Just because my kids eat school dinners doesn’t mean that they don’t need a packed lunch occasionally and I have been a fan of Grace at Easts Amazing for a long time. Her lunches looks fantastic and really aspirational, however, as you can see from the fab post from Grace below they are easily achievable with some planning using what you have in your home.
Allow me to introduce myself – I’m Grace, mum of two boys, and I usually blog over at Eats Amazing, where I share ideas and inspiration for presenting healthy children’s food in new and exciting ways. I’m probably most well-known for the creative bento-style lunches that I make daily for my older son, and that is why I am here today. Jen very kindly asked me to share a week’s worth of my packed lunches with you, and I was very happy to oblige
Making a packed lunch day in, day out can quickly become a very boring task, and when my son first started school I wasn’t looking forward to the endless lunch packing I could see stretching ahead of me. I had already struggled to keep them interesting when I was only packing two lunches a week for pre-school, so when I stumbled across some photos of bento lunches online I was instantly attracted to the idea. As well as being eco-friendly, bento boxes are incredibly flexible – depending on the box that you choose to use you really can pack almost any food in them. Initially, I primarily concentrated on packing healthy foods, but I soon discovered that with a tiny bit of extra effort I could get creative with the lunches too, and have never looked back! I estimate that I have made close to 400 lunches to date, and I’m still enjoying the process! I’ve picked out five of my favourite packed lunches to share with you today.
This frog themed lunch was packed in a fun lunchbox made by TUMTUM. I packed some roast beef sandwiches on wholemeal bread, a mini Babybel cheese, cucumber slices, a mandarin orange, a few raspberries and a strawberry, plus a portion of mixed cranberries and raisins. I made it extra fun by cutting the sandwiches into frog shapes (using a special cutter kit by CuteZcute, which comes with an outer cutter and several interchangeable animal faces), cutting triangles from the cucumber to make lily pads, peeling the orange and gently pulling apart the segments to make a flower, cutting a flower into the wax of the Babybel cheese using a mini cutter, and adding a grass shaped silicone divider and some food picks (frogs, a leaf and a bee) to decorate. I also created a few edible flies by adding sunflower seeds wings to some of the raisins.
This zoo themed lunch was fun to make and simpler than it looks. It’s packed in the Yumbox (one of my favourite lunch boxes), which has in-built compartments that make packing bento lunches really easy. The food was made up of some home-made tortilla crisps (to make, cut shapes from a tortilla wrap, brush them with oil and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes), houmous, a Babybel cheese, a hard-boiled egg, cucumber slices and some strawberries and red grapes. I made it fun by using an elephant cutter on the tortilla crisps, popping the Babybel into a silicone cupcake case and adding alphabet food picks, shaping the egg into a panda using an egg mould (egg moulds are really easy to use and so effective!), cutting the cucumber slices into flowers and adding cute animal food picks and a few grass shaped silicone dividers.
I made this tortoise themed lunch to celebrate world turtle day. The food was a wholemeal pitta bread, stuffed with mayo, lettuce and slices of roast beef, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, a couple of strawberries and a peeled and sliced kiwi fruit. I got creative with it by turning the pitta bread and carrot sticks into a tortoise (I drew the details on with an edible marker pen), cutting ‘bite marks’ from the cucumber using the edge of a mini hand shaped cutter and adding food picks (alphabet, clover and leaf picks) to decorate.
This Hairy Maclary lunch was part of a series of special book themed lunches that I made for World Book Day earlier this year. It was a simple lunch – a quesadilla (tortilla wrap filled with cheddar cheese, chopped ham, finely chopped red pepper and chopped tomato before toasting in a dry frying pan), grapes and natural yoghurt. I turned it into a themed lunch by drawing Hairy Maclary on the tortilla with edible marker pens, adding dog picks to the grapes and freezing the yoghurt into bone shapes using a silicone mould. I often get asked about the frozen yoghurt shapes – to keep the lunch cool I pack the lunchbox in an insulated bag with a small ice pack above and below it. I’m told that the frozen yoghurt usually holds its shape but is soft enough to eat with a spoon by lunchtime.
This star themed lunch was packed in a tiered Japanese bento box. The food was a quick pasta salad – pasta, finely chopped yellow pepper and carrot with a simple dressing of olive oil and white wine vinegar. In the second tier I packed shredded ham, a mini Babybel cheese and some cucumber slices. I also added a reusable food pouch filled with yoghurt and an apple to his lunch bag (not shown). I made this lunch fun by using space-themed pasta shapes, cutting stars from the carrot and pepper with a mini cutter, adding rocket food picks to the ham, cutting a star from the wax of the Babybel and popping it into a star-shaped silicone cupcake case and cutting the cucumber into stars.
I hope that you feel as inspired by Grace’s lunches as I do. If you have any back to school posts then do come back and add them to the link up below: