Lunch Box Essentials to Simplify Your Life, Save You Money and Change The World!

conversationswithmysister_Lunchbox Essentials_Beeswax Wraps
Posted by on January 16, 2017

“Buy less, choose well, make it last”

Vivienne Westwood

Tried and tested lunch box essentials and zero waste choices for back to school families, conscious travellers and people on the go! In this article you will find product reviews, convenient links, recipe suggestions and a crafty #DIY to help get you well on the way to successfully packing ‘nude’ and nutritious lunch boxes each and every day.

Our family is a packed lunch family – for school, when we head out and about for day trips, weekends away and even when we are travelling. We have found there is no substitute for the convenience of having food on hand as soon as the ‘hangries’ hit, let alone the money saving and health advantages of bringing something freshly prepared from home.

Over the years we have put to the test a number of reusable storage containers, bags, wraps and lunch boxes, which suit both of our childrens’ eating habits and routines. All of the items reviewed have enabled us to replace single-use plastic and pack zero waste lunch boxes – perfect for schools implementing ‘nude’ lunch box policies. Lastly, a couple of recommendations for insulted and leak proof drink bottles (after all we do live in the desert). The importance of a reliable drink vessel can never be underestimated when carried with you everywhere.

You have asked and I am more than happy to share!

 

PlanetBox

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Last Christmas marked 12 months since our Little Girl received her PlanetBox Rover from Santa (what can I say, he has excellent taste). She is our consistent ‘snacker’ and honestly this lunch box design, with all the different compartments, could not be more perfect for her. As the person who packs the lunches every morning, I find filling each section inspires variety and creativity, so much so I am regularly tempted to keep it home for myself.

Although the PlanetBox is not leakproof, it does come with two leakproof containers (replaceable seals) perfect for yoghurts, dips or more messy foods like leftover dinners with a runny sauce. The PlanetBox ice pack, with its own coldkit sleeve, keeps the food chilled all day and slips seamlessly into the inside of the carry bag. It also has the added little touch where the lunch box lid can be decorated with magnets (replaceable), there is a range of themes to choose from. One last and important factor for busy households is, this stainless steel lunchbox and its containers, can be placed in the dishwasher at the end of every use – sweet!

After 12 months of being packed everyday for school, as well as travelling with us on weekend outings and holidays away, it still looks and performs as good as it did when new. There is no doubt this PlanetBox has years of life ahead making it true value for money. And, just for the record, while Mummy was off enjoying her #mummaonthelooseAUS holiday, Daddy, our Little Girl and the PlanetBox won the ‘Healthy Lunch Box of the Week’ Award at school 😍.

 

RECIPE INSPIRATION From Georgia @Well Nourished

– Berry Nice Brownies

Salty Snails (The Well Nourished LunchBox Ebook) 

 

Fridge-To-Go

conversationswithmysister_Zero Waste Reusable Lunchbox Ideas

Unlike the PlanetBox, the Fridge-To-Go lunch box has just one main food compartment and two small sealable pockets which we find perfect for cutlery (we use spoons and forks straight from the drawer at home). Having one main section allows daily ‘portion’ flexibility as well as a whole piece of fruit. These practical points are exactly what attracted us to this lunch box for our Little Man, as well as the compact chilling panel (included) which really does keep contents cool for the whole day. He has used his Fridge-To-Go virtually every day for around two-and-a-half years, both for school and during family travels and, although it is looking well loved (I believe he has ridden on it as he was pulled around the school oval at one stage 😳), it is still in a completely reliable condition.

Just recently we had to replace the chilling panel as the original one leaked while he was at school. Two-and-a-half years working perfectly is pretty good going wouldn’t you say? This particular brand fills their cooling panel with non-toxic purified salt water so I wasn’t worried, never-the-less it was an important reminder to choose non-toxic cooling panels/packs to keep food chilled. Checking if a brand provides replacement parts is another great tip when researching products as it prolongs the use of an item, ultimately generating less ‘stuff’ to landfill. Great for the environment as well as your budget.

 

RELATED POST – Sustainable and Convenient Travel Tips

 

Honeybee Beeswax Wraps

conversationswithmysister_reusable bees wax wraps

Honeybee Reusable Beeswax Wraps are handmade on a family farm in Byron Bay Australia, from 100% organic cotton fabric, natural beeswax, jojoba oil, coconut oil and tree resin. They are the most perfect replacement for single-use plastic wrap and work brilliantly both in lunch boxes and for storing food at home (more on plastic-free storage in a future post – watch this space). Honeybee Wrap sell their reusable wraps in a practical pack of three, or four different sizes and using them is as easy as folding or scrunching the edges around your food or container. You can see an example here.

