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Do you dread packing school lunches? I used to. I felt so wasteful using those plastic zip-locking bags, especially when I used up to five per lunch, per day. I’ve also used many different brands and sizes of plastic containers.
These were okay sometimes but didn’t work all the time. I really wanted to remove all plastics from the lunch-making process.
So last school year I resolved to do things differently and better, and I bought stainless steel lunch containers.
Read on to learn about the benefits of using stainless steel food containers, and how they can make your mornings so much easier and make packing lunches less wasteful.
No plastic bags in lunches with stainless steel lunch containers
I’m not into making cute lunches. I’m not really that “into” food or recipes to begin with. But I do encourage my kids to choose healthy foods for lunch as often as possible. I have tried all types of containers for packing my kids’ lunches.
Both of my kids are very picky eaters. One of my sons has dairy and egg allergies and won’t eat bread. It used to be a challenge to pack healthy lunches that would nourish and sustain them through the school day.
The stainless steel lunch containers I bought from LunchBots have helped immensely. I now have a way to package and transport leftovers and other foods they like and actually eat.
Why stainless steel lunch containers?
There are many benefits to using the LunchBots stainless steel lunch containers. Here’s what I like best:
- Easy to pack various foods, including leftovers
- Safe & easy to clean in dishwasher
- Reusable & eco-friendly
- Toxin & BPA-free
- Save money over long run
- Easy for kids to open/close lids
- Less clutter in kitchen
What works for packing lunches
For my two children, I bought one Quad All Stainless, one Trio All Stainless, a set of three Dips Condiment Containers, and the Clicks Small Leak Proof Set. These are the only containers I now use to pack lunches.
Quad All Stainless and Trio All Stainless
Stainless Steel Lunch Containers Pros
- fits the foods my kids eat
- easy to clean in dishwasher
- food-grade stainless steel safer than plastic
- lids are easy to open
- eliminated need for other containers
- fit in lunch boxes my kids were using
- durable and will last a long time
- will save money over time
Stainless Steel Lunch Containers Cons
- expensive initially
- for dry foods mostly (as stated on their website; this was not a surprise)
- will have to cut a sandwich smaller to fit (fits in Uno and Duo sizes)
Dips Condiment Containers
Dips Condiment Containers Pros
- fits small amounts of anything
- stainless steel
- safe & easy to clean in dishwasher
- kids can open/close easily
- great for dips, ketchup, etc.
- will save money over time
Dips Condiment Containers Cons
- silicone seal inside lid (food-safe)
These Dips Bot containers are perfect for sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, raisins, cookies, dried fruit, nuts, blueberries, etc.
Toward the end of the school year, my kids’ lunch snack was one Oreo. I put it in one of the circular containers, and it fit perfectly. The container fits two Oreos stacked on top of each other perfectly.
Clicks Small Leak Proof Set
Clicks Small Leak Proof Set Pros
- stainless steel base
- seals completely
- put anything inside
- nice for larger portion of main course; also used for chips
- easy for kids to open/close
- lasts for many years
- stacks easily
- saves money over time
Clicks Small Leak Proof Set Cons
- plastic lid (BPA-free)
- I wash the lids by hand though they are dishwasher-safe
All of the items are made from high quality 18/8 stainless steel safe for foods.
Quad All Stainless: 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″
Trio All Stainless: 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″
Dips Condiment Bots: 2” x 1.5” each
Clicks Leak Proof Set: 5” x 4” x 1.5” and 5” x 4” x 2” (1.25 and 2 cups)
Other stainless steel lunch containers available
There are many other items in various practical sizes. I bought what worked for what my kids would actually eat at lunch. My friend purchased the Bento Cinco All Stainless.
This is 60% larger than the other containers and wouldn’t fit in my kids’ lunch bags which have the insulated section on the bottom. It does fit in her kids’ rectangular lunch bag (the one without a separate zippered section). It measures 8″ x 6″ x 1.75″. Because of the cost, she just bought one to start to see how her kids would like it.
They both love it and want to use it so they take turns until she purchases a second. The only downside is it is not leakproof (as she knew) and once their blueberries smashed and ran into the other foods.
If my kids would eat yogurt, soups, chili, or stews, I would definitely purchase the 8 oz. Rounds containers as well.
Less clutter in kitchen
Because these containers are expensive, I only have used them for my kids’ lunches at school. We don’t take them anywhere else. They won’t get lost or misplaced this way so I was able to justify the investment in these safe, durable, and convenient containers.
They have saved me the hassle of looking for the perfect sized container. Because we only use these containers, I recycled and donated all of our other plastic containers. Also, because we use them every day, we pretty much pack them, wash and dry them, and refill them.
Great stainless steel lunch containers
I procrastinated and then panicked as I realized lunch making season was upon me in two days: school was starting. My grammar-school-aged kids had never once, ever, bought a school lunch (or even a milk). This is a first world “problem” for sure, but I really despised making their lunches every day.
This was mostly because I didn’t have a system that worked, until now. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to find these products.
