9 clever ways to say 'I love you' in your kids' (or hubby's) lunchbox

Because food is always a wonderful way to say how much you care. Because food is always a wonderful way to say how much you care.

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  • You always say "I love you" before your kiddos run off to school, but just in case they need a (tasty) reminder mid-afternoon, we've got you covered. Let the lunch you've packed give them a little emotional pick-me-up in the afternoon. A few of these ideas take a little planning, but others only need a sharpie and a steady hand. Pack an extra loving surprise inside a lunchbox this week and bask in rave reviews.

  • Who doesn't love cupcakes?

  • Remember those little snack cupcakes you used to fight over in the lunchroom? You know, the ones with the swirly pattern on the top? With a steady hand, you can write almost anything on top of the homemade version."I love you" never tasted so good!

  • Chocolate Strawberry Filled Cupcakes - The Candid Appetite
    Chocolate Strawberry Filled Cupcakes - The Candid Appetite / via The Candid Appetite
  • Send a little "egg-stra" love along

  • A couple of hard-boiled eggs are a quick way to make carrots and apple wedges into a protein-rich lunch. If your kids are into peeling the eggs themselves, write a little message right on the egg shell for them to discover later on. Or, if you'd like to pack in an extra surprise, try this hidden heart technique. Figure out how to do this adorable technique here.

  • Secret messages

  • Some clever parent has come up with quite the lunch trick. To add some suspense and surprise into the lunchroom routine, shallowly carve an "I love you!" note with a toothpick or knife right into the banana peel. By 12:00, your code will have turned slightly brown, revealing the hidden message. See the technique here.

  • Wrapped with love

  • Bring a little New York deli into a lunchpail by wrapping a sandwich in some wax paper. An extra minute in the morning will help make lunchtime really special, and the wax paper makes a great surface to scrawl out a little note, dotted with hearts.

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  • How to Wrap a Sandwich
    How to Wrap a Sandwich / via Food52
  • I've got love all "fig-gured" out

  • Pack up a little pouch of nostalgia and make some homemade fig newtons to send some homemade love along. Spend a Sunday whipping up a batch, and send some for an afternoon snack (and a clever food pun).

  • Fig Keplers Recipe on Food52
    Fig Keplers Recipe on Food52 / via Food52
  • Hearts too cute to eat

  • Pasta isn't just tube-shaped anymore. You can order heart-shaped pasta online, making lunchtime a breeze. Your kids will love eating up a pasta salad chock-full of love. (And we all know how good pasta salad is, even without a recipe). If pasta salad isn't your lunchtime jam, a cookie cutter makes a PB&J sandwich into a heart in no time.

  • The Heart Sandwich For The Lunchbox
    The Heart Sandwich For The Lunchbox / via Momtastic
  • A picture says a thousand words

  • A couple extra minutes in the morning paid off big time for this dad. Take a leaf out of his book and doodle on the sandwich bags you send your sandwiches in. Adding in a few encouraging messages to go along with the colorful drawings is sure to dazzle.

  • Community Post: Dad Draws On Kids' Sandwich Bags, Makes Your Mom's "I Love You!" Notes Even Less Cool
    Community Post: Dad Draws On Kids' Sandwich Bags, Makes Your Mom's "I Love You!" Notes Even Less Cool / via BuzzFeed Community
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  • Muffin love

  • Send along a hearty muffin instead of a granola bar (and say "I love you" at the same time). This cute blog shows us how to make cupcakes or muffins in the shape of a heart. Write out a post-it note with "you're my stud muffin" and you are set.

  • How to Make Heart Shaped Cupcakes
    How to Make Heart Shaped Cupcakes / via 52 Kitchen Adventures
  • I "cannoli love you"

  • Pancakes may be a breakfast food, and cannolis most likely aren't a part of your regular lunchtime routine, so a cannoli pancake is a treat in and of itself. Make lunchtime the absolute best by rolling up a couple of these sweet treats next lunchtime.

  • Cannoli Pancakes | spachethespatula.com #recipe
    Cannoli Pancakes | spachethespatula.com #recipe / via Spache the Spatula
  • There's always a little more room inside that lunchbox for a bit more love. Scoot over the juice boxes and send along one of these darling and delicious ways to say "I love you" this week.

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Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.

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