What’s your child’s favorite time at school? For mine, it’s lunch. Because lunch time is so special, make sure you’ve got the best lunch bag out there to make eating not only fun but easy. While we love a great design, keep in mind that your lunch bag needs to be functional too. Here are some things to think about when picking your child’s lunch bag. There are all kinds of different sizes, shapes, and designs for lunch bags. Some zipper, some fold over the top. Designs are cute, hip, or just plain functional. But which to choose? Hint: It’s all about Size!
Snack vs. Lunch. Our kids get a hot lunch from school. However, they do take a snack everyday and sometimes they want one that needs to be kept cold, like a yogurt drink, vegetable dip, or certain fruits that taste better cold. So, when you are picking your lunch bag, if you are only going to include a snack, then get the smallest bag you can find.
What’s in the Bag?
Figure out what your child will be taking for lunch everyday. Do they need a drink or will they buy milk at school. If they are bringing a drink, are they bringing a water bottle? If so, will it fit inside to stay cool? How about a juice pack? How will you keep everything cold? Think about what you want to throw in the bag and then you can determine the right size. You don’t want a lunch bag so big that your child needs wheels to drag it to school. But at the same time, you want your child’s lunch all together in one bag and not with separate pieces floating around the backpack getting smashed.
Keeping your Lunch Cool!
Does your child want to keep lunch items cold or hot? Then the lunch bag needs to be insulated and needs a cold source. Some lunch bags come with a chill pack but most don’t. If not, you can buy one separately but make sure it fits in the lunch bag. Some chill packs are large. If you don’t want to buy a separate chill pack, here are some tips for keeping lunch cool. Throw some ice cubes in a plastic baggie. Ask your child to empty the melted water and bring the bag back so you can reuse it the next day. Or, if you have a smaller lunch bag and don’t have the room for extras, save space by freezing the water bottle or juice pack then use it as the chill pack to keep the food cold. If your child isn’t concerned about temperature, then a good old paper bag will do.
Waste Free Lunches?
We all want to do our part for protecting the environment and waste free lunches are a great way to conserve. Many schools are encouraging kids to bring waste free lunches. Our kids earn points every time they bring a waste free lunch. However, plastic containers take up space in a lunch bag so make sure you have a large enough bag to hold them all. There are some awesome waste free lunch containers out there like this one from Kids Konserve – (http://store.kidskonserve.com/) designed by two Moms who know their lunches.
We all care about our kids’ health and safety. If you are buying a plastic or vinyl lunch bag, just make sure it is lead, phthalate, and PVC free. If your child wants to keep food hot or cold, it needs to be insulated. But definitely make sure to ask if the bag is safe, if it is not labeled as such. Most bags are these day, but just double check. Check out the aluminum or stainless steel water bottles as an alternative to plastic.
OK, now you can think about design. See which type of bag is easiest for your child to open. For a smaller child, a “fold over the top” Velcro closure may be easier than a zipper. Just like with backpacks, kids will express themselves with their lunch bag. Once your safety and size concerns have been met, Mom, let your child choose the design they love.
Finally, the most important consideration for Mom. How easy is the lunch bag to clean? Does it have tiny little corners and pockets where you won’t be able to reach the crumbs? No good! Make sure you can easily wipe it with a cloth and access all of the corners so things won’t start breeding in the lunch bag.
We hope this helps you pick the right lunch bag for your child. For ideas on what to pack in the lunch bags, check back for another post. Looking for some inspiration, check out the lunch bags at the Chocolate Cake Club.
Don’t forget to enter our Motherlode Back to School Contest. Win $140 worth of cool back to school products.