Lunchboxes are under appreciated. A good, simple lunchbox can make a parent’s and a child’s daily life easier. A bad one can be an annoyance, and we all know that extra annoyance is not what families need. If it can be avoided, it should be avoided.
Sinead from Bumbles of Rice has recently given some great advice on what you really need for school. Like Sinead, I have a few years’ experience of being a mother of a schoolchild, albeit in Germany where school works a little differently to Ireland. The lunchbox issues, however, are the same.
With the return to school just a day away I thought I would write today about lunchboxes and share my current favourites with you.
The Tried & Tested Favourite
For years now, even before the boys started school, we have been buying these lunchbox sets from Tchibo. They come as a set of three – one large lunchbox and two smaller boxes of equal size which fit snugly inside the larger box.
If you don’t pack the small boxes inside the larger one, you can take a huge amount of food with you. The small boxes are ideal for grapes, berries, sliced apple, cheese cubes, mini cookies, carrot sticks, etc. The large box holds two rounds of sandwiches. On our picnics I often use the large lunchbox for transporting brownies or other tray bake cake or for sliced meat, chunks of roast chicken or a pasta salad.
We have used these for kindergarten snacks, school lunches, for picnics and for playground snacks. They wash well (by hand or in the dishwasher) and are sturdy. Eventually the piece of plastic joining the top and bottom of the lunchbox snaps, but we’ve gotten a couple of years out of each lunchbox before this has happened.
I can’t remember what these cost but it was under €10 for sure. With two school boys and one kindergarten child in the house,I can’t see us growing out of these lunchboxes for a while yet.
The Gimmicky Favourite
On holidays in Westport we spotted this Nude Food Movers lunchbox. I saw it first and thought it mght be a good one for Number Two, who is starting school in a couple of days. Then Number Two called to me to tell me he saw the lunchbox he wants – it was the same one! When he wasn’t looking, I bought it and he’ll get it on his first day of school. It was €9.95.
The Nude Food idea is that the lunchbox has enough compartments and mini boxes to allow you to pack in food with no extra packaging such as clingfilm or tinfoil. Since I always try to do that anyway, this wasn’t the main reason for buying it, but it is nice to know that there are companies who encourage us to limit our use of packaging materials.
The Nude Food model that we bought is big, there is no denying that. With three separate sections, removable dividers and two small removeable boxes, there is plenty of room for all sorts of food.
Number Two is a big eater, especially of fruit, sliced salami and nuts. He’s not much of a sandwich eater. I imagine that this lunchbox will suit him, but it remains to be seen whether he will tire of the novelty of the various compartments.
The Good Old Fashioned Favourite
This pair of DotComGiftShop lunchboxes were at near the till at T.K.Maxx last time I was in and I had to have them. They are a great size – square and deep – and are plain and simple in style, consisting of the lid and the box.
The nostalgic picture book drawings on the lids are what caught my eye, to be honest. When I picked them up and felt how sturdy they are, saw that they are dishwasher safe and noticed that they only cost €3.99 each, I bought them.
The little red riding hood model won’t go down well with the boys, so it will be a gift for another school starter. The other, with all the professions on the lid, should be a hit. I particularly like that the astronaut and the doctor are women.
In a matter of hours it will be time to start filling those lunchboxes with snacks but in the meantime I am going to grab the boys, the Bavarian and the dog and make the most of the last day of the summer holiday.