Several years ago we abandoned plastic containers and switched to glass for storing leftovers. When we started packing lunches for the toddler room, our glass dishes were too big, heavy and fragile. I had a few 4 oz mason jars on hand so I started packing Demetri’s food in those. I didn’t have quite enough of them so I began the quest for the Perfect Lunch Container.
Trying to stay away from plastic and glass, I settled on small stainless steel containers. I ordered these Kids Konserve (reddish lid) and Mira (blue lids) ones from Amazon. I also threw in a few collapsible silicone containers for good measure (green lid). Unfortunately the stainless steel ones were too hard for Demetri to open and pretty small.
Shortly after Demetri started at CMS, Xavier was born. As the exhausted mother of a newborn and a toddler, and the official Dish Washer and Lunch Packer of the family, I quickly grew tired of opening a million containers every night and washing ALL.THE.BOTTLES. It was time for a better solution. His teachers mentioned that many CMS kids use Planetbox lunch boxes. I looked them up online and was shocked, SHOCKED, at the price tag. My inner frugalista could not handle it. Surely there was a better choice. I settled on this multi-compartment stainless steel option by PineSky from the ‘Zon (no longer available).
It was pretty useful but a little on the small side. When Xavier started eating solids, the number of tiny lunch containers I had to empty and wash doubled. Over the next few months I
spent wasted hours and hours searching online for the holy grail of lunch containers. There must be a non-plastic dishwasher-safe lunch container, divided into perfectly sealed compartments that never mix, with a toddler-friendly lid, that was priced affordably and definitely did not require me to pay for shipping. That wasn’t too much to ask, right? I just knew that the Perfect Lunch Container would give me back 30 minutes of precious time in the evening and make my coffee. I eventually chose this multi-compartment collapsible silicone number.
The compartments were deep, I could even fit some of the Kids Konserve bowls in there. It collapsed to a nice small size and the lid was toddler-friendly. It came with a little spork which was quickly lost, but the main problem I encountered was the gasket on the lid. Once it was off, that bad boy was not going back on right. I wrestled with it for longer than I’d like to admit but had no luch. Then one day I noticed the gasket was back in place. A
magical unicorn mystery person fixed it. I decided this container was Pretty OK. Even with the gasket incorrectly installed it still served most of my needs. It was time to invest in another. I hopped on Amazon and NOPE. They no longer offer this product. So the search began again.
In the meantime, Xavier cut his finger on a broken mason jar in his lunch box and Demetri was bringing home cracked and chipped ones. I really wanted to rotate the glassware out. This time I was desperate and decided to go for the much dreaded plastic. I ordered the Bentgo Kids leak-proof lunch box. As soon as I opened it I knew it was a mistake. It was too small, so I sent it back.
So they sent me a frog, but he was too jumpy.*
A couple of years later, I’m still washing too many containers at night and with #3 on the way, I know it will only get worse. I eyeballed another student’s Planetbox container at the end-of-year picnic. Her mom sung its praises. I checked out the Central Eats blog and saw Planetbox pictures. I spied on other kids at drop off… lots of Planetbox containers. But could I really bring myself to spend that kind of money on a lunch container (times 3?) With all the containers I’d auditioned I had certainly spent the same amount of money as one Planetbox would have cost. Still unable to justify the purchase, I placed it in my Amazon cart and saved it for later. A few weeks later, it was Prime Day. I checked my cart and the Planetbox Rover was $16 cheaper. SOLD.
Will it be the Perfect Lunch Container? Stay tuned.
*A little Dear Zoo humor
-Jessica (Demetri – Venessa’s class, Xavier – Toddler room)