Choosing a lunchbox: Part 1 - 5 things to consider
So I know we’re nearing the end of the school year here in Australia and lunchboxes are most likely a drag as you gear up to surviving the end of year celebrations, Christmas & New Year festivities and school holidays. BUT I know there is a group of parents (and children) throughout the country that are beginning to think about school next year …… the children are going to orientation days, the parents to information sessions, uniforms being purchased …… all in preparation for starting school next year. And for those parents who are going through this for the first time, this is HUGE! There are so many things to consider.
One of the questions I hear frequently is “what is the best lunchbox?”. So, today, I thought I’d share (as part of a two-part blog post series) 5 things to consider when choosing a lunchbox for your child:
1. What does your child like to eat?
Every child eats differently, some will only eat a sandwich, others will never touch one. Some like to pick and graze on a variety of small items, others enjoy leftovers. Some like to have hot meals, others like to have yoghurts, jellies and other semi-liquid items. Do they need something to put homemade snacks in or a small portion of something you’ve bought in a larger bulk bag as opposed to the individual, packaged foods? Will they need something separate for Crunch & Sip or similar snack break programmes?
2. What is your budget?
It’s possible to pick up a basic plastic container for just a few dollars; it’s also possible to spend up to $80 on a good-quality stainless steel lunchbox. But the price you pay will often reflect the quality and durability (see below). It may seem better at the start to buy the cheaper container but if you have to replace that several times, it all adds up over the year costing you a lot more. However, don’t forget children have a habit of losing things so can you afford to replace them if this happens?
3. How durable is the lunchbox?
Even if your child is careful and uses a padded lunch bag, lunchboxes still break – they crack, the latch falls off etc. Very few lunchboxes seem to last even a year. A reusable lunchbox or container is preferable to using glad wrap or other single-use plastic but you may also need to consider the contribution to the global plastic-waste problem when the poor-quality plastic lunchbox breaks within a few weeks of purchase. Is it important to you to choose a lunchbox that’s more environmentally-sustainable?
4. Is the lunchbox toxin-free?
Increasingly, it is being suggested that keeping our food and drink in plastic is not good for our health. Toxins in the plastic, like phthalates and BPA, can leach into the food or drink, especially if the plastic has been warmed (e.g. sitting outside the classroom in the sun) and then consumed.Ongoing exposure to these toxins may be contributing to a number of health issues such as infertility, obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
5. Does your child like the lunchbox?
It is important that your child likes the lunchbox and is able to open/close it easily. If they feel self-conscious because it’s different to everyone else then they may change their eating habits.Talk to your child about the style that they would like and check they can use it properly.
Over the years, we have tried out many different lunchboxes. Look out for the next blog post, where I will give you the pros and cons of many commonly available lunchboxes.