Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back To School Lunch Gear - Containers & Lunch Bags

This post containes affiliate links

As Back To School shopping gets into full swing, I am going to share with you some of my favourites in the lunch gear category, Containers & Lunch Bags

The main lunch container

Seriously, no one wants to open (or store) a bunch of different containers and their lids. No one wants to spend their precious morning time assembling the lunchbox puzzle with said containers to make them fit the lunchbag, all the while crossing your fingers that your kids can repack it all after lunch. Especially if you have more than one lunch to pack. These are my top picks for practical lunch containers that will not leave you frustrated. They will also save you time!

Planetbox - Launch, Rover & Shuttle

These are family favourites, the lid is attached, the compartments are divided, there are small dip/yogurt/applesauce sized containers that fit inside and seal shut without leaking, they are easy to open and close. Plus stainless steel is a breeze to clean (even if accidentally left in the car over the weekend - not that it has ever happened ;) ) Local friends in Bermuda - you can also purchase these locally at People's Pharmacy. Although I have had several requests, I am not organising a group order before school starts.


It's best to choose the size container by your child's appetite and food needs.
The Launch  has 3 different sized compartments, is the deepest and best for large appetites, used most often by my husband, although I reckon it's great for athletic teenage boys.

The Rover  has 5 different sized compartments and is good for children around age 5 and up, although my children have used this since age 3, just not filled to its maximum. I have also used this many times for my lunch. It really can hold quite a bit of food. A sandwich or small salad can be packed in the square spot.

The Shuttle  has 2 compartments, it is good for younger children, snacks, or small appetites. This is the newest Planetbox and I used it extensively for my 2 year old last year. Yet, my 8 year old also prefers this one as she does not eat very much.

Here are some more examples of these lunchboxes in use: Launch, Rover, Shuttle
Another family favourite, made up of a case and an insert. The case lid seals each compartment so you can pack yogurt, applesauce or similar in any spot and it won't leak into the next one even if it's tossed around. Easy to clean but takes a bit longer to dry as the tray insert has a channel on the underside that can be tricky (no dishwasher here!). I do believe that there has been an upgrade and this has been partly solved with a solid bottom on the new inserts.  Original Yumbox has small 6 compartments, best for non sandwich lunches with lots of variety. Although I have been known to fit some mini sandwiches in there.

There's a new kid on the block from the Yumbox brand. The Yumbox Panino - this one has 1 larger compartment that will definitely hold a full sized sandwich plus 3 small compartments. I have one on order - can't wait to try it out!


Here are some examples of lunches that I have packed in the original Yumbox

Used most often by my 8 year old and husband, or the whole family on a picnic. Easy to remove lids, not leakproof by design. They have mini dipper containers that can fit inside if you want to pack some dip or dressing. There are two colour sets - classic and brights, each lunchbox has 1 large compartment & 2 smaller ones.

We love it for:
  • packing full sized sandwiches, salad  & leftovers (microwave safe), 
  • outings where you might have to eat your lunch on your lap or on the move. 
  • great for hot lunch day at school, ours bring their own container and the caterer fills it up. 
  • lighter to carry than a stainless steel lunch container 
  • lids are easy for young children to open and close
  • economical choice yet sturdy lids and containers
  • stack easily in the fridge and with different coloured lids you can colour code lunches for your family

The volume that can be packed is significant, so you would just not fill them up for the younger set.
This is a great option for families that pack lunches ahead of time. You would only have a small upfront investment as packing ahead does require you to keep a larger quantitiy of containers on hand.


Here are some examples of lunches that I have packed in EasyLunchboxes


We have two favourites!

Planetbox Rover carry bag

This fits all of our planetboxes, one small snack container, cutlery, ice pack, cloth napkin & a drink on the outside. Hands down our favourite lunch bag. The girls need easy access to their drink for gym days so I love that it's on the outside and they don't have to unpack their lunch to find it. 

My top tip - the aqua and pink colours dont't seem to stay as clean. In my experience, Purple, Red & Navy look great all year long.  If you put them in the washer it will void the warranty. I do this anyway and mine look good inside and out. I have melted one in the dryer because it wasn't set to low heat. Wash & Dry at your own risk!  It can also hold the Yumbox and Easylunchbox if your ice pack isn't too big.

I recommend buying the complete set Planetbox Rover with the carry bag, if you want only the carry bag you will have to shop directly at the Planetbox Website. On Amazon you can have free Prime shipping so that is where you can find a small savings.

