What I look for in a lunch box and lunch box supplies:
- Toxin-free which to me means; 100% lead-free, BPA-free, PVC-free and phthalates-free.
- Easy to clean. Cedar uses his lunch stuff daily, so it has to be dishwasher safe, easy to wipe down and stay fairly tidy on it’s own.
- Durable and long-lasting. It’s a total waste of money (and not very green) to buy a lunch box with a shoddy zipper, poor stitching or other manufacturing flaws. You want a lunch box that will last a year at least – longer preferably.
- Ease of eating use. For example, those bento-style lunch boxes are hyper cute (IMO) but here’s what I see… Cedar jiggles around his lunch box, like the active boy he is, and by lunch time, I can totally imagine all the food mashed up and a mess. Plus, although Cedar is a careful child, I doubt he would always open his lunch box from the correct side. Bento boxes may work for the right child, but I don’t know about Cedar. If you go bento style, it might be smart to make sure you get a style that also has containers insider.
- See-through. We prefer see-through containers for food inside the lunch box. Why? Because Cedar can glance and see what he’d like to eat next without having to search for food and open containers. In my experience, if Cedar can’t easily make choices within his lunch, he’ll choose to skip eating. I don’t always use see-through; for example with reusable cloth snack baggies, but I do try to get see-through containers.
- Big enough for the size o’ kid you’ve got. Some lunch boxes are WAY too small. Cedar takes a lunch and a couple snacks in his lunch each day, so it has to be big enough to carry a ton of food. If you have a younger kid, less lunch box will do.
- Something semi-attractive. Cedar has grown up in a commercial-free home for the most part but, oddly he’s still very concerned with how his gear looks. When he likes his lunch stuff or his water bottle that means he likes to show it off (i.e. use it).
- LEAK-free! Leak-free drink bottles and food containers are a must. Cedar is a wiggly boy and leaky containers would be very sticky.
- Easy to carry. A handle on a lunch box is best for kids, although a workaround is to stick a lunch box inside a bag with a handle.
- Recyclable – at the end of the lunch kit’s life what will happen to it? Can you recycle it? Can you re-purpose it? You should get a lunch box or kit + other lunch supplies that have some sort of end-of-life solution.
What else do you look for in a lunch box?