Thanks to the antibacterial properties of the wax and oil, they absolutely keep your food super fresh and when you are finished, washing the Honeybee Beeswax Wraps is as simple as using a mild dish wash soap and hanging them out to dry. We regularly have at least one drying over our kitchen tap each day.

Another Company who makes beeswax wraps is Bee Eco Wraps. This is a family run business who live off the grid on a farm in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Although we are yet to try these wraps, their Instagram account is just gorgeous and full of sustainable living inspiration. I highly recommend you pop over and check them out here.

 

RELATED POST – #DIY it’s a (Bees Wax) Wrap.
A step-by-step CWMS blog post for all those creative types keen to have a go at making their own.

 

Sandwich Wraps and Snack Bags

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This is not the first and it won’t be the last time CWMS features Sandwich Wraps and Snack Bags on our blog. You can read all about how we introduced them into our daily routine in a previous post here.
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Our family use a combination of Keep Leaf, 4myearth and Lunchskins depending on the patterns available at the time of buying. Snack bags come in a variety of sizes and, I must admit, we have a full range so we are prepared for everything.
conversationswithmysister_reusable snack bags

Like the BeesWax Wraps they are easily washed in mild dish wash soap and dry over night in all temperatures and climates, making them practical items for school, or to take travelling. Sandwich Wraps and Snack bags take up little to no room in your luggage and being material makes them easy to slip into clothes pockets for snacks on the go. Reusables just make sense – you buy it once, then make it last, which means less items in the weekly shopping trolley.

 

RELATED POST – Starters Kit – 5 Reusable Items to Replace Single-use Plastic.

 

Kids Konserve

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We have tried a few different stainless steel containers and none have had reliable lids which seal as well as these from Kids Konserve . Ours have been filled with everything from yoghurt, ‘runny’ dinners like a curry, juicy fruits and home baking, all tossed around in a lunchbox and haven’t leaked yet. Yes the lids close firm however, both children can easily reopen them.

conversationswithmysister_lunchbox essentials_kids Konserve

We have the trio pack which ‘nest’ inside one another. The large lid (replaceable) secures them together which is perfect for travelling. They work brilliantly for storing left over dinners taken home in a ‘doggy bag’ from a restaurant, protect fresh fruit bought from the local markets and even the odd sneaky treat.

The Kids Konserve products are free from BPA, lead and PVC and both the tub and the lid are dishwasher safe – hooray!!

 

RELATED POST – The Truth about BPA Free

 

Reusable Drink Bottles
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With an estimated 38BN disposable water bottles ending up in landfills each year, ensuring each member of our family has a reusable, leak proof, drink bottle is on my ‘not negotiable’ list. Leaking water bottles are the bane of my life, as having water soak the contents of your handbag, school bag, or carry on luggage, can push even the most patient soul into an instant frenzy.

When we moved to the UAE it became important to source good quality, insulated bottles (for obvious reasons). The two drink bottles we left Australia with and still use nearly two years later, are the Thermos FUNtainer and Contigo Sheffield. Both are insulated stainless steel, with silicone mouthpieces and straws. Neither drink bottle has ever let us down however, the FUNtainer is our most impressive find. You can read more in the attached instagram picture below.

 

The Kathmandu double wall drink bottle is another favourite, although it was accidentally left behind in Australia and is still there waiting for me to pop home and pick it up 😜 !

 

CWMS is excited to share these practical lunch box essentials and to start conversations which align with our Keeping it R.E.A.L. ethos. In staying true to our values and commitment outlined in our Introductions Page, here are some important facts regarding the above eco friendly products:

  • Food safe and free from toxic chemicals (BPA, lead and phthalates free)
  • Organic, biodegradable and/or recycled materials
  • Replaceable parts
  • Family run small business
  • Handmade/homemade
  • Fair Trade + Ethically produced
  • Social enterprise companies with community consciousness

 

Related Post: Your Sustainable Lifestyle Checklist – A Universal Perspective

 

