Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Muffin Tin Lunch!

When I first got on Twitter I followed lots of different kinds of people, 1. cause I had no idea what I was doing, and 2. cause I loved seeing all the different points of views and the variety of tweets. (I still follow lots of different kinds of people by the way!) One fine day, someone posted a picture of their Bento lunch and I fell in love with Bento! The artistry and creativity that people had with food just blew my mind.

I started researching designs and looking for Bento items on eBay (there are thousands!). I had visions of creating these elaborate designs for my oldest's school lunches, you know, when she was old enough to go to school, and her lunch being the envy of the class. Then I woke up.

I haven't the time nor the energy to spend an hour sculpting rice into bunny shapes, and tomatoes into roses, especially with another little on on the way (I gets no sleep yo). But the idea of the variety, fun shapes and all the colours stuck with me.

As I was clicking around in my Bento haze I happened upon a blog post about using muffin tins to make kids lunches. It was genius! I loved all the little compartments, most kids don't like their food to touch anyways so it was a perfect vehicle for kids' meals.

A Typical Muffin Tin Lunch for My 3 Year Old

1. Peanut Butter Star Sandwiches, 2. Grape halves, 3. Pretzels, 4. Celery Smiles, 5. Peach Animals, 6. Cucumber Flowers

The muffin tin forced me to come up with a variety of different foods to fill all the compartments. I had fallen into a rut lunch-wise and I was excited to try to come up with fun things to include in her tin. I raided the fridge and pantry looking for colour and lots of different textures. I pulled out cookie cutters and got to work.

Kids will eat almost anything if you cut it into fun shapes.

I couldn't get my big girl to eat sandwiches until I started turning them into stars...

... and fruit? She wouldn't move past bananas until little peach bunnies started showing up in her tin!

And who doesn't love flowery cucumbers? Now she gets excited to see what's in all her little tin circles when she sits down to lunch.

Another satisfied customer!

Muffin Tins: Not just for kids?

As I was preparing my daughter's favourite muffin tin lunch one day, I thought to myself, this could work for me! I had been trying to lose my baby weight and as I looked at the 6 muffin compartments I saw an opportunity for variety and portion control! I lost 10 lbs in a month once I started using the muffin tin to control my lunch time feast.

A typical muffin tin for Mommy: 1. Dessert! Fat Free Jell-O with light Cool Whip, 2. Celery with light Cheez Whiz, 3. Raspberries, 4. Fat Free Ham & Light Cheese skewers, 5. Salsa, 6. Multigrain Tostitos

You're only limited by your imagination. Include fruits, vegetables, crackers, sandwiches, nuts, mini muffins, deli meats, cooked chicken, jell-o, pudding, yogurt, dips, cheese, mini bagel pizas, popcorn... anything your child likes, and maybe a few they don't like cleverly disguised as dinosaurs or piggies and see if they're gobbled up by a happy kid.

I'm about to start trying the muffin tin with my youngest, but she's still in the "turning her plate upside down and throwing everything on the floor" stage so I might give it a month or two, those fruit animals take time, I'd hate to see them fly across the kitchen!


  1. So cute! Where do you get tiny cookie cutters?

  2. awesome ideas. now if that came in mini version with a lid I would totally send that to school with my kids - minus the peanut butter ; )

  3. I got one set from Pampered Chef, and another from a cooking store not unlike Stokes. Michaels and Bulk Barn carry a wide variety of tiny cookie cutters as well. I'd check cooking and baking supply stores. http://www.foxsales.ca/productdetail.asp?id=101112

  4. now you've got my wheels turning!

  5. This is a great idea! I'm going to have to try it for my almost 3yr old and myself.

  6. daaang this is a good idea! i struggle to get my kid (20mos) to eat a variety of fruit and veg. maybe those little cookie cutter tips would work? she's starting to like animal shapes.
    AND what a great idea to use this for yourself :-) i love having five or six little portions of fresh food for myself - when i was pregnant with my daughter that's pretty much what lunch and dinner looked like for me.
    great post :-) you're so cool!

  7. Thanks! I really can't take credit for the idea, much wiser moms before me came up with it, I'm just passing on the idea! :)

  8. Very cool idea! I am going to give it a try. God knows I need some way to get my kid to eat! Where do you buy your cookie cutters?

  9. I love the muffin tin idea!! Great way for portion control, which i'm sure is what i need :)

  10. This is brilliant - what a fabulous idea, I just love it. I think I will try it for my kids AND me. I am so guilty of over snacking at lunch time b/c I eat along while I'm making lunch for the kids and I consume way more than I should! So glad that you shared this!

  11. I LOVE it! Such a great idea!!

    I only have one question: What do you do with the 'leftovers' from cutting everything out? My husband is very against wasting anything... do you eat the 'trimmings' yourself?

  12. Well, usually I try to do my best to match the cutters up to the item, like the cucumbers and the flower cutter, when I cut them out they manage to just take off the rind. But things like the peanut butter stars, I usually munch on the leftover bread... 2 lunches in 1!

  13. That is a brilliant idea! I have been using cookie cutters on my sons sandwiches for a while, but never thought of fruit or veggies! And the muffin tin idea is genius!

  14. This is a great idea. I will have to try it on my nephew the next time I visit to get him to eat healthier!

  15. so glad you love Muffin Tin lunches! you should come by and join Muffin tin Monday. We've been doing it for 2 years now and there is a whole community of women who love muffin tins!