With a zero-waste mind-set, I have started shopping for the back-to-school essentials for our family. Among the shoes and stationary supplies that I have to source, I will also be buying new lunch boxes. Now I have bought many lunch boxes over the ten years that I have been a parent. Very, very many. You see, I can be quite forgetful – as can my children – so we have lost a few along the way. I also have one of those special cupboards that eats the plastic lids of my containers so I can never find a lid that fits the container I am using at the moment I need it. In addition to this, my family is kinda brash and destructive. Lunch boxes get dropped, sat upon, stood on and consequently destroyed. My kitchen is secretly a graveyard of broken lunch boxes. Even the lifetime guarantee tupperware ones couldn’t survive (although I did burn one of them by accidentally turning on an electric element and not realising a lunchbox was on top of it so…oops).
This year I have made the decision to invest in a stainless steel lunchbox for each of my school kids. It’s not really a decision based on health or environmental concerns – although these are good grounds to consider a stainless steel lunchbox. I am just hoping that they will be more durable. My affiliate, Biome Eco Stores, has a huge range of products like this and so I started there.
I have no doubt that if I was started from scratch (with only one kid to buy for) I would buy a Planetbox lunchbox. They look cool, well made and come with all the accessories you need like a cooler bag and drink bottle. The lid is also attached to the lunchbox, so my tupperware cupboard doesn’t stand a chance at separating th two. However, they were simply too pricey to consider. I have already spent far too much on lunch equipment for my children to make that price point palatable. However, if you are buying a first lunch box for a toddler going to daycare they may be worth the cost.
The Lunchbots ones look great. Many of my friends use them. However, they have younger kids and I didn’t think those containers would fit enough food for my children. The Sustain a Stacker ones don’t look deep enough either. They also had too many parts that could get lost along the way. I think they look great though.
In the end I decided to go with U Konserve square containers with a plastic lid. I bought two sets of nested ones – think this will give us lots of options as a family. I’m not enthusiastic about the colours in the picture – but the price made them the best value for money. Since these containers have no compartments, I have also purchased some Lunchskins so I am able to avoid plastic wrap and sandwich bags (zero waste living means no more disposables like this). The existing small plastic containers I have will be fine for dips and other small snacks. I am very conscious that I have spent ALOT on these stainless steel lunch boxes (gulp). However, my expectation (and quite frankly, my fervent hope!) is that they will last a lot longer than the plastic ones that have died along the way. I intend to label them with giants fluorescent lettering so that they always return to my children and never get left anywhere!
Here are all my best ideas for filling kids lunch boxes with healthy and sustainable food when you really aren’t good at mornings.