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Sorry if this is a stupidly basic question, but I'm going cross-eyed looking at all the options on Amazon.<br>
DS will be going two and a half this fall and will be headed to preschool. I'll need to pack him a lunch everyday. The lunch can't be refrigerated, but I can pack things like leftovers that need to be reheated. I'd like a lunchbox that he can largely handle on his own, though of course the teachers will give him a hand. And I'd like the food containers to be reusable and non-toxic.<br>
What's a good lunch box to get him? I was thinking I could just get him a regular plastic or fabric lunchbox and put his sandwiches or leftovers in tupperware that I buy separately.<br>
But then some of the little sets like Laptop Lunch, which are phthalate free and come with the different sized boxes, also look cute, though that one didn't seem to have a space for a drink.<br>
Then I was also looking at some of the stainless steel containers, but if I send leftovers they wouldn't be able to go in the microwave.<br>
What works for you?
 

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I have a laptop lunchbox, and I think it's pretty big. Maybe too big for a pre-schooler. But, I really do love it, and think it's the easiest to use.<br><br>
My daughter likes just a plain divided Rubbermade container. Her friends call it "the ghetto box".<br><br>
Neither have a space for a drink though.<br><br>
The laptop lunchbox fits into a regular insulated lunchbag. So, if you choose that, you don't need the one that comes in an insulated bag.<br><br>
These are kinda cute! <a href="http://www.reusablebags.com/store/goodbyn-lunch-p-1974.html?osCsid=6c96a5e5975917f5ab4df93e4de834ea" target="_blank">http://www.reusablebags.com/store/go...4df93e4de834ea</a> But, it also looks huge.
 

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I love DD's Hanna Anderson lunch boxes. And she have several. They wash and wear really well. We just add an ice pack.<br><br><a href="http://www.hannaandersson.com/category.asp?id=bags+%26+more_backpacks+%26+more" target="_blank">http://www.hannaandersson.com/catego...packs+%26+more</a>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>nextcommercial</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15463661"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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These are kinda cute! <a href="http://www.reusablebags.com/store/goodbyn-lunch-p-1974.html?osCsid=6c96a5e5975917f5ab4df93e4de834ea" target="_blank">http://www.reusablebags.com/store/go...4df93e4de834ea</a> But, it also looks huge.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bigeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bigeyes"> Would it be totally wrong to buy that for myself? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>nextcommercial</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15463661"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have a laptop lunchbox, and I think it's pretty big. Maybe too big for a pre-schooler. But, I really do love it, and think it's the easiest to use.<br><br>
My daughter likes just a plain divided Rubbermade container. Her friends call it "the ghetto box".<br><br>
Neither have a space for a drink though.<br><br>
The laptop lunchbox fits into a regular insulated lunchbag. So, if you choose that, you don't need the one that comes in an insulated bag.<br><br>
These are kinda cute! <a href="http://www.reusablebags.com/store/goodbyn-lunch-p-1974.html?osCsid=6c96a5e5975917f5ab4df93e4de834ea" target="_blank">http://www.reusablebags.com/store/go...4df93e4de834ea</a> But, it also looks huge.</div>
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That is so cute! It does look gigantic, though. The picture of it in the cubby... I can't imagine a 6yo carrying that around! I totally want one, though.
 

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I love my preschooler's <a href="http://www.planetbox.com/" target="_blank">PlanetBox</a><br><br>
Won't handle reheating, but I prefer sending cold lunches. I do not like her having to wait for them to warm up her meals. This leaves her more time to eat.
 

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We do LL Bean lunchboxes, like this one:<br><a href="http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/62857?from=SR&feat=sr" target="_blank">http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/62857?from=SR&feat=sr</a><br><br>
With a Foogo Thermos, small Gladware, and a bunch of reuseable, velcro bags from etsy.<br>
-e<br><br>
p.s. If I'm going to send something hot, I use a Foogo Food Thermos for that. As long as you fill it with boiling water for five minutes or so in the morning, it seems to keep food pretty hot.
 

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We use lap top lunch boxes. I just got the carrying case (that looks like a lap top case) and the set of separate containers that all fit together inside it. I skipped the middle layer, which seemed like a pointless layer. There is room for reusable ice and a water bottle.<br><br>
I prefer this option to using tuperware because it all fits together really well, so it's less bulky for how much food is being carried around.
 

