{cravings, parenting} Back-to-School Lunch Product Guide

August 20, 2010

Land of Nod LunchBot

OOPS! Sorry for the technical difficulties that published this post–incomplete!—the other day and, again, earlier today. Think of it as a sneak preview! And, take another look now that it’s complete… even though I’m still having some problems with the photos. Can’t win them all!

Did I complain about an overload of back-to-school info? And did that give you the impression that I would keep my big mouth from joining the already cacophonous chorus of bloggers, publications and marketers giving you back-to-school suggestions?

Yes and yes? Hmm….

Well, I’d like to think about it this way: I’m curating the best of the best to give you a one-stop shop for thinking about, planning and making fantastically fun and healthy packed lunches. Right? (Right?)

Earlier this week I gave you the only five tips you’ll need for making back-to-school lunches. And today is all about products to package your hard work in a way that will make lunch even more appealing (if you can imagine that).

Take a peek at these great items. As you’ll read, I own and have tried almost everything listed. And share your favorite lunch box products, too!

Lunch Boxes

DwellStudio "Transportation" lunchbox

There are so many choices and so many places where you can see them all (like the Cool Mom Picks Back-to-School guide and Babble’s Best Lunchbox list). So, instead of inundating you with more options, I’ve highlighted just two. One that I bought, the other that I came close to buying. It was truly a toss up. My criteria: free of bad stuff like BPA, insulated, roomy and square shaped with rigid sides (there are lots of cute bag and sack options, but they don’t work as well with the bento containers we use).

Bento Boxes

Shinzi Katoh Double Bento

Stainless LunchBots system

Kotobuki "Frog" bento

I know there’s a whole bento lunch box movement. And, from what I understand, it runs deep. While I’m no bento expert, I love the reusable, compartmentalized containers. They make packing lunch super easy.

  • I can’t get enough of these simple, super cute Shinzi Katoh bentos. Older kids—or kids who like variety—can make use of the double container version or keep it simple with this single container. You can see more design options at fab store (with lots of other great lunch box items) My Sweet Muffin.
  • More uber cutesy Japanese lunch boxes. These two-tiered bentos come in a panda or frog shape. These are so fun that the Hungry Boy often demands these while eating at home. One note, though: the band that holds the box together is not attached, so this might not be a great option for the disorganized child. I’ve been thinking about a hack. Will let you know if I come up with anything.
  • The eco stainless steel lunch containers by LunchBots take a more utilitarian approach to bento. You can choose from single or double compartment options.

Bags and Wraps

Jaq Jaq sacks


Get rid of those zip locks. No really! Once and for all. There are so many reusable options that there’s really no excuse. Here are my favorites.

  • These printed, PVC, phthalate and BPA-free pouches from Jaq Jaq Bird are great for sammys or snacks. Believe it or not, we use the big pouches for toy storage and the small ones for eating on the go. Gotta love multi-purpose use!
  • You cannot beat the fun, colorful patterns of LunchSkins. So playful! And safe, too—they are lead, BPA and phthalate-free. Available in three convenient sizes, you can even throw these bags in the dishwasher.

Reusable Utensils

Pottery Barn cutlery

Repeat utensils to go

Not everything can be eaten by hand. Especially if you take my back-to-school lunch advice and pack leftovers. Having a set of packable utensils is, as Martha would say, a good thing.

  • Love this fork, spoon and case kit from Pottery Barn. Cute and practical, this set will make kiddo feel like they’re at home.
  • Go eco-chic with this RePEaT utensil set which contains a fork, knife, spoon and—ooh la la!—a set of chopsticks made from sustainably grown wood. Choose between five color options for the carrying case.


Pottery Barn cold packs

Foogos leakproof thermos

The devil is in the details, so get devilish with these fun lunchbox accessories.

  • Keep lunch cool—temperature wise!—with these Pottery Barn cold packs. Choose between the butterfly and flower or soccer and baseball sets
  • This leak proof Foogo thermos by Thermos has never failed us. It will surely be in heavy rotation come winter.
  • I’m not usually into cutesy kids food, but these LunchPunch sandwich cutters will give kiddo a smile while eating away from home. And who can resist that?! We, of course, have the transportation set, but the animals one looks super cute, too!

Happy lunching!

3 Responses

  1. Julia's Child says:

    Hey! I hadn’t seen those sandwich bags before. Thanks!

    S. Pinneo

  2. One Hungry Mama says:

    Which? Loving both, especially the LunchSkins.

  3. Heather P says:

    Oh the frustration of a parent with a very absent minded child. She’s always throwing away things she shouldn’t and it’s so expensive. These are all amazing recommendations, thank you. I also have thought about getting the Laptop Lunches lunch box.

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