Three cheers for all you Bento box mamas out there. I used to sort of hate you because I felt like your creativity indicated some inherent flaw in me that I really didn’t care to have pointed out. But I’ve come to realize that most of you who are crafty and are able to create full scenes worthy of a magazine spread in your child’s lunch box every day really do get a lot of joy out of it. It’s not about me, or how decidedly lacking in skills it makes me feel. It’s about bringing a smile to your kid’s face. And so I say to you, rock on, mama!
As for me, my child will not be eating food items that I turned into panda bears or the ocean floor. But I haven’t given up on creativity altogether. Sometimes you just have to re-think it a bit and take an easier approach.
Wanna hear my fun lunch box idea? Go with a picnic theme (hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.) and to add a bit of flare and to make your child giggle, your picnic needs to get invaded by ants, big-time.
Enter California Raisins!
My daughter is more partial to hot dogs than hamburgers, so I went in that direction. She’s only 5, though, so half a hot dog is going to be enough for her. Half a hot dog is not cute in a picture, though! 🙂
What’s a picnic (or a hot dog, for that matter) without some slaw? I’ve left it to the side so that the bun doesn’t get soggy. You could switch this out for potato salad, relish, or whatever you think might appeal most to your child. Also include a few carrot chips, because they are fun to pair with the slaw to turn it into a dip.
The problem with this picnic definitely started with peanut butter that was meant for the apples. You can see that the “ants” (yummy California Raisins!) are going to town on it! All you need to do is cut your apple into slices and put them in a bag with a bit of water and a squirt of lemon juice (this keeps them from browning). The ants won’t be able to get inside the bag to the apples, but they should be covering the peanut butter. And let me just tell you, apples dipped in peanut butter and raisins is SO good. I’m keeping it in mind as a snack for myself, too!
Depending on how old your kid is, and therefore, how much food they need in their lunch box, you can add other elements (watermelon comes to mind as a picnic-worthy addition). Once you have your lunch complete, it’s time to add those extra raisins all around. I think kids will have great fun finding raisins all over the place as they eat their meals. Raisins are such a fun, naturally sweet snack, and so I think kids will have no problem “exterminating” them on the spot! They will also be very easy to take off the food (to each his own, but a raisin hot dog is not really my jam).
California Raisins, whether you turn them into ants or not, really are a great item for the lunch box. They fall in line with clean eating practices, which is what we strive for. Go ahead and check out the ingredient list on the box of raisins in your pantry, or the next time you are in the store. It likely says, “raisins.” That’s it! Woo hoo! They are also the most economical dried fruit out there, and they are fat free, cholesterol free, and have 9% of your daily fiber and 6% of your daily iron in 1/4 cup. They are also a wonderful option for anyone who doesn’t have a way to provide temperature control for their lunches. Hot, cold, or in between, raisins don’t mind! If you want more ideas about fun ways to incorporate California Raisins into your lunches or snacks, check out the California Raisins Facebook page (you can sign up to receive a California Raisins prize pack, there, while supplies last!).
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.