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Oh, we use the smallest Pyrex glass containers with lids. These are really nice and last a lifetime. We've used ours for years inside the Hanna Andersson lunchbox. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br><a href="http://workingmoms.about.com/od/momstoolbox/gr/pyrexreview.htm" target="_blank">http://workingmoms.about.com/od/moms...yrexreview.htm</a>
 

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I took DS with me and had him open the lunchboxes and containers when we went through this.<br><br>
We ended up with containers and a lunchbox from The Container Store. The lunchbox is BIG but he can do the zipper easily and it has a separate compartment for the ice packs so they don't fall out when he opens it.<br><br>
His food containers have these folding side latches that are super easy for him to do. They were the only ones he could manage on his own.<br><br>
So I would go to a store and play around and see what your child is able to manipulate right now.
 

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I wouldn't send leftovers in plastic to be reheated in the microwave. I would use a thermos to keep it warm or glass to reheat... or at least pack a paper plate to have the food microwaved on that instead.<br><br>
That being said, we like our planet box, too, for the most part. The only problem is the carrying case. There is a mesh pocket for holding a juice box, or in our case, we pack an organic UHT milk. The mesh pocket has ripped several times because of the corners of the containersand I've patched it and patched it. Now I have to use the other outside pocket for dd's milk. I don't recommend the carrying case for the planet box, but the box itself is nice. I don't know if I'd spend the money on it again, though.<br><br>
The best system that we have is just an old-fashioned metal lunch box and a variety of containers to put the food in. A thermos won't fit, so if I send something hot, it's separate.
 

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Dd's been using a laptop lunch box since she turned 3. She's a teeny girl, and the size has been totally fine for her (we don't fill the containers all the way, of course). She LOVES having the different compartments, and it gives a lot of flexibility in terms of what kind of meal you pack.
 

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It must be a toddler-sized cubby, because the Goodbyn is only 12.5" long. They have a new "ear-less" version for older kids and adults. If I don't get a Planetbox this year, I'll get a Goodbyn for my DS.
 

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I use a fabric lunch box that has a built in freezer pack that I got on a clearance sell at the sports store. It is very convenient because I just freeze it and put the food in. I use reusable tupperware or sandwich bags for most of our lunch things. If you are sending things that need to be heated up then I think you should see if they will let you send in a glass bowl or something. I don't think plastic is safe in the microwave, not that microwaves are all that safe themselves. Ziploc, Glad, and Saran are listed as safe plastics to use (though not if you are serving hot food). There are waxed paper sandwich bags that you can get that may be more convenient if you are super busy or sometimes forget to wash the lunch stuff.
 

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We usually use a laptop lunch box for our 7 y.o and our 1 1/2 y.o., both of whom don't eat much (leftover lunch = afterschool snack). For warm foods, I send a foogo thermos in a cloth lunchbox--can't remember the brand.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>*bejeweled*</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15464161"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Oh, we use the smallest Pyrex glass containers with lids. These are really nice and last a lifetime. We've used ours for years inside the Hanna Andersson lunchbox. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br><a href="http://workingmoms.about.com/od/momstoolbox/gr/pyrexreview.htm" target="_blank">http://workingmoms.about.com/od/moms...yrexreview.htm</a></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> We've used these for years as well. We just have cloth lunch sacks at this point. A few of these, a reusable water bottle & they're good to go.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>NYCVeg</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15464566"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Dd's been using a laptop lunch box since she turned 3. She's a teeny girl, and the size has been totally fine for her (we don't fill the containers all the way, of course). She LOVES having the different compartments, and it gives a lot of flexibility in terms of what kind of meal you pack.</div>
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Yeah, this. Even my 17 month old can carry hers around just fine. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">: Everyone in our family has one, from the 17 month old to my 32 year old husband. The only thing we alter is the quantity of food--clearly the dishes are filled with DH and me, and only about 1/3 filled for the baby, and about half filled for the middle two kids.
 

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We have a Goodbyn and it is really cute! The problem is that it is extremely hard to get it shut tightly, DD could not do it and even the teachers and my DH and I had a hard time.<br>
Once you get it closed, it's great! I put dip in there for her veggies and it doesn't leak and it has room for the water bottle.<br><br>
The only other thing is that 2 of the compartments are huge and the other 2 are tiny. So you can put dip or sauce in one of the small ones but it's a bit tight to fit anything in the other small one, I used to throw in some grapes or cherry tomatoes.<br>
DD also doesn't like having different foods touch so that left me with 2 big compartments that only had a little in each and not as many options.<br><br>
I think we are going to get a laptop lunch box this year for kindergarten.
 

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We use a laptop lunch box too and love it. You don't have to fill it full, but it is nice to have all of the little compartments for a variety of foods.<br><br>
We also have a couple of plain old reusable lunch bags (you can make them yourself if you're crafty!). You can make or buy reusable sandwich wraps too. And use small tupperwares for things that don't need to be re-heated (we don't microwave in tupperware).
 
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