Those of us who pack our kids’ lunches know it’s a pain. Yes, yes, we know: We should have our kids pack them. Well, in our house, I’m still packing them and plan to for some time. I just don’t need another battle right now.
Packing school lunches
My kids are very picky eaters. One also has several allergies, which is an additional challenge. For lunch, they eat practically the same foods every single day, so packing their lunches shouldn’t be a pain. But it still is.
This school year, I thought if I had better reusable lunch containers, maybe I could get my kids to eat better at school. I didn’t want more plastic containers.
Best lunch containers review
One of the ways we try to live green at home is to not use wasteful plastic bags. I try to use reusable lunch containers whenever possible. We’ve tried so many, some with more success than others. What makes for the best lunch containers? There are always considerations:
- What materials is the container made from and are they safe?
- Does it seal completely?
- Does it fit in the lunch bag?
- Will it hold the foods my kids will eat?
- Can my kids open it?
- How easy is it to clean?
- Will my kids want to use it?
- Will it keep foods hot or cold?
This year, instead of giving my kids the same foods every day, I wanted more variety and more protein. My older son brings a slice of pizza every day (always a pain to be sure to have it ready and not the healthiest food) and my younger son brings four slices of regular bacon or turkey bacon (also a hassle to make every day and also not healthy).
I also wanted to be able to pack different types of foods for them, including leftovers. After researching online, I ordered two stainless steel Thinksport insulated food containers. We use their water bottles and like that they’ve lasted a long time.
GO4TH insulated container review
We ordered the 12 ounce and 17 ounce GO4TH containers. They are made from 18/8 medical grade (304 grade) stainless steel.
Safe lunch containers
Thinksport products are safer than a lot of reusable food containers. Each product’s label lists exactly what isn’t in their products. These are materials to avoid at all costs. These Thinksport containers are:
- Free of BPA and BPS
- No PET, phthalates, or PVC
- No other biological chemicals that are harmful
In addition to the safe materials, there are great things about the GO4TH containers:
- Plastic doesn’t touch the food
- These containers hold a lot of food
- They are 100% leak proof
- They are vacuum-insulated and keep food hot
- Built-in spork (my sons love it)
- They can be used for foods or drinks
Thinksport GO4TH 17 ounce review
My older son uses the 17 oz container to bring spaghetti with meat sauce to school. It’s been great to introduce a new hot food. It would work well for stews and soups as well. We’ve also packed strawberries and watermelon (without the rind). These fruits are usually hard to pack for a school lunch because they take up so much room. It’s also been good for salads and fruit salad.
Pros of GO4TH 17 oz container:
- The spork is great and allows them to eat foods without using their fingers
- Holds a lot of food
- You can put liquids in it without fear of leaking
- Compact container for all it holds
Cons of the GO4TH 17 oz:
- Like that the vessel is narrow but it’s hard to reach the food at the bottom without tipping it. The spork doesn’t reach to the bottom.
- There’s an extra plastic piece in the center of the interior lid. If you remove it, there’s a hole. When you wash the lid, water can get in it — and into the cap — so you have to be careful to shake out excess water and to let it completely air dry to avoid mold growth. I’m not sure why this plastic piece is there as it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose to the user.
- There are two lids. You have to use the one that holds the spork for it to be leak proof. The other one serves to cover the spork but isn’t otherwise necessary except maybe to help insulate it more. This second lid does stay clean as it doesn’t come in contact with food but it’s still another piece for the kids to deal with at lunch. (They haven’t complained.)
Thinksport GO4TH 12 ounce review
My younger son loves meat, and this container has been a great way for him to take it for lunch. The 12 oz GO4TH is a good size for leftovers. I’ve packed orange chicken, cut up hamburger, and cut up sausage. He’s eaten them all and has said it stays hot. On days he still wants bacon, I’ve put chunks of frozen berries in the container. He said they’re not completely frozen but likes they are still cold and easier to eat than if they were entirely frozen. So far this container has been exactly what I’ve been looking for.
Pros of GO4th 12 oz:
- Spork is handy and easy to use
- Holds enough food
- Accommodates leftovers
- Keeps food hot
- It hasn’t leaked
- The spork reaches the food at the bottom
Cons of the GO4TH 12 oz:
- This one also has a removable plastic piece in the interior lid (see above)
- There are two lids; wish there was just one
Both sizes come with a spork
My kids love using the spork and like that it snaps right into the lid. It’s easy to remove and to store the spork after you close the lid which means the spork won’t get lost.
What’s also nice is if you don’t use the interior lid (which makes it leak proof) you can fit more food. Note: If you don’t use this interior lid, you have to keep it upright if something can leak but it’s a non-issue if it’s meat, pasta, etc. (It wouldn’t work for soups, juicy fruits, etc.)
The 17 oz size would be great for adults to use for lunch at work and on the go.
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We’ve found these to be the best lunch containers for kids. They’re made from stainless steel and fit in my kids’ lunch bags well. They aren’t bulky. My kids have enjoyed using them at school each day. I’ve been feeling better about giving them some different foods and being able to pack protein-rich foods they will actually eat.