- Education and Science
Best Lunch Box for Kids Guide
A Mom's Guide to Choosing the Best Lunch Box
My son is 6 and just about to go back to school. Among the gear we are buying this year is a new lunch box. In the 2 years he has been at school, I have learned a few things about what not to buy when choosing a lunch box as well as the features each lunch bag or box should have. So this year, I have done some research on choosing a good lunch box for your child and I'm sharing it below.
Easy to Clean - The lunch box or bag you choose should be easy to clean. I have bought a fabric type lunch box for the past two years and it is really hard to clean. Crumbs get stuck in the corners. I have just learned that you can put many of these fabric lunch boxes in the washing machine. So if you do decide to get a fabric lunch box make sure its machine washable. Another idea is to get a plastic lunchbox. These are easier to clean and if you can't get the personalized one your child wants you could also decorate the lunchbox with stickers.
Water bottle holder - If you intend to send a drink in a water bottle you may want to choose a lunch bag or box with a water bottle holder or a strap or mesh pocket to hold their drink in place. These make sure that the drink stays upright and you can carry their drink along with the lunch box instead of having another item to hold separately. I have also learned from experience that kids quite often don't close their water bottle after they've finished probably. So if you put it in the lunch box or bag they quite often leak.
Water bottle - Linked to the point above, choose a water bottle carefully. You want one which won't leak and which kids can undo and do up easily.
Strap - We walk to school so a lunch box with a strap instead of a handle is a plus point for us as it means it can be carried and our hands can be free.
Keeping food cool - Look for lunchboxes designed to keep your childs lunch cool in hot weather. Or perhaps there is somewhere you can put an ice pack.
Photo courtesy of Melissa at anotherlunch.com / flickr creative commons.
Stephen Joseph Lunch Box
The Stephen Joseph lunch boxes come in a range of cute designs. What I like about these lunch boxes is that there is a velcro strap to hold a drink upright. There is a mesh pocket inside which could be used to keep an ice pack or maybe napkins / spoons / forks. Unfortunately it can't be machine washed although I have read reviews of people putting in the dishwasher (but this isn't recommended).
Freezable Lunch Bags
Kids lunches are often out of refrigeration for about 4 to 6 hours from when they leave the house to when they sit down and eat lunch at school.
It's not considered good practice for foods to be in the range of room temperature for more than 2 to 3 hours as bacteria grows most quickly at these temperatures.
One way to stop bacteria thriving is to freeze your sandwiches.If sandwiches are frozen, they should defrost in 3 to 3 1/2 hours in time for lunch. They will also keep the rest of the food cool.
Another option is to get an insulated lunch bag or a freezable lunch bag like the one featured below.
This bag is designed to keep food cool for up to 10 hours. It has an eco gel which is permanently built into liner so there is no need for an ice pack. You store the bag in the freezer and remove it when you are ready to pack and take your lunch.
Plastic Lunch Box
The plus side with plastic lunchboxes is that they are easy to clean.
If crumbs get stuck into fabric typed lunch boxes they can be hard to get out and they are not always machine washable.
Here is a plastic lunchbox idea although it is on the small side.
Character Lunch Boxes and Bags
If you have a child like my son, they aren't bothered about the most functional and practical lunch box and instead want to have with characters from the latest movie they've watched!
But you can get character lunch boxes with some practicality and with the characters they want.
As my son has just watched the Monsters University movie he wanted the lunch box to go with it. It was either Monsters University or Planes.
This lunch box does have everything I really wanted which is a carry strap to carry to school and a drinks pouch to keep a drink upright. Plus it has Monsters University of the front to keep my son happy.
Neoprene Lunch Bags
There are some lunch bags made of the material neoprene which is actually used to make wetsuits.
The great thing about neoprene for kids lunch bags is that it's tough, stain resistant and best of all machine washable. These means that your kids lunch bag will look smarter for longer.
Another advantage of neoprene is that its insulated so will help keep food cooler for longer.
Check out some ideas below.
Dabbawalla bags have lots of great features.Firstly they stand upright so the food and drink does too.They're machine washable so no spending ages getting out the crumbs from the corners.They're lightweight so easy to carry.They're also 100% toxic free, including zero lead, BPA phthalates and PVC.They also come in lots of different designs.They also have a bit of give in them so you can fit all the lunch in no problems.
These Neoprene lunch bags come in lots of different designs. It features soft-grip handles, a sturdy zip closure and stores flat. It insulates for up to 4 hours.You can machine wash this cold and drip dry.