Why Avoiding Single-use Plastic Matters

While Keri from Our Globetrotters certainly had some stunning images to share from a recent adventure to Phi Phi Islands in Thailand (you can read her detailed post here), this is the capture which had the biggest impact on me…

Serene and beautiful sunset at Phi Phi? Well sort of. We were amazed that we had this beautiful secluded bay only 10 minutes walk away from #phiphiislandvillagebeachresort all to ourselves but incredibly shocked and saddened at what we were walking on, not just soft white sand and seaweed, rubbish. Copious amounts of litter. Water pollution brought in by the tides. You could see the local villagers were making some effort to tidy up and burn some of the waste, but some of it can't be burnt – it's mostly plastics and beach consumables. There is no trash service here, not even roads, everything needs to be collected by hand and taken by boat to a refuse site, a mammoth task. The villagers we speak to say it's been very windy this week so there's more rubbish than usual washing up – but it's a constant problem for them. I'm far from a "greenie" but this honestly moved me to tears last night seeing such a beautiful place destroyed in this way. Are the other beaches on Phi Phi only clean because staff are paid to remove it? Or kind volunteers? (Note the famous Maya Beach was not immune either, even in the this national park and protected swimming area we were dodging mouthfuls of plastic everywhere). Phi Phi Islands are beautiful, a truly stunning place which I don't want to detract from but I think it's important to tell both sides of the story too. I want to bring the kids back to Phi Phi one day to enjoy what we have this week, but Sustainable tourism needs to become a priority or we will lose these beauty spots forever.

A post shared by Adventurous Family Travel Blog (@ourglobetrotters) on

 

Right there is my motivation for continuing on and sharing, our Family’s sustainable journey.  Striving to protect the future health of the planet for ourselves and yes, just as importantly, the next generation. Together we really can make a difference.

 

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|| Lunchbox Essentials - Simplify Your Life + Save You Money + Change The World || conversations with my sister

 

Who could you share this post with and (hopefully) inspire to begin the New Year with greener lifestyle ambitions?

X Shea

Disclosure: Included in this article are links to both individual product companies as well as our preferred Eco Store where you can conveniently shop from one or more brands at the one time. This post is 100% unsponsored and all reviews and opinions are that of my own. It does however contain affiliated links which, when clicked, provide CWMS with a small commission.

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10 Responses to Lunch Box Essentials to Simplify Your Life, Save You Money and Change The World!

  1. Keri

    Thanks so much for highlighting the problems in Phi Phi Shea. It has truly shocked me and still gets me thinking every day what more I can do to fix the problems. We are doing our best to ditch the shopping bags this year and love your lunch box suggestions – sturdy alternatives now we’re beyond the baby plastics stage are great. Kee up the great work raising awareness and sharing solutions.

    • Shea

      Thank you so much Keri for your inspiration to get this post written and published. Looking forward to following your ‘sustainable’ journey and am more than happy to help out along the way – I haven’t given up on seeing you at farmers markets with your trolley yet…😉

  2. Tarana Khan

    Thank you for this very useful post. I do prefer home snacks but sometimes I just bail. This list has really inspired me to buy some nice snack boxes!

    • Shea

      We all have days where all good intentions just go out the window Tarana – me included! A wise man once reminded me, when I was getting all worked up about things, of the importance of progress not perfection…

      Love to hear all about the useful snack boxes you discover, keep me posted!

  3. Abigail

    Love this! We are packing home snacks too, it takes more work and kids complain of heavy bags.
    We have lots of plastic boxes and don’t have a heart to throw since I can’t find recycling centers. Any suggestion?

    • Shea

      Hi Abigail! It really is quite tricky isn’t it when you don’t want to waste perfectly good containers. I’m not sure if there is a simple answer. If the containers are BPA free containers and are still in good condition, then I would be inclined to keep using them till they need replacing. If you are keen to move away from the boxes could you donate them so you know they will continue to be of benefit to someone. Maybe have a look at the Facebook page called ‘freecycle’, not sure if there is a Dubai account, there is an Abu Dhabi one. Does that help…?

  4. Zeyna S. Mummy On My Mind

    Wow, I really was unaware of the vast variety of options, that too so colourful and kids friendly! Great post, that will I am sure help so many!

    • Shea

      There really are so many options available Zeyna, exactly the motivation behind writing this post. We have used all the above listed items for years and can now confidently recommend them as easy to use, great quality and most importantly, reliable eco friendly alternatives.

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