"Back to school" season is in full swing, with store shelves stocked with pencils, backpacks, notebooks and lunchboxes. It's crazy to think that back-to-school lunches will need to be planned in just a few short weeks! It is easy to get stuck in a lunch-planning rut, especially with the limitations of a lunchbox. But packing lunches does not have to be a chore: food is an excellent canvas! We have rounded up six cute lunch ideas here to inspire you. Don't forget to check out these bento recipes and more fun food ideas for kids.
Cookie Cutter Sandwich
The sandwich is the standard fare of packed school lunches, an easy staple for parents and children alike to assemble before school. An awesome and easy spin to make the classic entrée more exciting: press a cookie cutter gently in the middle of the sandwich (not enough to break through even the first layer of bread), and then garnish the resulting imprint with cheese shapes. For a personalized touch, imprint your child's first initial and decorate it with cheese stripes or polka dots (also helpful if you have more than one child, for identification purposes).
This crafty lunch idea comes from iPackLunch.
Back to School Dinosaur
If your cookie cutter collection is unimpressive, or even nonexistent, fear not! Use a knife to cut a wavy line down the middle of your child's favorite sandwich, add some strategically-placed crackers, and now you have a very delicious dinosaur. For extra nutrition, add some greens for the dino to frolic on, like green grapes, spinach, or even slices of kiwi.
For the fun lunch idea tutorial, visit Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons.
Breakfast for Lunch
Looking for something a little "different" for a back to school lunch? Perhaps something a little more like breakfast? We think this cheesy egg ensemble looks delicious! Just be sure to pack an icepack for any and all perishable food. If cold eggs do not sound appetizing, a muffin or bagel sandwich are tasty alternatives.
For more breakfast for lunch ideas, visit Following in my Shoes.
This back-to-school lunch idea can make any child anxious to open his lunchbox! Draw inspiration from your child's favorite movie or book and craft a character out of a simple sandwich, using produce and other extras to customize. A movie-themed lunch is not only a mood-booster, but it is also fuel for lunchtime conversation. A lunch like this nutritious Wreck-It Ralph may help your child make a new best friend.
Find the Wreck-it-Ralph sandwich and more back to school lunch ideas at Lunchbox Awesome.
Packing back to school lunches might be the last thing on your mind. If you have no time to sculpt a sandwich or prepare breakfast for lunch, you can still make lunch special. Have some leftover glitter? Give the lunch bag a dusting. For a more hygienic and obvious approach, this adorable ensemble might be thrown together in minutes with googly eyes and foam stickers.
For more details, visit Cute Food For Kids.
Animal Fruit Art
Packing a lunch for a vegetarian or vegan poses unique challenges. With no bread to sculpt or cheese to use as embellishment, it is easy to despair. But wait! Vegetables and fruit can be sculpted, too! Just look at this beautiful apple turkey. When sculpting an apple, try soaking it in lime or lemon soda before assembling to prevent browning. For a more savory take, you might try whittling a large carrot or radish.
Get the tutorial to make this apple turkey from Chica and Jo.
Photo credits (from top): iPackLunch, Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons, Lunchbox Awesome, Cute Food for Kids, Chica and Jo.