Back to School essentials

I am so in holiday mode at the moment that I hadn’t appreciated how quickly the weeks have passed and that school starts back next week. I had it in my head that J was heading back next Friday and I only found out yesterday from a school mum, that in fact they go back on Wednesday!!

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Starting School – Lunch Boxes

As we prepare for the start of school next week, I have finally completed some well needed research into lunch boxes. After making lunches and snacks for J last term at pre-school ( in Germany, kids receive a warm lunch as part of the cost), I have to admit at the end of term I was over having to clean up 4-5 Tupperware containers everyday ( not helped by no dishwasher in our new cottage – the kitchen is so small, ours doesn’t fit!).

I also wanted to try to be “rubbish free” for all of his lunches going forward, which many schools in Australia now request. Alongside the Tupperware I had been using ziplock bags for some of his food.   I therefore resolved as part of starting school to look into the Bento style lunchboxes that have been around for a few years.

J usually has a sandwich, yoghurt, fruit and either crackers and hummus or cheese and salami or some popcorn, so with the many compartments, the bento should work perfectly for him.

So here is my selection of Bento Style lunch boxes:

 

Starting School – Lunchboxes FINAL81. Go Green Lunch bag – It has 5 compartments with one of those you can use for the water bottle. So there are 4 compartments for food if you put the water bottle inside which you would as it fits perfectly. Using “turn ‘n lock” technology on the lid, it ensures food stays fresh with silicone bands around each compartment to ensure a secure leak-proof seal for all 5 sections.  It is dishwasher friendly and it comes with a water bottle included in the price. For an additional $20 you can buy an insulated lunch bag and cooler pack as well which makes it a great buy. The lunch bag comes with a white board for messages and a pocket for utensils and if you buy the additional cooler bag, they have a huge amount of designs on offer to suit any kid.

It is BPA free and measures 30 x 19 x 6.5cm.

RRP A$39.95.

Capacity = 2000 ml

2. Shikiri Bento Lunch box –  It is dishwasher  and microwave safe. It has 6 compartments with 3 movable elements: a horizontal separator, and two 3-compartment inner dividers or cups that fit nicely.  It has a silicone rim lid to keep in freshness.

It is BPA-free and measures 20 × 16.5 × 5.5 cm.

Capacity = 870 ml

RRP A$25.00.

3. Sistema Triple Split and Go – You get 3 compartments and an additional yoghurt pot for the price which is great value.  It is freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe. It features 2 snap-on lids on one side for air-tight freshness but it is not leak proof.

It is BPA free and measures 25 x 22 x 8cm.

RRP A$7.99.

Capacity = 2000 ml

4. Goodbyn Hero –  It is dishwasher safe and has 3 separate compartments. It comes with 2 additional leak proof pots for yoghurt or dips, and comes in 4 different colours – pink, blue, green and red.

It is BPA free and measures 27.2 x 17.8  x 7 cm.

RRP A$24.95.

Capacity = 1745 ml plus the additional dip pots are 177ml, total capacity = 2099 ml.

5. Lunchbots Bento Cinco stainless steel lunch box –  this is the largest of the range  (they have 5 other amazing designs and thermos containers too ) with 5 compartments – 2 large and 3 small. The 2 larger compartments would fit sandwiches, wraps, muffins, rice, salad and more. The smaller are perfect for snacks. It is not leak proof so you would need to put yoghurts or dips in a container ( sold separately).

Made of 18/8 stainless steel, it is easy-to-clean, and virtually unbreakable. It is dishwasher safe.

It is BPA free and measures 20.3 x 15.2 x 4.45cm.

RRP $34.95.

Capacity = 960 ml

6. EasyLunchboxes –  billed as the no 1 lunchbox sold on US Amazon, you get 4 lunchboxes for 1 price, so for value for money, this is the best buy out of all of them. Plus they can nest in each other for easy storage. It is safe to use in the refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and freezer but the containers are airtight not leak proof.  It comes in 4 colours – blue, green, orange and red.

It is BPA free and measures 23.82 x 15.49 x 5cm.

RRP A$30.00.

Capacity = 937.5 ml

7. Yumbox Panino – it is dishwasher safe, leak proof and is the newest Yumbox to hit the market catering for a sandwich area and 3 additional compartments, so 4 in total. Yumbox is designed to hold wet foods but not liquids (water). It is available in pink, red or blue.

It is BPA free and measures approx 21 x 15 x 5 cm.

RRP A$40.00. 

Capacity = 780 ml

8. Fuel Bento Sectioned Lunch box –  it is dishwasher safe but they recommend handwashing. It has two removable inner containers that can be used separately. One is perfect for salads, wraps or sandwiches and the other is divided into 3 different compartments, with different sizes and shapes.

It is BPA free and measures 26 x 6.5 x 17 cm.

