Cookie cutters are one of the most versatile items in a bento box packer’s tool kit. They come in an endless array of shapes, sizes and themes.¬†They’re easy to find in kitchen, craft and department stores, and they can be purchased for very little money. If you have a few cookie cutters tucked away in a cupboard, take a few minutes to play around with them when you’re putting together your child’s lunch. Or, try some of these simple ideas:

Cut Sandwiches into Shapes

Large sandwiches can be difficult for little hands to hold, so try cutting them down to a smaller size using a cookie cutter. If you’re careful about placement you can often position the cutter on the bread so there is very little extra bread.

Decorate with Sliced Cheese or Deli Meat

After cutting a sandwich into a shape, uses smaller cutters to cut extra meat or cheese and place the shapes on top of the bread. This gives your child a visual cue about what fillings are inside her bread and it makes her lunch pretty too.

Cut Fruits or Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables can be a little tricky to cut with cutters, but their bright colors make them extra appealing as a decoration. I’ve found that it works best to slice most produce into 1/4 inch slices before attempting to cut them with cookie cutters. Some good candidates for this are¬†melon, apples, pineapple, and strawberries. Cutters also work well on bell peppers, cucumbers and carrots.

Make Larger Items Bite-sized

Cutting food into bite-sized pieces will often encourage reluctant eaters to try new foods. While a knife does the trick nicely, a small cutter accomplishes the task just as well and adds a playful touch to a meal.

Add a Little Treat

I don’t often add desserts to my children’s lunch boxes, but sometimes it’s fun to give them a little treat. When I do add a sweet I like to cut it into a fun shape to make it extra special. A little bite of brownie or a piece of fruit leather shaped like a gingerbread man can end lunch in a fun way.

Are you looking to invest in some cutters to make your child’s lunch more fun? I suggest you purchase smaller cutters in some basic shapes. Some good choices might be circles, hearts, stars or animals. If you have a choice, choose metal cutters over plastic ones because they will be able to cut through harder fruits and vegetables in addition to softer foods.