We have come a long way from taking our school lunch in single use plastic bags like I was given when I was a child. My sandwich or roll would be in a freezer bag and then I would have a chocolate bar or sponge individually wrapped and both would be running around in my school bag hoping to remain in one piece until break time.
Nowadays most of us have switched to using some form of container for packed lunch, but not everyone uses an actual lunchbox. Should we even bother? And if we decide on a lunchbox, which one would we buy? There are so many options on the market that choosing a lunchbox might feel a little overwhelming.
Well, I'm here to help! Below I discuss some important reasons for buying a quality lunchbox and how to go about the process of choosing one. You might also want to read my other posts (links below) about the actual packed lunch gear.
Why bento? Why spend money on a quality lunchbox?
1) You will have an all-in-one leakproof airtight container. This is the main reason. There will be no need to find and pack a different container for each food item. No keeping a whole cupboard overflowing with containers. No looking for lids. The children won’t have to open multiple containers while at school, which can be a waste of time.
2) Portion control – When a lunchbox is divided, it is easier to get inspired on what lunch to prepare, because you can visualize what food will go in each section and you know the approximate portion to use. When the kids open the lunchbox, they can tell at a glance what they have straight away.
3) Save money – many parents like to buy individually wrapped foods such as crackers, biscuits and savoury snacks, to use less containers. With an all-in-one bento box you will save money by buying in bulk or buying larger packets and putting the small portion you require into the lunchbox. This not only will save you money but also reduce waste and so protect the environment.
4) If you choose a lunchbox which is airtight and leakproof it means you can prepare your lunches ahead and store in the fridge. No more waking up at early hours to make the lunch. If it has a good quality seal you can pack 2-3 days ahead
5) Good lunchbox inspiration - do not settle for a lunchbox that makes you cringe. If you love your lunchbox you enjoy packing it. And when you are packing so many lunches like we do you don’t want it to become a mundane chore.
How to choose the lunchbox
So you’ve decided to invest in a good quality lunchbox. You know that this will help you create better lunches in an easy and fun way. You know that having a proper lunchbox will mean packing less containers and will make you more organized. But which one do you choose? There are so many choices on the market and you want to get it right but you might feel overwhelmed. You want a lunchbox that you and your children will be happy with, and which will serve its purpose both for food storage and for packed lunch inspiration. I’m here to help you make this choice:
- First of all, decide on how much your child will need to eat. Will the child be using one lunchbox or is there need for an extra snack box? Some children might have 2 breaks at school and might need one for each break. Some children might skip one of the lunchboxes if they are given two so it might be easier to get a larger box which is all-in-one. It is best to adapt this to the size of your child’s appetite and the hours of school.
- Choose a lunchbox which has internal compartments that reflect the type of food your child eats. The dividers inside the lunchboxes vary. If the child likes to nibble small portions of different types of food, find one with several compartments where you can put a bit of everything. Some children prefer big whole foods such as bread rolls, whole fruits, pasta salads etc, so in that case you need fewer but larger compartments.
- Find a lunchbox which is easy for your child to use. If your child is still young, make sure they know how to open the latch or put the lid back in place. In that case, a lunchbox with an attached lid and easy to open latch might be a better idea.
- Choose lunchboxes that will fit in the child’s school bag or lunchbag. If your child already has a lunch bag or pouch, or if you want them to carry it directly in the school bag, make sure the lunchbox fits well.
- Try to include your child in the purchasing process. When they help choosing their own lunchbox, they will feel proud and be more excited about using it. Including them in the preparation of the lunch itself is also helpful.
If you’re still in doubt, ask for help. www.vanillamummy.com is a good place to start shopping, where you will find a vast range of lunchboxes and other packed lunch gear. Send me a message or email and I’ll be more than happy to help you choose the best lunchbox for you.
You might also find these other blog posts useful: