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This year my oldest is heading to JK and needless to say, we’ve learned a lot about what gear works best for him to eat his lunch at school.
With many schools allotting a mere 15 minutes of actual eating time, the lunchbox gear your child uses makes a huge difference in how well they eat thier lunch.
My oldest is luck. He gets a good 30 minutes for his lunchtime before heading outside. And because he’s so little, his class eats together right in their classroom as opposed to the cafeteria.
What to Look for When choosing lunchbox gear for Pre-Schoolers
For most little ones entering preschool, it’s pretty overwhelming that amount of things they have to remember to do for themselves. The first thing to keep in mind is an obvious one … that they have 2 snacks and a lunch.
One tip his teacher gave us was to label each container with the number 1 for the morning snack, 2 for lunch, and 3 for afternoon snack. Like that, it will make it easier for them to know which items of food to eat and when.
For me, instead of using a. bento box where my youngest see all the possible food available to him, I choose to use 3 containers so that it will be less overwhelming … that and I had this unnatural fear that he was going to eat all his food for the morning snack and won’t have any left for the rest of the day.
Smaller bento boxes is what we went with in terms of containers for him.
The biggest criteria I have if lunchbox gear I choose will be used or returned is if my child can actually open it easily. If he can easily open the container, thermos, or any other dippers they stay.
When I first start using a new container, I’ll ask him for feedback each time on how it easy it was for him to open on his own that day. The last thing I want is for him to be wasting his precious lunch minutes waiting for the assistance of teachers instead of actually eating.
And you’d be surprised on just how hard some of the containers we’ve tried are so hard to open for pre-schoolers!
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Our Favourite Lunchbox Gear for Pre-Schoolers
LunchBots Duplex Insulated Lunch Bag – For a lunchbox, it was important that it’s big enough to hold all his food for the day and small enough that it still fits in his backpack. I got my son a Pottery Bark backpack and it holds it beautifully.
Innobaby Keepin’ Fresh Stainless Steel Divided Bento Snack Box – 11 oz – I have about 6 of these containers and use them all the time! My son gets two of them. One for his morning snack and one for his afternoon snack! While it’s leakproof and won’t spill the contents in the lunchbox, the little divider in between does not make each side completely separate. For example, adding pineapples and crackers will make the crackers go soggy.
Innobaby Keepin’ Fresh Stainless Bento Snack or Lunch Box – 15 oz – These are deeper versions that are awesome for bulkier items. I’ll often add apples with a honey dip or veggies and a hummus dip in these.
Thinkbaby BPA Free Bento Box – The Thinkbaby bento boxes are another variation of the Innobaby ones, but without the divider in the middle. While I have a few of these as well, I would recommend you stick to the Innobaby mainly because they are often cheaper on amazon and you still get to use them as one big container when removing the divider.
LunchBots 1.5oz Leak Proof Dips Condiment Containers – These are awesome to add any dips like honey or hummus to the Innobaby containers. And yes!, they are leakproof! The PlanetBox Rover Little Dippers also fit the containers perfectly.
PlanetBox ColdKits Icepacks – I’m in love with this style of icepack. They pretty thin overall and fit well in both the top and bottom compartment of our Lunchbot lunchbox. I got myself 4 of them!
Kids Konserve Insulated Food Jar – 12 oz – I found that 80% of the time, my son has warm food for his actual lunch. Out of the containers we have this one is his favourite because it’s easy for him to open. From what I see, this container keeps food hot for about 5 hours, after which it slowly cools off. I pack it at 7 am and by the time lunch comes around at 1 pm, it’s still on the hot side. I’ve just decided to add one more in his stocking stuffer … hahaha.
LunchBots 16oz Thermal Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Thermos – I initially got this thermos container because it had a wider mouth and though my son could better maneuver the spoon and access the food. While he definitely loved it, he found it harder to open than the Kids Konserve Insulated Food Jar above. While he practiced and can open the container on his own, he still prefers to ask for help opening it from a teacher. This is definitely one of those container he’ll grow into.
Kiddobloom Kids Stainless Steel Utensils – Full confession, I ended up getting my toddler utensils from Ikea and some from Planet Box. For me, these kid utensils are the “item that got away”. The one I wanted but could never justify getting. I end up using the plastic “sandwich” bags and put them in there and leave the bag opened for my son to put them back when he’s done.
Thermos Funtainer – Even for toddler cups, I’m all for stainless steel in the drinking gear department. Just like the Thinkbaby Sippy Cups, I love that it holds the water an even temperature and the surface is non-toxic.
Squeasy Snacker – If you are sending homemade smoothies or a snack during school time, these are the best little pouches!
Hopefully, you got some inspiration on what to look for when choosing your lunchbox gear for pre-schoolers!