If you're one of @valleybrinkroad's 83.3K followers, then you're probably just as obsessed with her Instagram stories as we are. In case you're not familiar, Barrett Prendergast is the woman behind the 'gram feed, and she's a caterer, floral designer, gift-making extraordinaire, and the founder of her own company. Her website offers a wide array of gift baskets and gorgeous flower arrangements for purchase, as well as her journal and all the pretty little details of each event she's catered or provided blooms for, including ones with Marc Jacobs, Jenni Kayne, Loeffler Randall, and Ariel Gordon Jewelry.
In addition to running her own business, the lifestyle expert is also Mom to an almost-three-year-old, so it's safe to say she's never not busy. But, alas, Prendergast somehow manages to keep us filled in on her daily happenings via her Insta stories, which we make sure to watch every day. She posts everything from meal ideas (including the recipes!), weekly farmers market trips, restaurant outings, endless floral inspiration, and her adorable son, Costa.
VIDEO: ABCs of Lunch Box Packing
One of our favorite things she details in her stories are the lunchbox meal ideas she packs for Costa. They are always fun and nutritious, and—most importantly for a kid—never boring. So, to help you prepare for the hectic back-to-school season that is looming ever nearer, we chatted with Prendergast to get her best tips on packing a lunchbox that your kid will love. Read below for three things she always keeps in mind when preparing her son's lunch.
1. VARIETY IS KEY
"When packing a lunch, I try to give a balance of sweet and salty, veggies and fruit, while making sure there is some protein in there as well," she explained. "Since he is still two, it is often easier for him to have small things he can pick up with his fingers, rather than food he has to eat with a fork or spoon. And he loves to dip, so things like hummus or peanut butter are always a big hit."
This lunch includes pineapple and blueberries, flaxseed crackers and hummus, raw cashews, a Very Berry Fruit Strip, Happy Baby Yogis, and Harvest Snapea Crisps.
2. LOTS OF SMALL PORTIONS KEEP THINGS INTERESTING
"Costa loves variety and he loves snacks," Prendergast told us. "So, I try to keep these things in mind when I am packing his lunch. He will usually eat more if I give him small portions of lots of different items, rather than just giving him two or three larger things."
This lunch includes Newman’s Own Organic Pretzel Rods, MaraNatha Creamy Raw Peanut Butter (for dipping the pretzels in), homemade gluten-free banana and date bread, shredded roast chicken, carrot sticks, red grapes, freeze dried peas, and a mix of goji berries and dried cranberries.
3. DON'T BE AFRAID OF THINGS THAT NEED TO BE HEATED
"If your child goes to preschool, the school will often warm items up for kids. So, sometimes I pack things like cheese quesadillas or pizza that the teachers will warm up for Costa before he eats it," Prendergast told us.
This lunch includes blueberries, Pirates Booty, cheese quesadilla, Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Energy Balls, cucumbers, and a Torie & Howard Chewie Fruitie.