Choosing a Lunchbox: Part 2 - The Pros & Cons of Different Lunchboxes
I’m in my ninth year of packing school lunchboxes which means that I have prepared over 2000 lunchboxes for my kids in that time! We have used a wide variety of styles and brands over the years so here goes my personal thoughts on the pros and cons of the different lunchboxes commonly available.
This is part two of a blog post series on choosing a lunchbox for your child. Check back to the previous post to find out 5 things to consider when choosing your lunchboxes.
Separate Containers (multiple brands)
Available in supermarkets, BigW, Kmart etc
Pros: relatively cheap, readily available, multiple uses at home, variety of shapes & sizes, will suit a range of eating habits, easy to replace
Cons: Easy to lose especially the lid, awkward to wash up/fills the dishwasher, may be poor quality (toxic-plastic, break easily), awkward to store tidily, can be difficult to open/close, take up space in lunchbag
Separate Containers within a single outer case
e.g. Bentology Lunchbox (formerly LapTop Lunches)- available online for approx. $32.99
Pros: bright & colourful, good for grazers, portioning out food, can take separate container out for Crunch & Sip
Cons: lots of separate containers & lids to wash, easy to lose lids/containers, lids don’t always stay closed securely, doesn’t fit sandwiches or whole fruit easily, plastic
Plastic Bento-style boxes with removable inner tray
e.g. My Munchbox - available online starting at $44.95 (Australian owned),
Pros: bright, colourful & fun, interchangeable trays makes it easy to fit different sized foods in, leak-proof, no lids/separate containers to lose, stores neatly,
Cons: maybe not as durable as would like (Munchbox - cracked tray, hinge and latch within a year), can get mouldy around seal if not dried thoroughly (which is actually difficult to do), awkward to wash, can’t fit whole fruit (unless small – medium size), made of plastic, have to take out whole lunchbox for Crunch & Sip, easy to lose whole lunch if tip it over accidentally
NB: Yumbox is similar in style, although I haven’t ever used it. It is smaller in capacity to Munchbox - available online for approx. $32
Stainless-steel bento-style boxes
e.g. Planetbox - available online starting at $80 or locally at The Source, Lunchbots Bento Box Trio - Available online for approx. $60.
Pros: good quality stainless steel (so no plastic toxins), so easy to wash, durable (ours still looks brand new after 2-3 years use), large capacity (5 cups) – fits more than it looks like it will, easy to open/close
Cons: although large capacity have to be more creative at fitting food in, doesn’t look like a conventional lunchbox so some kids don’t like feeling the odd one out, not leak proof unless using additional containers (which come with it), heavy, have to take out whole lunchbox, easy to lose whole lunch if tip it over accidentally, Planetbox doesn’t fit in all lunchbags (can get specially designed lunchbag from same company), Lunchbots lid often fell off (may have just been mine though),
As an alternative: I use a stainless-steel insulated food jar for hot foods; these could also be used for cold items or even the main food container if your child doesn’t have sandwiches or similar.
So what do we use now:
I prefer the Planetbox – yes it’s expensive but it is so durable. I reckon it would last several years of schooling, possibly even the whole of primary school and I love that there is no plastic at all. It’s annoying that it doesn’t fit in the majority of conventional lunchbags and, unfortunately, it doesn’t appeal to all kids.
My kids prefer the Munchbox as it’s fun, bright and looks like a normal lunchbox. They love the writing on the trays and the leak-proof sections. Unfortunately, I have been disappointed that they haven’t been as durable as I would have liked – it’s not only the financial cost but also, we’re having to add more plastic waste to landfill when they break. Customer service has been great though.
What works best for your family?
And, finally, don’t forget to follow my facebook page for inspiration of healthy foods to put in your lunchboxes. From time to time, I also run healthy lunchbox workshops. If you are interested in attending one, please contact me or keep an eye on my facebook page to find out when the next one is scheduled.
The comments in the post are totally my opinion, based on how the lunchboxes have worked within my family; I am not affiliated to any of these brands and have simply stated how they have performed for us. I do not intend to be unfair or promote negativity about any particular brand, simply to help others make an informed choice based on how they have worked for us.