How to choose school lunch boxes and bottles for children

There are so many options for school lunch boxes and water bottles that it can be a bit confusing. So I have compiled some of the factors I recommend when choosing a school lunch box and bottle for children.

 

 

Easy to open

When choosing a lunch box it’s so important that it is easy to open so it’s a good idea to have your child practise at home opening the lunch box before school starts.

 

Ease of cleaning

Ease of cleaning is very important for lunch boxes so I would recommend to opt for those that are dishwasher safe. Often it is better to place them on the  top rack of the dishwasher to ensure they last for longer.

 

Bento-style lunch box

For balanced school lunches, a Bento-style lunch box with a number of compartments is very popular; including brands such as Yumbox.  Often these lunch boxes come with 3 compartments so you can pack the main item such as a sandwich with some fruit/veg and a snack. Other lunch boxes  come with  4 compartments, particularly suitable for kids who prefer their foods ‘not touching’ and to keep foods separate such as hummus and crackers.

 

Leak-proof lunch boxes

Many lunch boxes are now leak proof, which are important if you are adding items such as dips and yoghurts, as is this example:

 

Yumbox 4 Compartment Panino Lunchbox from https://reuzi.ie

 These bento boxes help reduce packaging waste so there is no need to buy individual pots of yoghurt or add extra wrapping such as cling film or tin foil.

 

Size of lunch box

the size of the lunch box depends on the age of your child and what you want to pack, for example, you may want a lunch box to fit a whole apple (if that’s something your child likes to eat).This is an example of a lunch box that’s deep enough to fit a whole fun sized  apple (many are too shallow)

Doda Leak Resistant Stainless Steel Lunch Box from https://anniepooh.ie

I recommend dividing up a larger lunch box such as this by adding reusable items, including silicone muffin cases, for smaller items such as carrots sticks

 

Reusable sandwich bags

Finally, there are lots of eco-friendly alternatives to lunch boxes such as  reusable sandwich bags and wraps. I particularly like the sandwich and snack bags from Nom Nom Kids. These are fun, dishwasher safe, and ready to fill with different healthy options  such as  satsuma segments.

 

Nom Nom Kids  sandwich and snack bags from www.thecoolfoodschool.ie

 

BPA-free plastic

I would always opt for  BPA free plastic if possible and these Nom Nom bags are also phthalate and pvc free.

 

Choosing reusable water bottles

There’s a huge variety of reusable water bottles widely available from lots of stores; that are made from eco-friendly materials such as metal. Many of these metal bottles are better insulated than plastic ones so keep drinks  cooler on hot days. Metal bottles may also be more sturdy than plastic, with many now made with a  scratch-resistant finish.

 

Leak-proof water bottles

The most important aspect of a bottle is that there will be no problem with leaks or spills. Chillys are just one example of a brand widely available in various colours and designs. They come in  a substantial size of 500ml to last throughout the whole school day. These type of bottles are available widely in lots of retailers.

 

Ease of cleaning

When I’m buying a water bottle I think the simpler the better; without many parts such as a straw so it’s much easier to wash.

 

Design of water bottle

Many of these bottles also have a wide-mouth design, which is particularly good for adding ice cubes in the hot weather. So I like the design of these bottles for older kids.

Personally I think a patterned bottle looks better longer (as they can get scratched and dented). This is just one example: 

 

Chilly’s Reusable Insulated Water Bottle 500ml Mystic Black Black Insulated Bottle from https://www.earthmother.ie

 

Easy to open and close

However the screw top lid maybe a little difficult to screw on for small hands (if it’s not aligned correctly, it will leak), then I’d recommend you opt for a different lid that a child can easily flip up to open and down to close, such as this example:

 

‘Whale Kisser’ Mother Reusable Stainless Steel Bottle available from https://reuzi.ie

 

Final tip: It may be best to handwash some bottles as I find repeated use in the dishwasher may affect the seal so they end up leaking.