RRP A$22.95.

Capacity = 1300 ml

 

Which one to choose?

All are dishwasher safe although they recommend to hand wash the Fuel Bento to prolong its life.

I don’t want to spend huge sums of money in case he loses it in the playground          ( another to look out for is the Planetbox) although with his name sticker on it, we should get it back.

I also want to get something that is durable and that will last a long time and see him through a few good years at school. His appetite will increase so I need something that will cater for that future requirement, he is a growing boy of course!

My one issue is that my son loves yoghurt and has one for lunch each day. Therefore I need a lunch box which is leak proof or I could remove compartments to put in a container for his yoghurt. The only ones billed as leak proof are the Go Green or the Yumbox.

The Goodbyn Hero comes with additional yoghurt pots although it then takes up the space of one of the compartments, only leaving you with 1 large and 1 small. However, given the Hero has 2099ml in capacity for the entire lunch box and it has the largest capacity of the 8 shown, I think this could be a great option.

You can buy additional pots for the Lunchbots for yoghurt or dips which are leak proof, so again another option which would work. Although they would be separate from the lunch box.

Ultimately when choosing a lunch box, you have to ask yourself what works best for your child? Are they grazers? Do they just eat a sandwich and some fruit? Do you need to cater for ” Crunch and Sip” which seems common now in Australian primary schools and the kids must have a piece of fruit and water. Do they love yoghurt, therefore you need a leak proof lunch box or containers to store it?

Do you want to splash out on an additional insulated lunch bag? Some of the lunch boxes I have shown are extremely large at 30cm long and many standard insulated lunch bags won’t fit them. So you have to buy their branded lunch bag or find one that is suitable. Do you want a water bottle to fit in with the lunch box or to sit inside the insulated lunch bag?

So many questions but only you can answer them. Who knew it would be so hard to decided on a lunch box for a child?

Best online stores in Australia for bento lunchboxes that I found in my research were:

www.limetreekids.com.au

www.littlebentoworld.com

www.trendyliltreats.com.au

www.yumboxlunch.com.au

Since first starting this post, “Trendy Lil Treats” have kindly offered my readers a 20% discount until the 31st January 2015 on all their lunch boxes ( Go Green, Fuel Bento, Goodbyn Hero, and Shikiri Bento lunch box) using code “kidsgiftandtoys”.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

Back to the future

It is a very exciting, sad and nervous year for our little household, as our eldest son starts school. I am not quite sure where the last 6 years has gone and how my little baby is suddenly ready for big school! Where does time go when you have children? It seems to go so slowly B.C ( before children), but once you have children, it zooms along at break neck speed and you just want it to slow down, slow right down, so you can enjoy and remember those cherished moments with them.

I want to hold him tight and not let him go and I definitely don’t want him to grow up. But we cannot stop time, and as a parent, we must give them all the right tools to shape them and help them to grow and become their own person. So they can go out in to the world and be the best they can be. Letting them choose the adventure they want to take and supporting them along the way.

School is the start of all the big things that can happen to a person, it can shape them and mold them for the rest of their life.  As I reflect back over the last 6 years of watching him grow from a beautiful happy baby, into a beautiful happy boy, I am looking to his future and wondering what it may hold.

I thought so I could remember this moment, that I would write down what I hope for him and I thought I would share this with you, as you may also have a child who starts school this year or be going through similar emotions whatever age your child  may be:

I hope:

1. I hope that if he gets disappointed because a friend doesn’t want to play with him, that he picks himself up and finds another person to befriend. Seek out happiness if all you can find is sadness.

2. I hope that if someone bullies him because of his hair colour or for another reason, that he turns the other cheek and walks away. Be brave, as tomorrow is a new day.

3. I hope that he will make some amazing friends that he will have for life. Friends can come and go in life but they will always leave an imprint on your soul.

4. I hope that he will grow into a person that can think for himself, stand up for his opinions and rights but not judge others on theirs. We do not need any more judgement in this world.

5. I  hope that he will always find beauty and hope in the world. Because sometimes it can be the only thing that gets you through the day. Search for beauty in all that surrounds you.

6. I hope he will always be the kind natured, loving, beautiful soul that he is now and he will always look out for others in need and treat them with gentleness and love. Strength through kindness.

I had a friend asked me once “What do you want your son to be when he grows up?”, I immediately said whatever he wishes to, whether that be an artist, musician, lawyer, teacher, I didn’t mind as long as he follows his dreams. She argued that you need money in life and it can be hard to get by without it. She was a lawyer and wanted her son to be in a similar profession. Dreams don’t buy houses and food. I had to agree with her there, but that is with my adult head on and with my dreamer head on, I just hope my son finds joy and happiness in life.  Whatever that may be or whoever he may become.

Be brave, be strong and be happy, my little man.