“Hey, I’m a dad, why can’t I do this?” That’s the lightbulb moment that started it all for Beau Coffron, better known as “Lunchbox Dad.” Beau is an Oklahoma-based father of three who, despite having a full-time job, has turned the ultra-creative school lunches he made for his kids into a serious side hustle with an uber-popular blog, more than 30,000 Instagram followers, and partnerships with major food brands like Smucker’s and California Walnuts.
Beau began turning his eldest daughter’s lunches into cartoon characters, faces, and playful scenes when she started kindergarten as a way to show her that dad was thinking about her even when they weren’t together. Soon after, he began posting the creations on a blog and social media channels with step-by-step instructions so other parents could have a little fun with their kids’ lunches and recreate some of his awesome edible art.
The world has taken note of Lunchbox Dad and to date, he’s been featured on “Good Morning America,” Steve Harvey’s talk show, and Martha Stewart, among others. Lunchbox Dad has grown its readership and social media following exponentially, having helped thousands make lunchtime more fun and get kids excited about eating healthier.
Kind of like the airplane trick, only way cooler.
Between working and creating, Lunchbox Dad took some time to answer a few of our burning questions and share a few tips for making that perfect, smile-inducing lunch or back-to-school snack.
When do you find the time to make these?
“I make them every Sunday for each of my kids. They take them to school on Monday. We just fit them into our regular routine and have fun with it. Even though I have a full-time job, am married and have three kids, it’s something that brings us together as a family so we make time in our schedule to do it!”
Where do you get the inspiration?
“Most of it does come from what my kids are into. Whether it’s books, movies, or TV shows, we have great conversations about their current passions and I translate those into lunch creations. Other than that, sometimes I model lunches after characters from my childhood that I want to introduce to my kids. Growing up in the ’80s provided me some fun memories to draw from!”
Have you seen your own kids eating habits change since you began putting so much creativity into their food?
“Yes, they would tell you that they have tried new fruits and vegetables because they were made into fun shapes. Now they eat them when they are just in a normal lunch.”
Are your kids totally famous and the envy of the school cafeteria?
“It’s funny because my daughter has always loved opening them in front of everyone, but my oldest son just likes taking it into a corner and showing one of his friends. We will see what my youngest does because he just started kindergarten.”
What are your go-to tools for making these incredible creations?
“I love using regular plastic cookie cutters that you can get at your local craft store or on Amazon. However, one of my go-to tools is a set of different sized metal circular cutters that I bought online. They make perfect circles and save me tons of time. For lunchboxes, I love Easy Lunchboxes and Planetbox brand boxes.”
11-Piece Metal Cookie Cutter Set, $11.98 on Amazon
Here are some of our favorites with links to Lunchbox Dad’s instructions so you can make them, too.
Get instructions for this bird-themed lunchbox with walnut chicken salad here.
Get instructions for this spiderman lunchbox here.
Get instructions for this squirrel eating candied walnuts lunchbox here.
Get instructions for the I lost my tooth lunchbox here.