After buying and using LunchBots, it has been so much easier for me to make lunches. I no longer worry about plastic touching my kids’ food. I’m no longer feeling guilty using and wasting all of those plastic bags on a daily basis.
Amazon offered fast and free shipping in the US. I was excited for my order to arrive. I ordered them on a Monday, and surprisingly, they arrived on Wednesday.
Why I didn’t want plastic containers
I already had lots of plastic containers. They worked for some things, especially when I wanted to pack one thing, like pretzels for a car ride. But there were too many impractical sizes for the foods my kids took for lunch.
And somehow, we were always misplacing the lids. It was hard to clean them well. I didn’t want to put them in the dishwasher because the heat could break down the plastic which could release harmful chemicals into the food.
Best stainless steel lunch containers are eco-friendly
The benefits of these stainless steel containers is that I could put them in the dishwasher to sanitize them after every use. I took them out and refilled them the next morning and repeated the process each day.
I only needed one day-to-day container and lid per child which eliminated all of the different-sized containers I was always searching for before. And think of all of those plastic bags I was saving from the landfills.
After a (school) year of using the LunchBots, I don’t think I used a little plastic bag more than one or two days, and that was because my kids needed to pack a disposable lunch for their field trips.
The LunchBots I purchased were the ones with stainless steel lids. They sell the Quad, Trio, Duo, and Uno with plastic lids also but I highly recommend the “All Stainless” series, which includes the stainless steel lids as well.
I wanted to be 100% stainless steel and be able to safely put everything in the dishwasher without worrying about the plastic breaking down over time. The items I purchased with plastic lids were the leak proof ones. It is the only way to ensure there won’t be leaks.
Now it’s easy to pack lunches
All of this was easy when my kids were in preschool, and I sent them with a plastic bag full of Goldfish and another one with grapes or apple slices.
I was just packing snack time fare for them to reinforce table manners, to sit still, and to learn how to socialize with their peers. Now that they are in elementary school, I need to provide them with actual sustenance.
These are the best stainless steel lunch containers for kids!
As a recap, we own five different sized containers. I wanted to buy what I considered to be universally useful for the types of foods I usually pack for my kids so I bought the Quad All Stainless and the Trio All Stainless.
I also wanted a small container for ketchup and salsa. They offered a three-pack of 1.5 ounce circle containers (Bots) which I bought. The last two items (Clicks) came in a two pack and are the leak proof containers.
They were the ones I was debating on. I’m glad I bought them because we use them a lot. I wanted them because I liked the sizes. I thought they would still easily fit in my kids’ lunch boxes and be useful for the types of foods my kids eat.
And unique to these containers is that they have leak-proof lids that snap shut. The downside is the lids are made from plastic. All of these containers have been user-friendly for my kids.
Goodbye plastic containers
Something to note: I don’t use any of my other plastic containers any more. I donated them if they were decent and recycled the rest. This act alone reduced the amount of clutter in my kitchen from having over 20 plastic containers and lids to now owning a nice stackable set of four rectangular containers and three small circular ones.
I keep them in their own section on a shelf and for most of the year, they are in the dishwasher or in my kids’ lunch bags.
We only use these for school lunches. I don’t take them for snacks in the car or on outings because I do not want to lose them. If I use an occasional plastic bag or paper cup for them to eat Goldfish from sometime in the car, so be it.
I am trying to simplify and be healthier for the 180 days my kids bring lunch to school. I really am happy to have lessened the clutter in my kitchen cabinets.
And remember, you need to have food options. This should go without saying but it is so true that after almost every trip to the grocery store I think to myself, “It is so much easier to feed my kids when I actually have food in the house!”
Yes, this should be obvious. But we have all been in this situation: trying to scrounge up healthy choices for a meal when you don’t have a “main food” and some produce.
I find if I have a meat or some type of protein to work around — even a jar of peanut or sun butter — then I can populate the rest of the meal with handfuls of this and that: some carrots and ranch dressing; some apple slices and raisins; some spinach and blueberries.
Something filling and healthy. My point is that it really helps to have something around, even a box of pasta and a jar of sauce.
Make mornings easier with the right stainless steel lunch container
Most of us have seen the cute lunches on Pinterest. It is hard enough for me to wake up in the mornings and pack my kids’ lunches much less create art out of them. And I always knew I could make them healthier.
When I first saw those cute bento lunch kits and lunch boxes I thought it was for the trendy and or the people who buy whatever is new. It didn’t occur to me how eco-friendly they were.
I have used plastic bags and even those snack size plastic bags to try to save on plastic. I felt wasteful using the zip-lock plastic bags, especially because I was learning more and more about how toxins in plastics can leach into our food.
But mostly I just felt bad every time I used a bag to pack their lunch items; I didn’t want to contribute to the landfills. I have used many different brands and sizes of plastic containers.
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Eliminate plastic bags in lunches
These LunchBots stainless steel lunch containers are convenient, are safe for food, and they get the job done keeping each food separate and also allowing the foods to be portable, just like the plastic bags. I plan on my kids using these every school day for years.