food

Creating Fun Bento Lunches for Toddlers

foodmeal plan

I have a 2.5-year-old and several months ago, his daycare provider noticed that he wasn't eating many of the lunches I was sending with him. He was getting pretty bored with the same foods every day. I decided that it was time to be a bit proactive and purchased a few supplies to help cut his lunches into shapes. There's been a bento craze hitting lunch boxes over the past couple of years, and I finally gave into the craze.

toddler bento foods

Creating Fun Bento Lunches for Toddlers

Following are a few tips I found worked for my child.

1. My son doesn't love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but he does like jelly sandwiches. If I cut the bread into various shapes, it makes it more fun for him to play with his food - right before he eats it. I have a set of bread cutters that make a car, whale, elephant and dog.

threepiece

I also have another set of sandwich cutters that make a cat, frog, bear or pig face. That set alone makes four different sandwiches.

panda

2. Shaped cheese. Sometimes I cut his cheese into animal shapes. Other days, I go for the star, circle or even flower shapes. He's learning shapes, and it's apparently a lot of fun to eat stars!

cheeseshapes

3. Lunch bag. My boy received a really cute lunch bag for Christmas last year. He's just now realizing how fun it is to put stuff in the bag and he helps put everything in the bag. The bag we have is from Skip Hop Zoo, and can be found on Amazon.

4. "Bento" lunchboxes. Sometimes putting the food in a different container makes a world of difference. We have one container that is split into three smaller containers. Great for leftovers like macaroni and cheese, fruit, graham crackers, etc. We have another container that fits his sandwiches great on the bottom and two other smaller items on the top - it's red and it has a monkey to match his lunch bag. In this photo, I actually sent peanut butter cracker "sandwiches" for him one day.

lunchbox

5. Food picks/accessories. We have some of the food picks, but I haven't yet used them in his foods. I don't think I'd recommend them for a two-year-old. I've seen these used by some of my friends, and they look so fun.

foodpicks

Using the bread or cheese cutters takes just a few extra seconds when making his lunches. Knowing that he's eating his food now that it's "fun" is definitely worth the time. All of the accessories I've used for cutting his sandwiches and cheese were purchased from Bento USA. Cookie cutters also work well!

How do you like to make meal time fun for your kids?

jaimemckee Jaime McKee lives in Asheville, NC and is a wife, toddler mom and obsessed with her cat. She's an avid runner and self-proclaimed crafty person. She's been blogging since 2005, when it wasn't so cool to have a blog. You can find her at lovejaime.com, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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