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Valentine's Day bento boxes for your little sweeties

I am a published writer & gluten-free junky who loves cooking, giving back and raising awareness on the #1 gluten-free giveaway site, Glutenfreefrenzy.com.

It's the little things in life that make children smile. Lunches with a theme or fun shapes are a surefire way to give them a "hug from home." This Valentine's Day is a great time to put together their favorite meal with a twist... a little extra love!

To begin, just think about what their favorite meal is? PB&J, pizza or maybe hot dogs? Now take that meal and find a way to shape it into a heart. It may be as simple as cutting their sandwich with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. You can also easily make personal pizzas by shaping the dough into a heart before baking. If that seems like too much, just top a mini circle pizza with pepperonis cut into hearts. You can even make hot dogs into hearts by cutting them in the center on a diagonal then placing the cut sides together on a skewer. These are easy ways to jazz up a regular lunchbox.

What about the veggies? Make a salad with your child's favorite vegetables using a mini heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut them into bite-size pieces. You can even do it with the cheese that tops the salad! Want to get really creative? Make some gluten-free croutons by cutting mini heart-shaped pieces out of bread. Toss them in a bit of EVOO and some garlic salt and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Turn them and bake another five minutes.

Still need more ideas? One of my all-time favorite bloggers, Keeley McGuire, has a big list of ideas for Valentine's bento box lunches. This Valentine's Day Pinterest board will also get your creative juices flowing. The key is to find ways to make things they already enjoy eating and make them into something they will love!

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