Shopping for lunch gear can be overwhelming. The options are endless and because we're shopping more online, we don't know if we like what we buy until it arrives in the mail. If you're like me you won't return it (do you know what amazon does with returns?) because you're hopeful you'll eventually use it - which you don't... ugh.
So to help you choose the right lunch packing gear the first time around, I've created a 'Back-to-School lunch packing shopping list'. Happy shopping!
This could look different for everyone but here is what I suggest (don’t get overwhelmed)
more about lunch containers
If your child is starting school for the first time - look for easy to use lunch containers like Sistema KlipIt containers (available in a variety of fun colours ), Bentgo Kids or Bentgo Chill a modular bento which lets you pack a variety of snacks, neatly separated so you don't have to worry of contents mixing
TIP: Have your little practice eating out of the lunchbox before they start school and show them the right way to open & close containers (ie. not upside down).
If your child has a generous appetite, look for larger lunch containers like the Lunchbots Large Trio Stainless Steel Bento, Sistema KlipIt containers, Ziplock Lunch containers or Divided Glass Storage Containers - a great option for bigger kids. These containers are available in a variety of sizes and clean-up is a breeze because the glass bottoms are dishwasher safe (killing all the lunchtime germs)
For smaller kids, I recommend the Bentgo Kids or Bentgo Chill. These light-weight plastic containers are BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and available in a variety of sizes and fun colours.
TIP: Easily create fancy bento compartments using silicone muffin liners.
more about water bottles
I always buy two water bottles because my kids either loose one or break some part of it during the school year. For little hands I recommend the Thermos Funtainer or something similar because it opens with the click of a button. For bigger kids (or thirsty kids) look for bigger bottles. I love this one from MiliFox. It holds 32oz/1L of water and has motivational quotes to inspire them throughout the day.
TIP: To properly clean bottles that can't be placed in the dishwasher, wash the bottle in warm water and detergent every day. Use a cloth or brush on the inside to remove any slimy build-up that may have formed. Rinse well and be sure to dry completely — either by air-drying overnight or hand-drying with a clean cloth. If you would like to sanitize the bottles (maybe on a Friday after the school-week) fill the bottle with straight white distilled vinegar; let it stand for about 10 minutes. Rinse and air dry.
more about lunch bags
Keep lunches cool with an insulated lunch bag like the Dual Compartment Lunch Bag, by Thermos. Available in a variety of colours and prints, this well-designed lunch bag is fitted with antimicrobial treated interiors, 100% free PVC with PEVA linings, and has two separate compartments.
Another amazing choice is the Vaschy Neoprene Lunch Bag, which is also available in a variety of colours and fun prints. This soft and flexible lunchbag fits most lunchboxes, and easily fits into school-age back packs leaving room for books and school supplies.
Tip: To kill viruses and germs on bags that can not be laundered, first wipe clean with a damp soapy cloth, then lightly wipe or spray lunch bags with rubbing alcohol. Be sure to dry completely overnight.
more about thermal food jars
A great thermal food jar (thermos) will keep foods hot and at safe temperatures for hours. I personally love the Lunchbots Brand Thermal containers. They're available in 3 sizes and can hold up to 2 cups of food! If you choose a fun printed container, like these fun kids prints from Thermos they will make boring leftovers exciting at lunchtime!
Thermos Brand thermal containers and Lunchbots Thermal containers will not only keep food hot, they are leak-proof, durable, and easy to clean.
TIP: Keep food hot until lunchtime and always preheat your thermos! Fill it with boiling water for 5 minutes, empty and fill with piping hot food.
more about lunch tools
One sure way to make lunchtime exciting, is to incorporate fun and colourful lunch tools like silicone muffin liners, which allow you to easily create fancy bento compartments and keep food separate in any lunch container. These handy containers are dishwasher safe making them a breeze to clean!
Ice packs like the colourful Luciano Slim Ice Packs are essential for keeping lunch cool. And the slim design makes them easy to fit in every lunch bag!
Fuel Primary Foldable Fatware Cutlery is available in 3 bright colours, dishwasher safe, and the foldable design helps keep them clean until they're ready to be used.
Easily cut sandwiches and other soft foods into creative shapes with cookie cutters. You can also use them as bento compartments in a lunchbox. Because they're not leak proof, I suggest filling them with dry foods like cereal or fruit like blueberries and grapes.
Look for reusable silicone bags that are dishwasher-safe and perfect for litter-less lunch programs. The Joie Clip & Seal Silicone bag is available in two sizes, snack and sandwich size. I also love the compostable paper lunch bags from Lunchskins.