This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Rubbermaid, Jif, and Smucker’s, but all my opinions are my own. #aBetterLunch #pmedia

kids holding up first day of school signs for each grade theyre inI learned a long time ago that the best way to serve lunch to my picky children is to make it into something fun. Bento lunch boxes and “cute food” are all the rage these days, and my boys are HUGE fans of the trend. Bento lunches involve using a compartmentalized container to hold different components of the meal, and skilled food artisans take it much further by styling the food to look like adorable animals, flowers, shapes, and even your favorite movie and video game characters! While I admit that I’m a sucker for these sweetly styled meals, I don’t have nearly the amount of time or patience it takes to create such detailed works of food art. Not wanting to disappoint my boys, however, I have mastered the art of creating deceptively simple bento lunches – ones that look like they took a long time to create, but that add no more than 10 minutes to my lunch making process.

Rubbermaid LunchBlox Kids Kit for Better LunchesOne of my greatest discoveries during this back-to-school season was the Rubbermaid LunchBlox Kids Kit. Individual food containers snap into the Blue Ice base to keep foods cool (and can be stacked upon each other as well!). The kit is a perfect fit for their lunch boxes, and is the perfect way to build a better lunch.  I was only able to snag one kit because they have been selling out quickly at our local Target, but I’m going to pick up two more with my $2.00 LunchBlox coupons as soon as they are back in stock (luckily the coupons are valid until December 31, 2013!). The kits are also available in larger sizes for adult lunches and in sets made specifically for sandwiches and salads, so I think I might get one for myself too.

Making a PacMan Bento LunchFor my Pac-Man bento lunch, I started by making a Jif peanut butter and Smucker’s jelly sandwich. I used a pocket sandwich cutter to trim the sandwich into a circle shape and then used a food coloring marker to color the sandwich yellow. Slices of string cheese were quickly cut and colored with food coloring markers to create the “ghosts.” I used  a sharp knife to cut a triangular shape for Pac-Man’s mouth and used the black food marker to quickly add the eye detail.

pacman bento box with cute shaped snacksSee, isn’t that adorable?! I added the rest of the lunch components – pretzels, pistachios, carrot sticks and strawberries – and this cute meal is ready to go!  It’s amazing what just a few extra minutes can do to make lunchtime super fun!Heart Shaped Strawberries and Bento LunchTo make heart shaped strawberries, I simply removed the stems by cutting the top into a v-shape. I also gave a few of the pistachios smiley faces since I already had my food markers out…who doesn’t like a happy nut?

PacMan Sandwich with String Cheese Slice GhostsMy kids love that I made them something special (that they can show off to their friends at lunchtime!), and I love that they’re guaranteed to eat their healthy lunch foods when it’s in a fun package like this. I also put the rest of the string cheese into the container with the pretzels after I took this picture, because three ghost-shaped bites of cheese isn’t very much in the dairy department. Easy peasy and cute to boot!

For more ideas on what to pack your kiddos for lunch, check out 30+ school lunch ideas for picky eaters that I shared awhile ago!

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  1. This is adorable! Love the pac-man and cheese “ghosts”! And I do think that pistachios taste better when you know that they are happy. 😉

  2. I can’t get over how darn cute the Pac-Man lunch is! It looks like it took hours to make and style, so I’m impressed you were able to do this in a short amount of time! Bet your boys just loved their lunches!