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:
1. 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.