Remember when a lunch box lunch used to mean a smushed PB & J sandwich, some crushed chips, an apple and, if you were lucky, a cookie?
No more! Today's lunch box lunches are more lavish, creative ---and they're ready for their close up.
Just ask Kelly Pfeiffer, a foodie who runs the blog Nosh and Nourish. She prides herself in creating colorful, fun and healthy lunch box lunches for her eight-year-old, Kaela. "Really, the whole healthy eating thing started because of my daughter. And, she was my inspiration," she tells us.
We caught up with Pfeiffer the day she was heating up leftover broccoli cheddar soup with spinach, quinoa, and greek yogurt, along with raspberries, nuts and sugar snap peas. But, before Kaela can pack up her backpack and head out the door, there's one more step:
Point, click, post. She says, "I think the popularity of posting lunch box pictures online has grown tremendously because of social media... You're just more aware of what other people are doing."
All of Pfeiffer posts go on Instagram, including her popular "letter" posts, where all the food of the day starts with a specific letter.
She's not alone in posting her creations. There are now over four millions posts using the #lunchbox.
Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of social media marketing giant Socialbakers, says the trend is significant. "We're monitoring this hashtag in this topic quite closely both on Instagram and on Facebook," he says.
Many posts boast eye-catching themes or focus on cute notes. Ben-Itzhak says all that creativity can cause some to feel they need to up the ante to keep up . He says, "We're starting to see more and more of these influencers who are posting these posts trying to compete--- which one is more healthy, which one includes more ingredients."
Pfeiffer says it's never about 'keeping up with the Jones' for her or her followers. It's more like, 'It takes a village.' "It's more about community and camaraderie and getting ideas to encourage each other. And it's just a great resource," says Pfeiffer.