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The Best Lunchbox Story Ever
When both of my sons started school, I bought them each an easy-to-open, and close, plastic rectangular lunchbox. It contained a small plastic bottle (that I could add water to and freeze at night to keep the contents of the lunchbox cool.)
NB. The marks on the lunchbox are where the plastic has finally begun to break down after more than 25 years.
Now over time the stickers fell off and the indelible-ink faded, so I rewrote over it again (while they were still in infants school.) But as they grew older they took care of their lunchboxes themselves. Every day at the end of school they were encouraged to get it out of their schoolbag so it could go into the dishwasher ready for the next days lunch.
And they never lost their lunchbox, although the drink bottle lids eventually disappeared, somewhere over the thirteen years of schooling.
So what do I suggest are the most important factors when buying a lunchbox?
I'd look for a simple square or rectangular lunchbox that's dishwasher and microwave safe. And does not contain BPAs.
It needs to be easy to open and close so that your child can do it on their own.
It needs to provide an option for a cooling brick/ drink to be included.
I'd suggest something that's not too big, as it needs to fit into your child's schoolbag: along with home readers, school jumpers and/or sports gear.
And I'd keep the number of parts to the least possible. Some lunchboxes have 9 parts or even more to them: cutlery, smaller containers and lids that fit inside a larger container, and then yet another lid. This increases the chances of items being misplaced.
And you want the lunchbox to be able to take some punishment like: being shoved into a school bag and pushed around. The green lunchbox my son had was even run over when he was in high school and I was sure that would be the end of it. But I managed to pull my son's school bag back out from beneath the rolling wheel of our car. And it survived.
Considering that as a modern society we're becoming increasingly aware of problems associated with the disposal of plastics, a well-thought-out lunchbox can be timeless, and can also reduce the need for single-use plastic wrap or packaging.
Instead of buying lunch every day over my working life, (at $5 for coffee and $8 for salad) I took it from home and it cost me $$3.
I saved at today’s prices $70,000 over my working life. ($10 per day x 40 weeks per year x 35 years)
And when other family members did the same the savings were even greater.
But what I didn't realise at the time, but was very surprised to learn, was both of my boys kept the same lunchbox from Kindergarten all the way through to the end of high school... Seriously.
We made what proved to be a very environmentally conscious choice, purely by chance.
As an early childhood teacher I'd seen many difficult-to-open school bags and difficult-to-open lunch boxes, so when it came to buying one for my own children, I looked for something they could open themselves.
And by chance, I chose something that didn't have the latest fad emblazoned across it, so it proved to be timeless. Instead I bought a simple rectangular lunchbox in their favourite colour. They chose some plastic coated stickers to decorate it. And I wrote their name on their drink bottle, their lid and the lunchbox itself in indelible ink.
I encourage you to purchase a school bag, lunch box and a pencil case responsibly, so that it too may pass the test of time. If everyone looked beyond the latest fads and purchased something that's durable, there would be less plastic going into landfill.
So let's examine what's currently available:
You can readily pay $70 for a two-level metal bento box, that may pass the test of time, or you can also pay $8.79 for a plastic rectangular lunchbox that seals well and provides a drink-cooling option.
I know which of the two I'd be buying.
And something to remember is some of the best food comes in its very own packaging.
I ate a variation of a salad most days for lunch, over years, and I made up the base salad as above twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. And I ensured that when I bought the salad mix, it was the freshest possible. Some days I added chicken, or tinned tuna or nuts and seeds, or cheese.
I even asked if they had salads with longer use by dates, so it covered the week. If they didn't, I resorted to different fresh lettuces instead.
For more useful ideas check out the following links:
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One of the best pieces of parenting advice to help support healthy cooperative families, is to provide regular nutritious meals, eaten together as a family as often as possible. Best parenting advice provides a range of quick and easy family dinner recipes supplied by busy working parents. These are the recipes asked for: because they taste great, they're quick and easy they're family friendly and they're foolproof.
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