Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Pilgrim Girl Lunch

healthy school lunch cutezcute pilgrim girl easylunchboxes
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Since she likes little girl characters in her lunches, and she's been nagging at me to use this "witch hat" cupcake topper for a while, I decided I'd try my hand at a pilgrim! Actually, I had started out with the idea of making a cute animal with the pilgrim hat, but decided on a girl after remembering a cute witch I'd seen done with the CuteZCute cutter (also available at Amazon) over at Bento, Monsters.

Thankful Pilgrim
quick and easy healthy school lunch
Ham and cheese on artisan Rosemary Bread sandwich, TJ's White Cheddar Popcorn, raspberries, green beans
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I added a turkey cupcake pick to make the raspberries more festive, and the Trader Joe's White Cheddar Popcorn to help fill the empty space. Plus it's a whole grain, and not a ton of fat or salt, versus other snack foods. And green beans. You know. For veggies. Did the pilgrims and Indians have these foods? Other than the popcorn, probably not. But I was going for things she'd eat that I have on-hand, rather than authenticity!

You can check out the witch tutorial for a general idea of how I made the sandwich, although instead of a toothpick or knife, I flipped the cutter and used the ear part to cut the sides of the hair. I tried to not let it cut through the top, but I kind of failed. Doh! I used a faces cutter to make eyes and lips out of ham scraps, not that you can really tell. I should have gone with a white cheese, even though I would have had to open a string cheese to do it! I glued everything together with cream cheese, and added some black sesame seeds to make the eyes stand out better.

To get the hat to stay on, since it's just a hollow cupcake topper (found at a bake shop somewhere) and not a pick, I stuck two pieces of uncooked spaghetti noodles into the bread to hold the hat in place. Then I scootched the whole sandwich up so the hat was pressing against the top of the EasyLunchbox compartment, so it wouldn't slide off the noodles! The lid pressed flush against the brim of the hat. Phew! Perfect fit!
(The nose-thing in the middle is actually a bit of rosemary baked into the bread.)

I rarely show before and after pictures, since her eating habits fluctuate based on what I packed, when she last ate, etc. But since starting this new morning preschool, she's been doing a bang-up job eating her lunches, especially the veggies. I've also been packing less food (hence all the silicone cups in the smaller compartments - to fill space and add color, so they don't look as empty!) to make just a meal's worth, since we're no longer nibbling throughout the day.
I send her lunch to school, instead of a "safe" snack, like with her afternoon preschool, because if she filled up on snacks right before lunch (they have snack then goodbye circle and songs, then home) she wouldn't have enough room for healthy lunch choices. Plus she's primed to crave healthier options, since they've just had recess before snack (see below.) Although some days, like this day, they don't have time for snack, but they come home soon after, where she then eats her lunch. But the days they do have time to eat snack, she comes home with less than half of her food (one time she had eaten every last morsel, and needed seconds at home!) and eats most or all of the rest in the hour we have before we leave for her afternoon preschool.
why kids should eat after recess
(No, she did not eat the hat. She was off playing with it!)
The Secret to her Eating Success:
Her new preschool has the kids go to recess before snack time. I read somewhere a while ago that kids who eat after exercising not only eat more, they make healthier choices (scroll down on the link to check out the comparison charts.) Their bodies crave the nutrients that they've burned with all their physical activity, so their bodies want the fruits, veggies, proteins and grains, and less of the fats. On the flip side, kids who eat before recess tend to be sluggish and full, and less active! (Plus they eat less and tend to choose junkier options.)
So if your child's school does recess after lunch, be proactive! Tell your school and PTA the benefits of recess before lunch and try and make a positive change for the health of every child! Google "should kids eat before or after recess" for a ton more articles and resources.

Tools of the Trade
CuteZcute Bento Food Deco Cutter and Pastry Press Kit     Food Decorating Pick 3D Turkey   Decorative Bento Cutter Ham Cheese Cutter Set 14 Facial Expression

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