The right choice of lunch box can make packing school lunches quick, easy and painless as can also get your kids eating more of the things you want them to eat. Here is a review of the lunch boxes we currently use.
Please excuse my terrible photos in this post! I am working on my photography skills but rarely have a lot of time for styling lunch boxes!
When my daughter was in Yr 1 at school (now in yr 5), we switched from ‘regular’ lunch boxes to bento box style. Since then all 3 of my kids have used the Yumbox and now my older two are using the Go Green. I know there are always plenty of questions about which bento style box is better and whether they are worth the money so I decided to write this review with the help of feedback from my kids. I’ll include some thoughts around our containers for fruit break at the end too.
A little note upfront – I bought all 3 of our Yumboxes myself. The Go Greens and the stainless steel fruit break containers were provided for me to try but I have not been paid to write this review.
When we first started using these my daughter was the only child in her year to have one. She really loved it from the start but was always a bit unhappy about having something so different from the other kids. Now all of my children tell me that there are other kids that are using these types of lunchboxes which I am thrilled about.
Personally, I love the variety that can be packed bento style and because we don’t do sandwiches they work perfectly for us and make lunches fun. If you do like to pack a sandwich then the original yumbox won’t work for you but there are options such as the Yumbox panini that can fit one.
You will also notice that these are not stainless steel. While stainless steel would be my ideal option, none of the ones currently available are leakproof so if you pack something with a bit of juiciness like watermelon it will leak. My older daughter used 2 stainless steel containers last year but regularly complained about food leaking into the next compartment. Yoghurt or custard would be impossible without packing it in a separate container. Both the yumbox and go green are leakproof and I have packed a variety of foods including yoghurt with no issues. I have chosen not to go for either a planet box or any of the other stainless steel options for that reason. I also found the planetbox quite heavy and I don’t want to add more weight to my kids’ school bags plus they cost way too much for our budget. There are many people that absolutely love the planetbox so definitely check them out.
We have the original Yumbox which has 6 different shaped and sized compartments with cute pictures. The tray is removable which makes washing easy. They are dishwasher safe although I always hand wash mine.
For younger kids these are perfect. They are easy to open and close and fit enough food for a small to medium appetite. They come in a range of colours which is always nice.
You do need to get creative with some foods to fit them into the compartments but I find that the kids like eating bite size pieces and it doesn’t really take up much more time. You can fit a whole muffin, a stack of crackers, a good amount of veggies and a fair amount of leftover roast chicken. Fruit needs to be chopped up and the middle compartment is a small one that is great for an olive or two, a small treat or some roasted seeds or chickpeas. You can pack yoghurt or some juicy watermelon without worrying about leaking.
The Yumbox fits easily into a regular insulated lunch bag that you can get from stores like K-mart or Target and still has room for an extra container or a banana. I pack the fruit break container in the insulated bag and add in an ice brick.
At $40 I think these are great value for money. Mine are still going strong 5 years later and we also use them to pack snacks for long car trips. At the rate my daughter lost or broke lunch boxes and individual containers during her first year of school I am sure I would have spent much more than $40 by now. They came with us on our recent caravanning trip because they are nice and compact so didn’t use up too much precious storage space.
The only negative I can think of is that once your child starts eating more then these won’t fit enough food. I got around it for my son last year by packing one or two extras in the insulated bag but have had to upgrade for him this year. They lasted both of my older kids until year 3.
My kids were over the moon when we received the Go Greens. They are absolutely huge! They mostly come in green (as per the name!) but there was a pink one if green is a problem. The difference in the amount of food that can fit in a Go Green versus a Yumbox is enormous. I can pack the older kids way more food and still not fill any of the compartments to their full capacity. You can fit a small apple, pear or nectarine in whole and I am sure a sandwich would fit too although I can’t test that as we don’t eat bread. A full size chicken drumstick fits easily.
The Go Green is also completely leak proof and comes with a nifty locking system that just needs a small dial turned and the whole box is sealed even if the kids forget to snap the sides shut. They come with a very small stainless steel drink bottle which fits into one of the compartments but I prefer them to take much larger water bottles so am using the extra compartment for food.
As these won’t fit a regular insulated bag they come with their own plus an ice brick that fits down the side. The bag include a pocket for a napkin or cutlery and whiteboard for cute notes or reminders. There are heaps of bag designs to choose from. These are also easy to wash and dishwasher safe (I haven’t tested them in the dishwasher though).
These lunch boxes are very big but also very light so haven’t been a problem in the school bags. They are quite slim which makes it easier. The only drawback with these is that you can’t fit anything extra into the insulated bags so my kids are taking their fruit break container separately. As they take them into the classroom at the beginning of the day in the older years it isn’t a problem.
At $75 the Go Green is a fair expense but I am confident that they will last all through high school and still fit enough food so I would consider it a reasonable investment. The cost includes the insulated bag, small drink bottle and ice brick.
I have asked my kids several times whether they can think of anything negative about either the Yumbox or Go Green but they haven’t managed to think of anything.
Fruit Break containers
I have used a range of different containers over the years. The smash containers that you can buy at the supermarket served us well for a while but all ended up broken or lost.
I have been testing the Kids Konserve nesting trio which are 3 round stainless steel containers that fit inside each other for easy storage at home. I am liking them so far and have found the choice of different sizes useful for different size appetites or different size foods. My only complaint is that if the food is right at the top then the lid is hard to fit on properly so I have had to make sure the quantity is right.
I have also tested the Onyx stainless steel round container which my oldest daughter loves. It has a lid that clips on so there is no chance of spillage. I have taken broth to work in it with no issues at all. Even my 5 year old has no issues getting the clips on and off.
We also have a range of the 4 My Earth wraps and pockets which are good for grapes or even a cut up apple. They make a nice little popcorn bag too. I use these more for taking food to work with me than for the kids but if you want to use a regular lunchbox and have different things packed in there then these could work beautifully. I have had all of mine for years and they are still in perfect condition. They can be popped into the washing machine when they need a clean.
Any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section or to share a pic of your lunch boxes on my facebook page or tag me on instagram @thenourishedpsychologist