have a 12 day rotation menu I use to keep variety and cuteness in their meals, with as little time as possible.