I love summer time food. It’s often so lite (meaning you can eat lots) and much of it requires little prep. Raw veggies and fruit and voila - instant snacks and meal sides ready!
However....I have to confess, that even as inspiring the summer foods are, I still get stuck in rut when it comes to fixing meals. Even the same different foods (does that even make sense) can still create such a rut.
Fortunately my boys (the little ones and my hubby) don’t seem to complain or mind it. But, still, something different (and EASY) is always great. Novelty is a great source of inspiration for me from time to time.
A couple of years ago, I became fond of using muffin tins as ways to present food to my toddler. I came across the idea after stumbling on a blog that mentioned “Muffin Tin Mondays” (sorry, I can’t remember the original one I stumbled across - it may have been Sycamore Stirrings or Michelle’s Journal Corner aka “Muffin Tin Mom”). You can Google that phrase ("Muffin Tin Mondays") and see several blogs for inspiration!
The idea behind using a muffin tin is much like using a bento box. The thing that is so nice in using these tools is that it gives you a good sense of portion control (not serving too much for small bellies). Also, filling up the different compartments helps you visualize a little more clearly how much of each food group you are giving. Besides all of that important stuff...it’s just a fun and different way to introduce food (or presenting the same stuff in a new way). Also, since there is a whole little world of “Muffin Tin” fanatics, there are also a wealth of ideas on foods that are great for toddlers. SOoooo many that I haven’t explored. I’d also like to get my hands on some of those bento tools that make ordinary foods into unique shapes (I’ve yet to find a store in my area that carries this type of thing).
If you like this idea you should really check out Laptop Lunches. I learned about them through an article a couple of years ago in “Parents” magazine. It has the bento idea as well. I bought one when my oldest was 2 years old for his 2 day preschool experience. It was nice to be able to send him with something that he could take care of himself. You simply open the box and the food is there unwrapped and sitting where it should be. It also makes it easier for the teachers, not having to unwrap each item and clean up trash afterwards (I've been asked several times by teachers or other parents where I bought them because of this). They are a little pricier than your traditional lunchbox, but ours has been worth the investment due to the simplicity, durability, and longevity (not a character lunchbox, so it grows with your child). Be sure to check out their website, too for some great lunchbox ideas with pictures!
I wish I had my own pics to show you of these ideas...but alas, my camera is still out of the picture (I know *groan* at my little pun).
One last favorite: “Deceptively Delicious,” by Jessica Seinfeld. I pulled that one back out for more creative ways to add extra veggies to our diets. You can read more on that great book in a few of our archived articles. Also, fyi, I saw in the Sunday circulars this week that you can now purchase this book for only $5 at Kohl’s right now (part of their Kohl’s Cares Causes Merchandise).
Please, please, PLEASE, share your ideas of easy lunches and snacking ideas that your kids love!!!! I have 2 boys (and another on the way), so I think “food” will always be a big deal at our house ;-D ...plus, don’t forget that if you comment you are automatically entered into our most recent giveaway.
What’s for lunch?