This can fit up to 3 Easylunchboxes if you're going out for a picnic, or on a school day - 1 easylunchbox, ice pack, drink, napkin and a couple of snacks. We love it for days when the girls have after school activities at school and need an extra snack. The Planetbox Shuttle or the Yumbox can also fit in this carry bag with plenty of room for extras. They come in 7 solid colours. Here are some tips for DIY personalisation.

We also have a couple of the usual sized, rectangular print or character lunch bags. I consider these more of a luxury item. Every other Friday is pizza day and the girls just bring snack, drink, napkin & a plate. While we can certainly use our usual bags, I like to make it more fun with a Friday fun lunchbag. In my experience, there isn't a lot of room in these lunchbags. If your child carries their drink seperately it could work as a regular option with a full lunch. Ours don't actually take a backpack to school yet so that would just be a nuisance. You can fit  Planetbox Shuttle, or Lunchbots and many other smaller divided containers and a small snack. With a Yumbox or EasyLunchbox there wouldn't be room for much else, perhaps a napkin, super slim ice pack & cutlery. 

Snack Containers
Planetbox come with their own - perfect for use in the outside spot of the carry bag. They don't snap shut so they should only be used in the planetbox or in the outside compartment of the bag, not loose in another bag for instance. There are LOADS of fun choices if you are sending a small snack. These are my favourites.

Bento Triangle Rice Ball Onigiri Case Hello Kitty   Japanese Small Bento Box Snack Blue Bear Japanese Small Bento Box Snack Panda Japanese Triangle Rice Ball Bento Box Onigiri Case Boy   Japanese Triangle Rice Ball Bento Box Onigiri Case sheep

post signature

Back to School Lunch Gear - Water Bottles

This post contains affiliate links.

Water bottles - truly my nemesis!

I am always on the hunt for the perfect water bottle. Seriously. Always Looking. Summer vacation is nearly over and it's time to get my Back To School Shopping finished. I thought I'd share with you my top tips for choosing a water bottle.

Wide mouth opening is best - you really want to be able to fit a bottle brush in there to clean it, plus it's easier to add ice cubes if preferred.

Check the cap for odd crevices and parts that come in contact with your drink. In the quest to manufacture the ultimate no spill cup some odd designs have emerged. If it looks too tricky to keep clean skip it. I have encountered some unexpected moldy looking parts of water bottles in my years and now I always check the caps.

Take younger children with you when purchasing - make sure that they can open (and close!) it properly on their own.

Extra Straws- if you do have water bottles with straws always buy an extra straw kit to keep on hand if available. Cleaning them with Dr Brown's Baby bottle brushes is quite effective.

Smell it - I know this sounds weird - but trust trust me, there are some funky smelling water bottles out there. If you encounter a strong smell just don't buy it. Even if it says BPA free, food safe etc some of them just have an odd smell. Leave those ones at the store. Check stainless steel ones too - some of them have a lining.

I really want the following features in a water bottle - stainless steel, insulated, no straw, no spill/leak and easy for kids to open and close. I can't always get all of those choices so I compromise. The girls also like fun designs or characters on their water bottles so I get a couple of fun, yet practical ones too.

We made it through last year using mainly our Klean Kanteens, but they looked pretty beat up by the end and have been retired. This is not a judgement on the Klean Kanteens. I swear my eldest child lost one twice a week last year but thanks to Mabels Labels it was always returned from wherever she had dropped it. We'll likely go with these choices for this school year.

post signature

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Here chicky, chicky!

I packed this fun little chicky lunch for Rose to take to camp a couple of weeks ago.

Rose has a couple of grape tomatoes, a little surprise treat in the chicky cup, 2 tortilla roll up sandwiches (possibly cheese but I can't remember!), a little cheese chick wrapped around them. She also has red grapes, carrot sticks and a cut apple - believe it or not those two apple pieces were from the same apple even though the colour is so different.

Here are some items that I used when making this lunch.
Disclaimer: if you make a purchase using the links on my site I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support!
  Japanese Bento Accessories Silicone Food Cup Bear Brown   Japanese Bento Accessories Food Cup with Animal Head Lid 3 sets   Decorative Bento Plate Cutters 4 Animal and Rice Mold
post signature

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fun Veggie & Fruit plate as a dinner side

Here's a fun little veggie & fruit plate that I set out during the witching hour at our house.
The kids were ravenous and dinner wasn't quite ready so they got to load up on vegggies before the main event.

celery & red pepper sticks, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots sticks, blueberries, raspberries and some ranch dip

I have posted some other easy dinner side plates before. You can see the rest here.

post signature