Pros and cons of the top lunch boxes
HARD pressed picking the best lunch boxes for the kids to go back to school?
We've weighed up the pros and cons of some of the best lunch boxes on the market.
LunchBots - RRP Duo from $34.95
Pros: Stainless steel is felt to be a healthier, sturdier lunch box material than plastic. The LunchBot is lightweight and marketed to "last a lifetime" with proper care. You can get insulated LunchBots to pack a hot lunch or leak proof versions to pack things like yoghurt and dips.
Cons: Not all of the lunch boxes are leak-proof, so choose carefully. The lunch boxes have a relatively small capacity, so additional snack boxes will most likely be required.
Erica, mum to one toddler, say, "LunchBot is a huge hit with Mr 2. I pack my son's food all separated into each little compartment, like a mini lunch buffet. Not only do I avoid missing plastic container lids and tubs, but the stainless steel LunchBot is much easier and quicker to clean. Win-win."
Pros: The Munchbox is similar to the Yumbox, but it has a deeper capacity so suits older kids or kids with a bigger appetite. The Munchbox Maxi holds a full sandwich - with crusts. If you have a newer Munchbox, you can put whole thing into the top-rack of the dishwasher for easy cleaning. A bonus of the Munchbox 6 is that it will keep both the four-compartment and six-compartments leak-proof, making it the only interchangeable lunch box on the market.
Cons: Apart from the earlier lunch boxes being hand wash only, we haven't heard of any cons for this range.
Claire, mum to three, has been using Munchboxes for over a year. She says, "These lunch boxes are so easy to pack. The kids give them a beating, but they stay leak-proof and we haven't broken one yet."
Smash Nude Food Movers
Pros: There's a huge range of BPA-free plastic Nude Food Movers to choose from, so you can pick and choose the combination to suit your kids. You can buy this range in most Coles supermarkets, making it easy to add to your collection as you need. It's a lot cheaper than many lunch box options too. While the lunch boxes aren't leak-proof, the screw-lid snack tubes are. Most of the range is easy for young children to open and close.
Cons: The designs can be bulky and difficult to find an insulated bag for (they do make bags that fit the products though). If your child has lots of different combinations, the washing up mounts up. The range can go into the dishwasher, but it's quite hard to fit the lunch boxes so they clean well.
Décor Pumped Duo3 Lunch Box and Drink Bottle - RRP $6.50
Pros: Cheap and easy to find at the supermarket, this is an old-school lunch box that gets the job done. I use this lunch box for my kids when I can't be bothered packing all the little snacks and nibbles that a bento box requires. These boxes fit a sandwich or wrap, two pieces of fruit and a muesli bar for an easy lunch that the kids enjoy. I freeze the drink bottle overnight so it keeps the lunch cool and fresh for the day.
Cons: Not rubbish-free. Not leak-proof. The drink bottle can make the lunch box moist, so I tend to put it into a plastic zip-lock bag before adding to the lunch box. This lunch box is quite bulky for packing in the school bag.
Pros: Provided your child doesn't lose it, this stainless-steel lunch box set should be durable enough to last them through school. Each kit includes a bento-style stainless steel lunch box, two leak-proof containers with silicone lids, cute magnets to personalise the lunch box, and a carry bag. You can also buy items individually to choose your best combination. The lunch boxes are easy to manage and have a large capacity. The carry bag has extra pockets for a spare piece of fruit. You can put the lunch box straight into the dishwasher.
Cons: Expensive, especially when you consider that most kids will probably lose a lunch box at least once a year. The lunch boxes are heavy for little kids once they are packed for the day.
Little Lunch Box Co - RRP $42.95
P ros: This company was started by an Aussie mum. Little Lunch Box Co boxes are a BPA-free plastic bento-style lunch box with a large front clip that is suitable for small hands to manage. There are stacks of really cute designs that the kids will enjoy. A Bento Three would be good if you want to pack sandwiches, and the Five would work well for a tapas-style lunch. The lunch boxes are leak-proof which is perfect for including yoghurts, dips and frozen fruit.
Cons: Like many of the bento options, these lunch boxes are expensive. It's also recommended that this lunch box is hand washed, rather than washed in the dishwasher.
Kylie from Kidgredients says, "Washing by hand is the bane of my life, so this is a big issue for me!"
Sistema Bento Lunch
Pros: A good price for a large capacity bento box that will fit recess and lunch in neatly. You can move the compartments around to suit in this box so you can fit in whole fruit or larger sandwiches or wraps. There's a leak-proof pot included that could be used for any wet ingredients, such as melon or dips.
Cons: The compartments aren't spill-proof, so handle with care. It's a big lunch box and quite bulky. This range isn't the most durable, but for the price you get a reasonably quality that should last a few terms.
Lou, mum of two girls, uses one of these lunch boxes. She says, "We use a Yumbox for school time, but the Sistema Bento is a good back-up lunch box. I pack snacks for the days the girls go straight from school to dance."
Tupperware Large Divided Lunch Box
Pros: When you buy Tupperware, you know you are getting a quality brand. This is a simple lunch box that fits plenty of food in for lunch (although older kids may need a separate snack box for recess). The lunch box is spill-proof and easy to clean in the top-rack of the dishwasher.
Cons: The old Tupperware sandwich keeper was an all-in-one unit. This box has a separate lid, which is can be tricky for younger kids to operate. It sticks on tight! You can't fit a whole piece of fruit in this lunch box.
Jenny, mum to two girls, says, "I loved the old sandwich-keepers, but this new version is too hard for my five-year-old to operate. I use it to keep my sewing paraphernalia in …"
Pros: The king of bento-style lunch boxes, the Yumbox original lunch box is made for kids aged 0-10 years and the large clip is a breeze for most kids to open and close. The Yumbox has pictures on the inserts that encourage us to pack healthy meals. The boxes are leak-proof, dishwasher safe and BPA free.
Cons: The compartments can be fiddly to fill and are quite shallow. It's a pain to dry as it has so many nooks and crannies. The front clip has broken on all three of my children's Yumboxes, although Mini Hippo sent us extra clips free of charge.
Kylie, mum of three, is a fan. "YumBox is amazing. It shows you what to pack so your brain is not required when doing lunches! You do need to cut the crusts off a sarnie but that's fine because they don't eat them anyway …"
Smash Slimline Bento Box
Pros: The price of these bento boxes needs to be mentioned as they are less than a third of the price of other bento-style boxes on the market. You can purchase this bento at the supermarket (Coles, Kmart and Big W all stock them). The slimline style means the lunch box packs well into the school bag. I've purchased a few of these bento boxes to use for afternoon snacks for the kids and they travel really well.
Cons: While the overall box is spill-proof, individual compartments are not, so you can't pack sauces, yoghurts, dips or wet fruits like melon. The lunch boxes are generally too long for most insulated bags. It's a smaller lunch box, so you might need to pack two to feed a hungry kid.
This article was republished from Kidspot with permission.