With both my girls in middle school now (how’d that happen??) there were some strong opinions about what kind of lunch boxes (and bags) they’d be using this year. I’ve been sharing some photos on Instagram and Facebook and getting questions, so I thought I’d dedicate an entire post to our new supplies.
Our New Lunch Boxes and Bags
Both girls requested the pictured cube style boxes that they’ve seen some others using. As you can see with the packed lunch pictures below, they fold open to three different compartments. They are made by Sistema (not a sponsor), can be found at Amazon, Walmart, or Target, and come in different colors.
They also both begged me for Vera Bradley lunch bags (luckily we have an outlet nearby, but they are also available on Amazon). This is another one that’s “trending” at their middle school right now and clearly geared more toward girls (sorry to the boy moms reading this!). Even though these are not my personal favorites, as I’ll explain below, middle school has enough challenges as it is so I did not fight them on getting this new gear. You can see our other lunch box favorites on this lunch box review post from the archives.
Pros and Cons
One thing I like about their new lunch boxes, aside from the fact that using them makes my girls happy, is the capacity seems to be bigger than some of our other boxes and therefore more on point for hungry middle school athletes. They asked for the matching little side cups (pictured), and since they fold up into cubes I can easily fit both containers into their lunch bags on the days they really have a big appetite. Or I can cram in something else (like a bag of popcorn) along with the main lunch box.
The lid is attached to these boxes (the big compartment ends up being upside down when you fold it up) so I suppose it’s helpful that you can’t lose or misplace the lid, although it does take up a little more room in the dishwasher as a result. I also like that they come in different colors so I no longer have to put sticky notes on the packed lunches in the fridge (like I did with Ziploc containers) so the girls know whose is whose. A minor detail, but sometimes one less thing to do can make a difference … not to mention it’s less wasteful without the sticky notes!
What I don’t like about the lunch boxes is that they are not leak-proof. This is again why we bought the side containers, which are leak-proof and what we’ll use for yogurt or sauce or juicy watermelon (as pictured below). In regard to the lunch bag, I don’t like that there is not a drink holder on the side, but my kids told me they can just put their water cups in the side pocket of their backpack and bring those to lunch (and refill them throughout the day as needed).
I will also add that I like how, since these are their lunch boxes of choice (for the moment), they are more willing to help me pack their lunch in these containers. They have been helping more, at least so far (only a week and a half into the new school year) … let’s hope it lasts. I did tell them I would only buy these things if they promised to help with their lunches more than last year. :)
What We’ve Been Packing
For those not on social media, or for anyone who would like to see these ideas in one place, this is what we’ve been packing in the new lunch boxes so far this school year!
- BLTs on Whole-Wheat
- Leftover taco meat/veggies/beans
- Corn tortilla (in foil)
- Sour cream
- Cabbage, cilantro and other veggies to go on top
- Cheese melted in a whole-wheat tortilla
- 2 whole-wheat cinnamon graham crackers
- Sliced bell peppers
- Bag of popcorn on the side
- A thrown together corn/tomato/black bean salad (made with leftover corn on the cob)
- Pasta Salad with Red Pepper Pesto (coming to the blog soon)
- Cheese stick
- Organic pepperoni
- Apples and cantaloupe
- Hummus, cheese and lettuce sandwich
- Banana and PB
- Popcorn and roasted pumpkin seed mix
- Hummus/cheese/tomato/lettuce wrap
- Avocado (she squirted a little lime juice on it)
- Grapes (I guess 4 was enough 🤣)
- Leftover Chicken Satay and Coconut Rice (both served cold)
What lunch boxes and bags have you been using this school year?