When Augie returns to school in a few weeks, he will be eating lunch there for the first time. He was in half day kindergarten last year, so eating lunch in the cafeteria is a pretty big change for him. It seems like a small thing, but when you’re six-years-old small things can be a big deal! In an effort to start prepping him for lunch at school, I asked him if he’d like to try packing his lunch himself sometimes in the coming year. His response: very enthusiastic!
We decided to do a test run earlier this week and it was fun for me to watch where his imagination took him. It was also fun for me to see how much he’s gleaned about packing cute bento lunches from hearing me talk, looking at my book — and from eating them, of course!
When I asked him to start picking the food to put in his lunch he spotted a bowl of melon balls in the fridge first thing. I bought both yellow and red watermelons when I did my weekly shopping trip and I used a melon-baller to prep them. He told me that the yellow and red mixed together looked like lava so he decided he would pack a volcano lunch. Cool!
We pulled all the ingredients for his lunch together, along with a lunch box and he set to work!
The first step was easy: spoon some watermelon balls into one of the containers from the lunch box.
Next, he wanted some cucumber slices. I was a little worried about having him use a sharp knife on the tough cucumber skin, so I helped him with that part.
But when it was time to slice the cucumber I let him give it a shot. Augie doesn’t help me with veggie prep too often, but he’s done it a few times and he’s getting good with a paring knife. I watch him closely when he uses it to make sure he doesn’t cut himself, but he’s mostly got it down.
When he finished cutting the cucumber he filled a small dipping container with hummus. That part was not quite as tidy. Many napkins were involved.
After I gave the outside of the little cup a quick wipe-down, Augie executed his creative idea. He put the hummus in the middle of another container and explained that was the lava. Then he packed cucumber slices around it to act as the rocks that made up the volcano.
Then it was sandwich time. He opted for sunflower butter and jelly and when I suggested that he might want a little more sunflower butter on the bread he scoffed.
“Mom, this sandwich is not about the sunflower butter! It’s allllll about the jelly.”
“Really? Why’s that? I thought you liked sunflower butter.”
“I do, but jelly has lots more sugar,” he explained matter-of-factly.
At least he’s listening….
He cut the crusts off his sandwich and then cut it into two triangles. You probably already see where he’s going with this. Yes, the triangles are more volcanoes! He then pulled out some orange and red food-coloring markers from my bento stash and used them to draw lava on the bread.
If you ask me, this step was unnecessary because the jelly was already erupting out of the bread, but it did look good!
Finally it was time to add a treat! He chose a Horizon Mixed Berry Super Squeeze — a perennial favorite in our house — and added that to the final compartment in the lunch box.
“Why did you pick the Super Squeeze, Augie?”
“Because when you squeeze it it erupts like a…”
Wait for it…. You know what’s coming!
He was so proud of his volcano lunch and I think he did an excellent job! I loved how carefully he thought about which foods would fit his volcano theme and I think he packed a nicely balanced lunch.
Do your kids ever pack creative lunches? What inventive themes have they chosen?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.