I have had a slightly unhealthy love (luv?) for all things Southwest Airlines lately. My family is flying Southwest more than ever. Although Southwest gets a lot of flak, I think Southwest has really upped its game in recent years for all travelers. Southwest is serving more destinations than ever, checked bags are still free, and having no change fees offers travel flexibility. The Southwest product is an especially great fit for traveling families, but I also enjoy flying Southwest even when I’m traveling without my kids.
When you love an airline as much as I do, what is the next logical step? Enshrining that love in lunchbox art for your child, of course.
My daughter started kindergarten this fall, so I’ve now added lunch-making duties to my nightly routine. I usually throw a sandwich, some fruit, and some baby carrots in a Tupperware container and am on my way. But once in awhile, I enjoy making something cute and fun for my daughter when I have the extra time.
I thought about making an airplane themed lunch for her this week. Ultimately, I decided to go all in and brand the lunch in our favorite airline’s colors. And the Southwest Airlines bento lunch was born! This was surprisingly easy to make and required very few special ingredients or tools. For those of us not used to producing Pinterest-worthy bento lunches on a daily basis, this is a good introductory experiment to try. It would also be a great meal to pack for your kids before a flight.
Have a child who is an aviation enthusiast or Southwest frequent flyer? Here is how to create a simple Southwest Airlines bento lunch.
Tools for the Southwest Airlines Bento:
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- Yumbox Panino (I bought a Yumbox at the recommendation of my favorite bento blogger, Wendolonia. It is the perfect size for elementary-age kids and is easy for a kindergartener to open without help.)
- Airplane cookie cutter (available as part of this transportation set)
- Small heart cookie cutter
- Food-safe marker
Ingredients for the Southwest Airlines Bento:
- Red fruit rollups
- Blue fruit rollups
- Sliced yellow cheese
- Sandwich (I made a simple peanut butter sandwich, but any filling will do)
- Shelled peanuts
- Mini pretzels
- Golden raspberries
Directions for the Southwest Airlines Bento:
- Make a sandwich of your choice (I don’t need to tell you how to do that, right?). Using cookie cutters, cut out an airplane shape and as many small hearts as you can fit with the remainder.
- Slowly and carefully unroll the fruit rollups, leaving one side laying flat on the plastic wrap (this is the only “hard” part, as they are sticky!).
- Use the airplane cookie cutter to cut out an airplane shape in both the red and blue fruit rollups. Cut out a heart in each color as well.
- Cut out an airplane shape and a heart in a slice of yellow cheese.
- Slice and dice your airplane cutouts into your desired color pattern. Since Southwest planes are known as “red bellies” (at least until they are all repainted in the new color scheme), I went with a red center section and the other two colors on the wings.
- Lay the fruit rollups and cheese cutouts as an overlay onto the sandwich pieces. Write your Southwest messages with a food-safe marker on top.
- For the strawberries, slice off the tops and cut them in half down the center line. Use the small heart shape cookie cutter to cut each strawberry half into a heart shape.
- Add the other side items – extra fruit (blueberries and golden raspberries), peanuts, and pretzels to the remaining spaces in your bento box. Bonus points if you have ACTUAL Southwest pretzels and peanuts from an earlier flight left over to use. Our pretzels were authentic!
While the lunch looked pretty cute, the fruit rollups made the sandwich underneath a tad soggy and sticky. The cheese was a better topping. It might work to use swiss cheese and colored food-safe markers to create the red and blue overlays instead. I’ll try that next time.
(In case you were wondering, this post is in no way sponsored by Southwest. If, of course, Southwest loves this so much and wants to send Rapid Rewards points or vouchers my way as an expression of gratitude, I will gladly accept.)
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