As my third child is starting school this year, I have started thinking about the waste that we create each day with the plastic bags and the juice pouches and realized that I will probably go through around 9 plastic bags per day when they all start eating lunch at school. That is a lot of waste. This is something that has bothered me for a while. Not to mention the cost of all those bags So, I have been on the hunt for a lunch box that will be a logical solution for the bag problem, that my high schooler won't be embarrassed to have at school, and that my oldest (who is hemipalegic) will be able to open and close easily. I also want to find one that has very few containers to loose. I don't know about you, but my children are famous for leaving things at school or throwing things away when they should be returned, so I don't want a lot of little pieces that can be lost. Which leads me to the final condition...I don't want to spend a lot of money. If there is the possibility that my children will look at me with those puppy dog eyes saying, "Mom, I lost my lunch box," I don't want to have to take a loan out to get a new one. With those things in mind, I began my search. So far, I have found three candidates.
The first, is the Spencer Bento Box by Pottery Barn (pictured above). Pros: At $14.00, this is the most reasonably priced of the three, and it has a lot of compartments without a lot of pieces. Cons: The only concerns I have about this one are that the lid might break off after repeated use and there is no place for a drink bottle and/or ice pack.
The second possibility is the Goodbyn. The pros: This one is really cute, comes with stickers for the kids to decorate, and seems to be really durable. At around $22.00 at Amazon, this one is pretty affordable (although it is the most expensive of the three) and again, there are no little pieces to lose. It also is available in a more grown up version for my oldest. And finally, it has a drink bottle that fits inside and is large enough to accommodate an ice pack of some sort. The cons: Reviews state that the lid can be really difficult to put back on, which I worry will be too hard for my oldest. Also, it is pretty big. If you have a child over 4th grade, you know that there is little room for large items in the backpack.
The last possibility is this two tiered bento box by Shinzi Katoh. I found it on Amazon for $19.00. The Pros: It is CUTE, CUTE, CUTE! The retro, child inspired drawings are adorable. It has several compartments with only a divider that is removable, and it is easy to open and close. The cons: There is no drink holder, and I would probably have to make a bag to put it in (not a big deal). Also, it is pretty small, which would make it difficult to put any kind of ice pack in it. Although I suppose if I make a bag for it, I can put an ice pack in there with the drink bottle.
So, those are my options so far. I will have to keep you posted on what I decide and how it ends up working. I am determined to find a solution to the baggie problem in the next couple of weeks.