I rarely put anything on my blog on Saturdays, but I was so busy Friday that I didn't get a chance to sit at the computer.
This lunch might look like it took a long time to put together, but it really only took about 10 minutes.
I went to the grocery store to buy some produce that we ran out of a few days ago. When I got home, I put some eggs on the stove to boil, and I cut up the cantaloupe into kind of "slabs" so I could use a mini cutter to make a ton of flowers in a hurry, and tucked them away in the fridge.
I washed the grapes and portioned them out in clear containers so everyone would see them and eat them for snacks instead of saying, "Mom! There's nothing to eat!"
While the eggs were cooking, I hollowed out some grape tomatoes and filled them with softened cream cheese mixed with a little Mrs. Dash. I keep a pastry bag with a big star tip in a drawer in my kitchen so I can make all kinds of ordinary foods look "fancy" : ) I put about 2 dozen of these tomatoes in a container in the fridge to use for dressing up future lunches.
I decided to try making my sandwiches the day before, just to see how my gluten-free bread would hold up ( it was good the next day!).
Then I drained the eggs, peeled them, and put them in the fridge for future lunches and snacks. We do eat a lot of eggs in our house : )
I'd say I spent about an hour or less doing this, along with washing a few dishes, talking to my kids, and maybe putting a load of clothes in the dryer. So yes, it DOES take time to make your food look beautiful, but I have things stashed in the fridge to help make several lunches go together quickly in the morning. I could use my time to do a dozen other important things, but I've decided that it's worth it to spend time preparing healthy food. When it's in the fridge, ready to eat, it does get eaten... (speaking of which- my son found my secret stash of cantaloupe flowers in the fridge and he ate almost all of them! I told him if it looks cute, he has to ask before eating, ha ha ) I make it just as fast to grab fruits, veggies, or lean healthy proteins as it would be to rip open a package of something to eat. Then I can keep most of those packaged foods out of the house.
Then, in the morning, I arranged my food in my bento box ( along with my husband's lunch), and added a few details. I learned how to cut those cool radishes from Sheri of Happy Little Bento. She has a tutorial here that is really helpful!
Here's what was in my lunch: ham and cream cheese sandwiches on homemade GF bread cut with a flower cutter; boiled egg, radish, carrots, and sugar snap peas; a few of those cream cheese stuffed tomatoes, cantaloupe, grapes, and hummus to dip the veggies in. I put my sandwiches on a bed of leafy lettuce to keep it from touching the other foods and getting soggy. I use silicone cups for some of the other foods for the same reason.
Here are some of the things I used to make this lunch, and where to buy them: