E loves nothing more than a packed lunch or picnic. He’s always enjoyed eating sandwiches. Ham and cheese or ham and coleslaw are usually his sandwich of choice. I use a fancy dino-shaped cutter when I remember otherwise they are bog-standard triangles with the crusts cut off. Coupled with some cheese, a few sticks of carrots a yoghurt and a drink and he’d happily go off to nursery for lunch club every Monday and Friday.
M, however, is a completely different kettle of fish. He has never gotten on with the whole sandwich thing and much prefers to have hot food for lunch. This has not really been a problem prior to starting nursery but he will eventually be attending lunch club too…. which means I have to start thinking about what non-hot food I can give him that he will eat!
Cue the lunchbox hacks workshop I was invited to by Capri-Sun to celebrate the launch of their new fruit crush range. Capri-Sun fruit crush is made from 75% fruit juice and 25% spring water and now also counts as 1 of your 5 a day.
Food Artist Grace Hall from Eats Amazing was there to show us how we could make lunches colourful and fun for our little ones. I’d not realised prior to the workshop that I had stumbled across Grace’s blog before when I was looking for inspiration for making minion cupcakes and I’d also seen her amazing bento style lunches that she makes for her son on the Mail Online website.
On the day, I arrived with hubby and the boys at Maggie and Rose in Kensington where we were treated to warm pastries, orange juice and tea – just what was needed to get everyone ready for the morning’s activities. I lost count of the number of pastries the boys ate – they went down very well indeed!
The setup was split into two for the morning. The children were going to be treated to a Jackson Pollock-inspired workshop along with some singing and games whilst the mums were in a separate room learning how to make fun lunches with Grace.
According to Capri-Sun’s research, the average mum spends around 10 minutes a day making packed lunches for their children. Grace showed us how to make a very cute dinosaur themed lunch in under 5 minutes – we even timed her to see if it was do-able!
The result? So simple yet effective. Using some basic tools like silicon cupcake cases to section out different compartments for food whilst also bringing a splash of colour to the lunchbox and then adding in some dinosaur toothpicks. Instantly we have a fabulous dino-themed lunch. Something I know my boys would love the look of!
Next up, it was our turn to create a Woodland theme inspired lunch. Our first task was to make a little mouse from a hard-boiled egg. We cut a piece out to create a flat surface for the mouse to sit on. Using the piece that was cut out we then created the ears which slotted into the top of the egg. We then finished the mouse off with an edible food pen to mark the eyes and nose and some spaghetti strands for the whiskers.
We then attempted a Woodland Owl sandwich using various different sized cutters and some edible eyes.
To accompany the Owl and the mouse we also made a cute babybel owl, acorns dipped in melted chocolate and leaf-shaped carrots. A lunch so pleasing to the eye that I think any adult or child would love!
Whilst we were busy creating this Woodland lunch, the kiddies were busy creating their masterpieces. Judging the amount of paint E had on him I think a lot of fun was had!
I had so much fun and learnt lots of tips and tricks as to how I could make lunches fun and appealing for my boys here are some of the tips Grace shared:
- For an all-round lunch that ticks all the boxes aim to pack 1 each of carb, protein, veg, dairy and fruit
- Keep your eyes out for fun items to pack in your children’s lunchboxes such as mini peppers and mini bananas
- Don’t be afraid to use different types of bread – pitta, wraps, muffins etc so that your children don’t get bored of eating the same thing
- Use cutters to make sandwiches fun – even mini play dough ones!
- Add grated vegetables to sandwiches. Things like beetroot and carrot so that you tick the “veg” box (see bullet no 1)
- Put food on sticks and make creatures out of them. Grapes on a stick and add eyes instantly makes a caterpillar
- Use cupcake toppers, character picks and mini toys to instantly make a lunchbox more appealing and fun
Check out the video below of our morning at the lunchbox hacks workshop
* I was invited to London as a guest of Capri-Sun. We received a goody bag at the end of the event. All images and opinions are my own.