Small Child loves carrots. He loves them so much that he will instantly state 'carrots' as his favourite food ever, even above chocolate, ice cream and fish 'n' chips. He gets offered a snack from a basket of healthy options at school every afternoon, and he always chooses a whole carrot to munch on (if they're available, when he hasn't eaten them all already earlier in the week)! So I use carrots a lot in his lunches, because if there is one of his 'five a day' that I can guarantee he will eat, it is carrots.
With that in mind, I decided to create a post showing some of the many ways that you can use and present carrots in a bento lunch. I thought that if there are any other parents out there with carrot-munching children, they might want some new ideas for how to present these delicious crunchy munchy vegetables. So here goes...
Number 1 - Carrot Sticks. Probably the easiest way to present carrots; just peel them, cut them into sticks and 'stick' them in your lunchbox. Great for dipping in soft cheese, houmous or other dips, or just eating as they come.
Number 2 - Carrot Disks With Cutouts. Another easy way to present carrots is to cut them into disks then cut out the middles with a mini cookie cutter. These tiny cookie cutters are often marketed as 'clay cutters', and are really handy for bento lunches. I used yellow carrots for this star themed lunch.
Number 3 - Cheese & Carrot Coins. If you want to jazz your carrots up a bit, you can add some cheese to the mix by making cheese and carrot 'coins'.
Number 4 - Carrots Julienne. These can be easily cut by hand, but are also quick and easy to make with a julienne cutter. These thin, stringy carrot pieces are brilliant for adding fun to a lunch; as hair for a face, a bundle of hay, or even a ball of wool for a cat themed lunch.
Number 5 - Alphabet Letters. If you can find a nice fat carrot, they're great for cutting out alphabet letters with mini letter cutters. Any other shapes cut with mini cookie cutters work well too. I usually cut the carrot into disks first, before using the cutter to cut the shape I want. Adding letters is a great way to make a lunch educational as well as fun.
Number 6 - Swapped Middles. If you bring another vegetable into the equation, you can get some really pretty effects by cutting the same shape from both vegetables then swapping them over. Here, I've swapped carrot slice middles with cucumber slices.
Number 7 - Grated Carrot Salad. A carrot salad is a quick, easy and delicious side dish. To make this salad I put a splash of orange juice in a bowl with a dash of olive oil, then mixed in a small grated carrot & some raisins. On this occasion I also decorated the top with little cucumber trees. You could also try adding other grated or chopped vegetables to a carrot salad.
Number 8 - Rainbow Carrots. Carrots don't just come in one colour! I've seen purple, yellow & red as well as the traditional orange carrots available from farmers markets, veg box schemes as well as big supermarkets. Here I've used purple carrots to make extra pretty carrot disks and carrot flowers.
Number 9 - Carrot Butterfly. If you fancy a bit of a challenge, how about making a carrot butterfly or two to embellish your lunch? You can find a tutorial to make them here.
Number 10 - Use up your carrot scraps! After you've made lots of fun and interesting things from carrots, don't throw the scraps away! I try to save all my carrot scraps, and grate them up to use in a salad for my own lunch or to go with our family dinner.
I hope I've managed to inspired you with some new ideas for using carrots in your lunches!