The trials and tribulations of choosing a school lunch box

I’m the mum of a school aged child. How did that happen? Well, I know HOW it happened – what I mean is in the early hazy days (oh the haze, the haze!), I never thought I’d see 5 years never mind school days. But here we are – healthy, happy (mostly) and fully functioning.

School is a new routine and one where you have to be grown-up about the process. There’s no casually packing your bag at work and walking to pick up your child because the centre opens until 7pm. For school the bell rings bang on 3pm and out they walk. You need to be there – bang on time. I will admit I was perfectly happy in our day care routine, one that I’ve known for 4.5 years. The thoughts of having to implement and get use to a new routine filled me with dread (slight exaggeration but it didn’t fill me with happiness put it that way). While I was excited for Mr 5 to start school, I wasn’t overly enthused to have to start a new routine.

For the first week of school I took leave from work. It meant I could do some of the drop offs and pickups as that won’t normally be the case. It also gave me time to get familiar with what our routine will be and to meet some other school parents, and I’ve met some nice ones. If you can I recommend taking some time off as it made me more comfortable with the new process and routine.

With school comes the uniform (tick), lunch bag (tick), lunch box and separate containers (eventually ticked!), water bottle (tick) and name labels and a Sharpie pen (tick and tick). I thought picking a lunch box would be pretty simple – and it ended up so after weeks of reviewing different types! We were lucky enough for Mr 5’s day care to implement a lunch system where they bring in a lunch box to get use to opening and closing it and eating lunch from it. All in preparation for school. After mountainous research for a school lunch box we decided to stay with the same one he hard for day care – a Sistema cube lunch box. It was easy to open and close, had space for a full sandwich, snacks and fruit and was easy to wash. Into his lunch bag I also add a separate container for recess (which is morning tea for those not yet in the school routine).


There is an overwhelming amount of online sites that sell different styles of lunch boxes – from Bento to Yum box to the simple Zak or Sistema boxes. They also vary substantially in price. In my opinion, when choosing a lunch box the first question should be can the child open it? After answering that, here are some of my other considerations that may reduce the ‘lunchbox headache’:

– Will recess and lunch be in the one box? If so, will the child know not to eat everything at recess then have nothing left for lunch?
– Will the box (and separate containers for recess, if using) fit into the lunch bag?
– Is the lunch box leak proof?
– Do you need to add an ice pack to keep the food cold?
– Will you need a separate container if sending warm food in winter? And will it fit into the lunch bag?
– What are you willing to pay considering there’s a high chance of the lunch box going missing or breaking at least once during the first year?

It will be hard to not be overwhelmed by the amount of lunchbox and school lunch advertising (blog on school lunches to come soon!). But, if you consider the main points above, and think about what’s going to be easier for you and your child, then it’ll become a fun experience 🙂


2 thoughts on “The trials and tribulations of choosing a school lunch box

  1. The Kids and Co says:

    It really is so hard! We’ve been using Smiggle lunch bags, Tupperware sandwich keepers and a range of other small containers for recess and other bits & pieces but I’m looking around for other options- the Smiggle bags can’t be easily washed and spray n wipe only goes so far!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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