Amongst friends, I have the reputation of researching things ad nauseam. You’ll see a reoccurring trend with me – I hate buyers remorse to the point of paralyzation. I’m so afraid of buying something I won’t like in the long run that I don’t buy anything until I’m certain I’ve covered all my bases. All too frequently, I’ll waffle with indecision far beyond a reasonable amount of time before finally making a purchase (see how I might need a little more So What!?! in my life?). The purchase of a lunchbox was no different.
When I started my search, I knew I’d be purchasing a lunch box for both of my sons; they were 2 and 4 years old at the time. I’d had my eye on the Planet Box Rover for over a year at that point, but couldn’t bring myself to make the investment because I had a couple reservations based on reviews I’d read and the experience of friends. The biggest concern I had was that young children frequently had a difficult time opening and closing the latch independently, along with similar reports on the inner containers. My second concern was that when the box is open, the footprint of space needed is rather large since the top doesn’t disconnect in any way. If two children were seated across from each other at a small table, the size of the box while open could prove a problem of not enough space for the lid to remain open without bothering the person seated across from the Rover owner (obviously depending on table size). It would be twice the issue if both children were eating from Planet Box Rovers.
While waffling with indecision and reading review after review, the Yumbox crossed my path; I’m guessing on Amazon but I’m not totally certain. It must’ve been suggested to me by those freaky algorithms that attempt to show you things you might be interested in. Well, I guess they work.
Full candor, we avoid eating from plastic as much as possible (and never heat anything in plastic) so initially I wasn’t thrilled with a plastic lunch box of any kind. That said, I couldn’t avoid admiring the unique features of the Yumbox, regardless of the material. The two features that resonate most for me are the leakproof compartments and the easy to open/close latch. If a similar design were to be made with stainless steel, it wouldn’t likely have an easy to open latch – I’m logical enough to see that the plastic material was integral to the design. I also like that it’s lightweight. I figured that I would only be packing cold items in the lunchbox, so I could get over the plastic material (a little So What!?! action). So…I bit the bullet and made the purchase of two Yumboxes. — And I’ve never regretted it for a nanosecond!
Prior to getting the Yumbox I used (and continue to use) Lunchbots and EcoLunchboxes. We used holiday gift money to purchase two Planet Box Rovers since my sons are older and are likely getting closer to being able to consistently manage the inner containers and latch I was concerned about. Each box has its pros and cons, but all are great options for lunch packing. For the stage my children are at developmentally, and appetite-size-wise, the Yumbox is our current favorite.
My favorite Yumbox features:
- children as young as 2 years old (basically a self-feeding eater) can open and close the box independently
- I can pack 6 separate compartments in one fell swoop
- all compartments are leakproof. For example, juice that may run off fresh fruit is not going to make crackers soggy even if the box gets shaken up a bit
- the tray insert can be removed from the outer shell and used alone as a plate or on a plate
Every parent has different priorities to consider when purchasing a lunchbox for their child. There is no wrong answer. I’ve shared with you some of my purchasing thoughts, but here are 5 things to consider when shopping for a lunchbox for your child:
- Age, dexterity, & appetite – It’s important to consider the age of your child as it directly affects their dexterity and strength to open box lids and latches. Also consider their appetite. How much food do they eat during an average meal? Consider your child’s growing appetite, too.
- Food preferences– Does your child love peanut butter sandwiches? You may need a box that will fit a sandwich if that’s what you know your child will eat. Or does would your child do well with more compartments to offer greater variety?
- Material & weight of the containers – What is the lunchbox made of? Do you want a plastic box because it’s generally less expensive and lighter in weight? Or do you prefer glass or stainless steel? There are always tradeoffs.
- Number of pieces – Consider the level of effort required to wash the lunchbox pieces and then the potential likelihood that you or your child might lose pieces if there are several to keep track of.
- Care & cleaning – Is it dishwasher safe or not? Do you mind hand-washing to insure it doesn’t warp or damage/remove any decoration? Is it easy to wash and dry within various nooks and crannies?
With so many lunchbox choices out there, the days of apples smashing the PB & J that was placed at the bottom of the brown bag are no longer so hard to avoid. I can’t even keep track of all the fancy options lately. Do you know of a box I should keep on my radar to try out? Please share in the comments below!