[twitter]Charlie started full time school this year. That meant packing a lunch. While we’re thrilled that he’s thriving at school, the thought of packing a lunch for him every day has had us stressed. He’s 4, so he’s a picky-ish eater (aside: did you see that You Have To F*cking Eat is coming out!?).

Ask Charlie what he wants for lunch and he’ll say peanut butter and jam. While that’s fine at home, it doesn’t fly at school. So now what?

Simple Tips For School Lunches

We keep the lunches simple. Maybe some soup or noodles that his teacher can re-heat in the class microwave (so lucky to have that).

If I’m making a sandwich, I buy the mini slider size buns so that a) there isn’t so much bread b) they’re kid hand sized.

We’re lucky the kids eat vegetables, so I toss in some carrots, a mini cucumber (greatest thing ever), or some sliced red pepper.

A mini Nature Valley granola bar, or cookie, and then a dairy of cheese, milk, or some yogurt. Lately the yogurt has been Yoplait Tubes with Monsters U or Scooby Doo on the side. (Pro tip: freeze them and they help to keep your kids’ lunch cold throughout the morning and thaw out by lunch!)

The Bento Lunch Backlash Begins

Which got me thinking .. would a bento lunch of characters widen Charlie’s lunch menu? Would he suddenly be interested in nori, edamame, and rice if it was shaped like Scooby, Sully, or Mike?

The Pinterest Bento Lunch

Monsters U Bento LunchBeau Coffron is Lunchbox Dad. He’s the dad that turns his kids lunches into a wild adventure of superheros, cartoon characters, and movie stars.

I love seeing Beau’s bentos float through my stream. His lunches are wonderful, but he also gives instructions for you and I to tryto make the creative, Pinterest-worthy  bento lunches. The Mike and Sully Monsters U bento means making the one eyed monster out of a kiwi while dyeing cream cheese blue to make the furry Sully. I loved it.

Then this week a headline I Suck At Making School Lunches weaved its way through my social stream. In it, Karen Alpert echoes my own stresses at having to make lunch for a picky kid every day. Then she swerved into a mindless four letter rant attacking the Pinterest perfect bento lunch boxes she sees online. She never mentions seeing them in the class, just online. She feels unworthy. She doesn’t think she measures up. And so the rant. A long, curse filled, senseless rant.

The feedback got back to Beau. The “ain’t nobody got time for that?” comments started to filter into his stream and he posted them and proclaimed he would stop making lunch fun for his kids. Then he doubled back. Beau doesn’t post his bento lunches to brag. He posts them because he likes making lunch fun for his kids, and he wants to inspire other people to try and do the same. He’s not saying make an Iron Man bento out of lunch meat and cheese, he’s just saying have some fun.

Iron Man Bento LunchActually, you know what? This one looks like something Charlie would eat AND I could do!

I’m Just Trying To Find Something My Kid Will Eat Too

Listen, Karen Alpert, I’m not a fan of the Pinterest perfect world either. I see the beautifully soft white lit artsy craftsy foodie stuff and know I could never do that. But I think the same way when I read Bon Appetit, or Martha Stewart Living, or any other perfectly styled magazine. Still, every now and again, I rip out a page, or bookmark a website, or repin something.. and then I try it. That’s what it’s there for right? Aspirational inspiration to maybe one day try something different.

Here’s the thing, we don’t have to keep up with Beau and his bento box lunches just like I don’t have to keep up with Brent and his super hero lunch notes. Charlie doesn’t need Mike and Sully made out of grapes and seaweed in his lunch, he’s happy seeing their goofy faces on the side of his Yoplait Tubes and getting a crude happy face in his lunch bag from mommy or daddy.

And I’m happy he’s discovered Yoplait Tubes, because it’s one more thing I can pull out of my bag of tricks to pack in his lunch tomorrow.

Ugh.. is it time to pack a lunch again already?

Disclosure: I am a paid brand ambassador for Life Made Delicious.

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