Are you on the hunt for new lunchboxes for the new school year? Or is your little one starting school for the very first time?
Choosing a lunchbox can be a difficult process for some people, especially when purchasing online. And they are an investment. Sure you could buy the super cheap options but are they going to last? And are they actually leak-proof? And if something goes wrong is there a warranty?
I remember buying my first Yumbox for my son who was in Kindy. I ummed and ahhed about whether to get a Yumbox Panino or Original. And when I finally bought it I thought to myself 'I'm not telling my husband I just spent $40 on a lunchbox' haha!
However after that I was hooked. And that first lunchbox was used every school day for almost 3 years - a very worthy investment indeed!
I get so many mums contacting me asking which one is the best for their child - because there are so many great options on the market, it's hard to know what will be best. And honestly, sometimes you won't know until you try them. Once you start packing the lunchbox and can see for yourself how much your child eats each day and what you can squeeze in to the box.
We do have some tips though to make the process easier for you 😉 Scroll down for the things to think about when choosing a lunchbox.
1. Work out what type of lunch your child likes
If your child is going to be taking a sandwich to school each day, then you need a lunchbox which easily holds one, such as these:
- Yumbox Panino
- 4 Compartment Yumbox Tapas
- B.box Wholefodds Lunchbox
- Little Lunchbox Co Bento Three
- Love Mae Bento Lunch Box
- Large Go Green
If your child is more of a picker and doesn't like sandwiches, then one with more compartments for more variety is better:
2. Does your child have a large appetite?
If not, you can get a way with a smaller lunchbox. Or if your child is the type who just wants to play (like mine!) then they don't need as much food packed for at school. If they are a slow eater then you also won't need to pack as much as they just won't get through it before their play time starts.
On the other hand, if they are a big eater then get something which can hold lots of food so they don't go hungry! The B.box and Go Green ranges are very generously sized, and the Large Go Green is the largest bento style box on the market, holding 8 cups of food. The b.box Wholefoods Lunchbox is also large and holds whole fruit (like apples and bananas) as well as a whole sandwich.
3. Will you pack wet food like dip or thick yoghurt?
If so, you are better off getting a quality leak-proof lunchbox, rather than one which is bento style but not leak-proof. The best leak-proof brands are Yumbox, Go Green and Little Lunchbox Co. Alternatively, you could pack the yoghurt in a separate reusable pouch such as the Sinchies pouches.
4. Would you like to pack hot foods for lunch?
5. Will the lunchbox only be washed in the dishwasher?
Something practical to think about. While most of the lunchboxes are top-rack dishwasher safe (see individual listings for care instructions), we do recommend those with seals in the lid be hand-washed to prolong the life of the seals. I personally do a handwash each night Monday-Thursday and then on a Friday I put it in the dishwasher (not on a boiling hot cycle though!). That way it gets a good wash once a week. If the dishwasher is the only option, perhaps a stainless steel lunch box is a good option for you.
Another thing to think about - some boxes are a single piece and some (Yumboxes and Bentgo) have a removeable tray so there are 2 parts to wash. Others (like Go Green and Bbox) can have the seals taken out to wash underneath them.
6. Ease of opening and closing the box
This is especially relevant for younger kids. You want something that they can easily open and close without having to get help. Yumbox, B.box and Little Lunchbox Co all have chunky latches which are easy for young children to use. Something like a Go Green is more complex with 4 clips around the edges and a little dial to turn to make it leak-proof. And older child would be fine with this, but younger children perhaps not.
7. Is one lunchbox enough?
This comes down to appetite and separation of food. When first starting school, we recommend sending one smaller snack sized lunchbox for recess and a larger one for lunch. This makes it easier for little kids to know which box they need at which break, and also means one packed full box won't be as heavy to carry. If you have a child who will sit and eat everything in front of them then having separate boxes is also a good idea - otherwise they might not have anything left for lunch time!
8. Do I need an insulated lunch bag?
If you live in a cool climate then maybe not but for pretty much the whole of Australia I'd recommend an insulated bag with an ice pack. Even when the weather isn't too hot, it helps keep the food cooler and fresher for longer. When choosing a lunchbox be mindful about which bags they fit in to - on each lunch bag listing we have added photos of different combinations of lunchboxes so you have an idea of what fits.
Hopefully that has helped you with your decision about which lunchboxes to buy! If you do have any further questions, make sure you check out the videos on our Facebook and Instagram pages, or feel free to get in touch via email or on social media.
Once you've experienced a great-quality lunchbox which makes packing lunches so much easier, you'll probably want to add to your collection anyway!