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veggiebentoBetween homework, tests, bullies and the typical friendship drama, school can put a lot of pressure on a kid. Lunchtime is often the toughest part of the day, as the order of the classroom gives way to the chaotic social structure of the schoolyard. Luckily, the lunch hour also offers the best chance for you to connect with your child by spicing up what's in that lunchbox or brown paper bag.

Shape Up!

PB&J with a side of baby carrots gets old fast. A simple change of the menu can add an extra uplifting treat to their day. Whether you're looking for a quick, one-step idea or an elaborate creative endeavor, the ways you can put a spin on school lunches are limitless. 

bread-2Photo Credit: barbaragameaukelley.com

Cookie cutters aren't only for the holidays! Changing the shape of the food you prepare is probably the easiest way to give lunch a new look. Using a fun-shaped cutter can create a world of creative possibilities all year round. A dinosaur shaped sandwich can be much more fun to eat, even if it's made with whole grain wheat bread. Thick fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe can easily be turned into tiny letters that can be laid out to send a loving or funny message.

Slicing up fruits and veggies into smaller, bite-sized pieces will make the lunch's healthier options look less intimidating and your kids will be much more likely to finish that part of their meal. 

A New Look...

A stereotypical lunch centers around the sandwich, but two slices of bread can get awfully dull. Mini-kebobs offer an excellent alternative! Small slices of turkey, bread, and low-fat cheese can all fit nicely on a small pretzel or bread stick. Three or four of these little treats can provide the same nutritional value as a sandwich with the added bonus of being fun to eat. 

Food coloring can make the sides of the meal much more interesting. Ranch dressing, hummus, and yogurt are instantly transformed into exotic treats with just a few drops. Also lunches with an overall theme, like outer space or the ocean, are much more easy to achieve by adding food coloring to the mix. 

RaH AUG14 FC ART 425x305 1 9FunSchoolLunchIdeasPhoto Credit: RightatHome.com

For creatively ambitious parents, a sharp knife and a little know how is all you'll need to take your kid's lunch to the next level. Strawberries and cucumbers can be turned into , while pieces of tortilla or cheese can be carved into shapes that fit an . 

The typical ingredients of a PP&J can also be reimagined in jelly-filled muffin form by taking a little extra time to prepare the food. You can check out the easy to follow recipe from RightAtHome.com by clicking .

So wherever your creativity takes you, know that every bit of effort you put into making a unique lunch can be all your kid needs to have the best, and tastiest, day ever. 

Test your crafty lunch making skills with this cool edible flower!

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