Lunchbox Dad's Simple Summer is here!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lunchbox Dad readers, the summer is here and many families have a change of schedule.  You are on the go with play dates, day trips, visits to amusement parks, and swim lessons.  This doesn't mean that you have to eat unhealthy meals or that the meals need to be dull and boring.

Lunchbox Dad's Simple Summer is all about giving you ideas to make healthy, fun meals for your whole family with ease.  For the next 8 weeks, I will be posting meal ideas that are easy to do for 3 people, 5 people, or even more!

I will post my own ideas on Mondays and also post some fun ideas, from talented lunchmaking friends of mine, throughout the week.  The ingredients will still be easy to find at your local store and be generally pretty healthy and definitely fun.  Your time is at a a premium this summer and these won't take long to make either.

Check-in this Monday for my first one--A 4th of July lunch.  Get all the ideas you will need for a great 4th of July meal on the go!

Win a FREE copy of my new book Adventures in Lunchboxing!!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Funny Face Dried Cranberries is giving you a chance win a FREE copy of my new book.  All you have to do is visit their Facebook page and submit a picture in their summer scavenger hunt.

The contest runs Monday June 21-Saturday June 29.  Enter now for a chance to win!

Week 38 and final week of School Year 1: Tinker Bell

Tinkerbell kids bento lunch in

Week 38: Tinker Bell.  I don't know how long my daughter has wanted me to make her this lunch.  Who doesn't like the story of Peter Pan, Wendy, the Lost Boys, and of course Tink!  I actually did it a few weeks ago and finally am able to post it.  It is actually one of my favorites as well, so I saved it for last.
Everyone keeps asking me if I am going to run out of ideas.  But you know kids, they come up with something new that they like all the time, so I'm not worried.  But since it is the end of the school year, I am switching gears a bit and am going to introduce Lunchbox Dad's "Simple Summer" next week.  You wont want to miss it and the debut will help you if you need some ideas on what to make for the $4th of July.  Anyway, enjoy making this lunch and don't be intimidated--you can do it parents!  By the way this was made in an Easy Lunch Boxes Container, check them out, they are great!
1 slice whole wheat bread
1 handful of fresh spinach
1 slice of white, 1 slice of cheddar cheese
1 hard-boiled egg
1 strawberry, cut into triangles
1 spinach tortilla wrap
1 serving apple sauce
1 apple slice
1 handful of cork screw pasta, cooked
1 Tbsp. white sprinkles
   Yellow, blue, and red food coloring

  1. Using the template as a guide, cut Tinker Bell’s dress out of spinach wrap tortilla.  Use the guide again to trim a piece of white cheese to form her shoulders and arms.  Cut separate pieces for legs and head as shown in picture.  Trim cheddar cheese in the shape of Tinker Bell’s hair.
  2. Cut egg white into two oval pieces of Tinker Bell’s larger wings and one piece of egg into small circular wing.
  3. Use round cookie cutter or a water glass as a guide to cut the slice of bread into a circle.  Shape cheese into six small tulip shapes and two butterflies.  
  4. Place spinach in the container as the background.  Arrange bread, cheese pieces, strawberries, and egg wings on spinach.  Place dress on top of Tinker Bell’s body.
  5. Mix equal parts yellow, blue, and red food coloring in a small bowl to make the color black.  Dip the end of a toothpick in the black coloring and use it to draw the details on Tinker Bell’s face.  Use blue food coloring for eyes.  
  6. Fill small container with applesauce.  Cut apple slice into the letters T-I-N-K.  Place apple letters on top of applesauce.
  7. In second side dish, arrange pasta in circular shape as shown.  Set cheese butterflies on top of pasta.
  8. Finish by randomly placing white sprinkles around Tinker Bell.  
Have a great last week of school and make sure to check back later for Lunchbox Dad's Simple Summer.  Also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for all of your updates and more!

PlanetBox Shuttle Product Review

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

PlanetBox Shuttle Review

The PlanetBox Shuttle is the newest product in the PlanetBox line.  Planetbox desires to make all-in-one lunch containers that are durable, non-toxic, and dishwasher safe.  It sells for $39.95 on  To read more about the company and their mission scroll down to check out my review of their PlanetBox Rover.

The Shuttle is the smallest box in their line and I was skeptical at first.  It measures 7.75”x5.2”x2” and is made completely out of stainless steel with one hinge.  There are only two compartments, but a leak proof dipper container is included, as well as a magnet set to decorate the top.  Click here to see the 4th of July Simple Summer meal I made in the PlanetBox Shuttle!

When I first inspected the box, I could see it was as durable as the larger Rover, and would probably clean up as easily in the dishwasher (after testing it does).  The lunch box and dippers are dishwasher safe, but the case must be spot cleaned.  I just couldn’t figure out how I would pack more than a large snack in there! I set to work and found out that the Shuttle is actually a beautifully simple alternative to larger, more complicated lunch boxes.  I found it very easy to pack a smaller meal in this box.  The larger compartment can fit something as big as a sandwich and a small side dish, such as sliced fruit, will fit well in the other compartment.  My six-year-old daughter ate almost her whole lunch and didn’t go hungry.

The Shuttle can also be bought with a carrying case for $5 more.  The case is made to be able to match the design of the magnet set.  It has a small carry handle on the top.  There are two drawbacks with this case, however.  The first one is that it is very hard to put a normal size ice pack inside it.  This makes it almost a necessity to buy the optional PlanetBox ice pack, which does fit inside.  It also does not include a shoulder strap for those who prefer to carry bags in this manner.

The Shuttle is best suited for younger children, or those with smaller appetites.  It could also work well for snack time during a play date, day trip, or after swim lessons.  If you choose the Shuttle I recommend purchasing the case and also the ice pack.  When you factor in these two options, the total price might raise some eyebrows.  However, because of its durable build, the Shuttle should last for a very long time.  It can be purchased with case from for $39.95.

Disclosure: PlanetBox sent me this product to review.  I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.


Week 37: Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pirates easy kids lunch in easy lunch boxes

Week 37: Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  Yo Ho!  Let’s Go!  If you have never seen the Jake and the Neverland Pirates cartoon, it’s pretty good.  My kids are really into pirates right now and they love this show.  It is on the Disney channel.  The show is loosely based on Peter Pan and also stars Captain Hook and Smee.  This is one lunch my daughter has been begging for.  Since this is one of the last lunch opportunities of the school year (I have one more coming next week!) I decided to finally tackle this one.  This was made in an Easy Lunch Boxes container.  If your kids like Jake, then try out this lunch, but only use your pixie dust in an emergency!

--2 slices whole wheat bread
--2 slices red apple
--1 serving peanut butter and honey (or whatever your child likes in a sandwich)
--1 handful of raisins
--1 serving fat-free cream cheese
--1 handful of blueberries (or another fruit or veggie your kids like)
--2-3 strawberries
--1 slice of white cheese
--1 small handful Pirate’s Booty puffs
--Black and green food coloring

1.  Cut a slice of bread in the shape of Jake’s face as shown.  Don’t worry about his hair yet, just cut up to the bandanna.  Repeat with a second slice.  Put whatever you want in between to make a sandwich.  Place sandwich in your container.

2. Cut spiky hair out of the large scraps of bread.  Spread cream cheese on the hair and cover with raisins.  Put his hair on top of his head.  Slice a piece of apple in the shape of the bandanna.  Slice a second piece that is shaped like the tails of the bandanna on the side of his head.  Place on head as shown.

3. Put two small blobs of cream cheese on for his eyes and a tiny amount for his mouth.  Draw on facial features using black food coloring (equal parts red, yellow, and green) and a toothpick.  Finish by making Jake’s eyes green.

4. Spread your child’s favorite fruit or veggies around the face as a background.  I used blueberries.

5.  In one side dish arrange sliced strawberries.  Cut out the words “Yo Ho” out of white cheese using a sharp knife.  Place cheese letters on top of strawberries.  Put Pirate’s Booty puffs as another side dish.

Have a great last week of school and stay tuned for a new summer project happening on to make your family day trip meals super easy and fun!  “Lunchbox Dad’s Simple Summer” is coming soon.   Please spread the word and remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and any other social media link I have on the right of this page.
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