Serve lunchbox condiments in a medicine syringe

OK, T. E., this is ingenious. For all the ketchup-lovers out there:

While waiting for my nifty condiment holders from Japan to get here, I’ve been using small plastic containers to put ketchup in my son’s lunchbox. (He puts ketchup on everything.) This morning I didn’t have the space in his bento or bag to squeeze another container for his much-beloved condiment soooo…… I filled one of our un-used clean medicine syringes with ketchup. This way he has just a tsp or so and can place it directly on his turkey dog himself. Should be less messy than a cup of ketchup too. Our pharmacy gives us one with any liquid prescription and we tend to use the cups instead, so I’ve got a few stashed away in a drawer. Who knew I’d ever use them!

Related: Plenty o’ lunchbox hacks in the Feeding archive


  1. Tiffany says

    I should tell you before you try this yourself, my son’s kindergarten teacher gave me a funny look about this. Not sure she cared for the idea so much, but my son did love it. It served its purpose. Oh well! Can’t please everyone.

  2. says

    clever idea. i’m sure a child would love it. however, in a school setting, a syringe might cause undue alarm. i would not recommend sending this to school. even tho it is totally innocent, it could be misconstrued, causing the child to get into trouble. at the very least, it might cause the teacher to waste time investigating something needlessly. i know you meant well, but as a teacher, i think this is a bad idea.

  3. STL Mom says

    Seriously? As long as your kid isn’t holding the syringe up to his arm and pretending to inject heroin, why would the teacher get upset?
    The only danger I can see is if your kid “accidentally” uses the syringe to shoot ketchup all over some kid he or she doesn’t like. I’m not suggesting that your kid would do such a thing, but let’s just say that I’m not eager to test my childrens’ restraint.

  4. Tiffany says

    re: teri

    Yeah, learned that. Though, fortunately, my son goes to a very small private school and the teacher knows me. She asked about it and I told her that I couldn’t find a good container for it that morning and it seemed like a handy idea. I could just tell by her face that she wasn’t pleased.

    Guess it’s a good thing that he doesn’t go to public school yet. Maybe I’ll keep this tip at home. :-/

  5. says

    Brilliant- absolutely brilliant. I can see how a school might get a little weirded out- but maybe if you cover it with masking tape and let the kid decorate it with stickers or something then it wouldn’t *look* like medicine- might be a pain to clean though-

    I love this idea!

  6. Sarah says

    Probably just adds to the disturbing visual picture that it’s filled with something red like ketchup. Good idea though. It’s not as if it comes with a needle or something! Most kids that age are used to sucking medicine out of a similar syringe. If enough parents start doing this, it’s going to set an elementary school trend. “Cool, you got ketchup in one of those things!”

  7. Holly says

    I send the huz’s condiments in the corner of a fold-over sandwich bag. He just snips the corner and it squeezes like a regular ketchup/mustard/whatever packet. Maybe kids wouldn’t have access to scissors at the lunch table though… so it may not be a great hack for school.

  8. Anonymous says

    I just save up the condiments from take out meals and send those to work/school. We don’t like condiment-soggy breads so having it separate is a must in our house.

  9. says

    This is a great tip for us adults too! I’ve been looking for a way to carry around salad dressing. What about one of those spoons that has a syringe-like apparatus for the handle? I have one that came with my daughter’s medicine that we didn’t use. It has a stopper right near the spoon. I think this might look less threatening to teachers too no? :)

  10. Anonymous says

    We teach our child that medicine isn’t to be played with in any way. It is to be done with supervision and taken wrong could make him sicker.

    To send condiments in a syringe, in my opinion, is teaching the child to play with drugs (at least the paraphernalia). So later, when your child is offered something you’d rather s/he steer clear of s/he will have a hard time realizing that it is dangerous and think it is cute and fun. 15 years later you’ll be wondering how your child ended up in that rehab center! (or hospital or jail or, heaven forbid, morgue).

    Still think its cute?

  11. Anonymous says

    Yes, still think it’s cute. I personally think it’s a bit of a stretch to think that your child is heading for a heroin addiction just because of a ketchup filled syringe in a lunch.

  12. Anon says

    Just a side note about the medication syringes vs cups… consider using the syringes for medication administration – it is the most accurate way to assure that your child gets the correct dose.

  13. Silodog says

    I am curious about the condiment holders from Japan… can you tell us more? I’d like to try a bento style lunch, too. What system/product do you use?

  14. says

    Human beings, even the small ones, are really good at code switching. By the time they’re old enough that someone is offering them **heroin** they’ll have figured out the difference between a syringe filled with illegal stuff and topped with a needle and a hacked up condiment dispenser. Now as for concerns about a little one confusing a syringe of tylenol and a syringe of ketchup, that I can see being a reasonable caveat. To that end, I’d take ends to decorate the heck out of any syringe meant to hold condiments… differentiating it from the other will help keep that lesson clear I would think.