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Since school began, I’ve been posting occasional lunch pictures on the Spoonfed Facebook page. Just quick snapshots of my daughter’s lunchbox, a way to show that healthy lunches don’t have to be elaborate, and that most packing can be done at night to save time and sanity in the morning. This is as much for me as for anyone, since I tend to start each year by packing at night, but then pretty quickly let it spill into mornings, which means days begin with a stress-fest and lunch-packing is no fun.

But today I’m sharing a lunch photo of a different kind. This is the “lunch” that Tess created for her American Girl dolls. Using storage-box lids as trays, and random craft supplies as “ingredients,” she made the following:

Top: fruit salad; a cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwich on wheat bread (i.e., styrofoam wrapped in first-aid tape); crackers; popcorn.

Bottom: blueberries; a green salad; popcorn; crackers.

So, first, yes, a big yay for keeping it real even in the land of play food.

But you know what else? This is fun. Food is fun. And though I’ll never be one of those moms who assemble fancy bentos or wield paring knives like sculpting tools, I won’t ever begrudge another parent who wants to spend the time to do just that. As the mother of a little girl who views the world as a canvas on which to create, I see fancy bentos as the adult equivalent of American Girl lunches made from paper and pom-pons. So to all those fancy-lunch moms (and dads), I say: Keep it up. Let creativity and imagination rock on.

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