There are two back-to-school lunch modes in my house: smug — when lunchboxes are neatly filled the night before with options from every food group and chaotic — when I’m running around like a madwoman in the morning — serving breakfast whilst frantically trying to whip up something yummy and healthy for my kids’ lunchboxes!
But whether my kids’ lunches have been pre-planned or prepared in a rush, a good lunchbox is vital in making sure their food arrives safely and stays appetizing. Depending on the type of lunch you send, here are five popular lunchbox options:
1) The Dinner Tray Option - Rover Lunchbox, $59.95, PlanetBox
I've been hearing rave reviews about this lunchbox EVERYWHERE — from online friends and in person. PlanetBox is a stainless steel container that allows you to pack a variety of foods, each in their own compartment. Advantages: Easy clean-up (the whole thing can be placed in the dishwasher), reduced packaging waste (no need for ziploc baggies or individual snackpacks) and a simple design with only a few parts (less bits to lose!)
2) The Bento Box Option - Bento Lunchbox 2.0, $23.99, Laptop Lunches
The Bento Lunchbox 2.0 is made up of several rearrangeable plastic containers housed within a larger box. The foodsafe plastic is free of BPA, phthalates and PVC. Advantages: Can vary inner-containers according to what you're sending (there's a combination of water-tight, leak-proof containers for dip/yoghurt/applesauce and unlidded containers for mains/fruits/salads). Reduces packaging waste. Everything goes in the dishwasher.
3. The Divided Option - Lunch bag, $17.95, Balanced Day Bags
Originally designed in response to Ontario's Balanced Day program (where snack time and lunch time are replaced by 2 nutrition breaks — read more here), this lunch box makes it easy for kids to know what to eat during each break time. Advantages: Can also be used to separate hot and cold foods or drinks and snacks.
4. The Hot Lunch Option - Thermos FUNtainer Food Jar, $14.97, Walmart
Although this thermos keeps food hot for 5 hours or cold for 7 hours, I only use mine for hot lunches. Advantages: Makes it easy to send a variety of meals from pasta or rice dishes to thick soups — especially a bonus in colder weather!
5. The Microwaveable Option - Glass Container with Plastic Lid, $4.99, Snapware
This past year both my kids had microwaves in their classroom — and their lunch consumption went up by 75% I guess nothing is more appetizing than piping hot food! This Pyrex box features a sturdy glass container and an easy-snap plastic lid. Even though the glass is tempered, I make sure to send it in a thickly padded lunchbag to prevent any chance of breakage. May not be suitable for younger children. Advantages: Can send chilled or frozen food, knowing it can be safely heated for lunchtime. Glass is easy to clean in the dishwasher and is stain resistant. Lid is airtight and leakproof.
Hope you found this post helpful! If you need inspiration on what to put IN to the lunchboxes...BOY does YMC have you covered! And if you're looking for backpacks — here are the Top 5 Mummy-Approved Backpacks.