Waste-Free Lunch Gear: Review #2

Waste-Free Lunch Gear: Review #2

We are in the middle of summer! Welcome to my second of three reviews of waste-free lunch containers. This post is part of my collaboration with the wonderful Halifax family shop, Nurtured Products for Parenting.  

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Nurtured carries a beautiful and extensive selection of waste-free lunch gear . They also stock excellent baby products (I started shopping there when I was pregnant with my first child, seven years ago), but as our family grows older, the store is a perfect go-to for everything you need for school lunch. I use their gear in work lunches, also; it's really for the whole family. 

One of my central philosophies in the Bite-Sized Kitchen is to use whole ingredients and cook from scratch. With an excellent supply of portable lunch containers, the transfer from homemade meal to packed lunch becomes that much simpler. 

 Age 6 and ready for day camp. He helped pack this lunch

Age 6 and ready for day camp. He helped pack this lunch

 Plays well with others

Plays well with others

This month, I was thrilled to be able to test out a couple of bento-style containers: both systems have mini compartments, to allow for lots of variety. The two boxes I tested are made by Bentgo. I tried the Bentgo Fresh (green box on the left) and the Bentgo Kids (blue box). 

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I had never used a bento-style container before, and I really loved using both of these boxes. The green one is a little larger, and thus geared more towards adult-sized lunches. The blue one has more, and smaller, compartments, and is smaller overall. In terms of size considerations, I think my 6-year-old could have handled the amount of food in the Bentgo Fresh (the larger sized box). I sent him to day camp in the forest with the Bentgo Kids, plus an extra container on the side, and all of it would come back empty after a full day. The Bentgo Kids was a perfect size for my 4-year-old to take for morning snacks at a half-day camp. She loved the wide variety of items (as did my 6-year-old). It's a great box for presentation: wonderful for kids to have so many options, but small enough amounts that it's possible to finish everything.

The small compartments do translate to more chopping for the adult packing the lunch (until your kid can help you prep their lunch, of course!). The Bentgo Kids compartments are quite small - I packed cantaloupe separately, for example, because it would have taken up the entire largest section.

As for ease of use, both of my kids can easily open the latches of both of these containers. They are durable - especially the Bentgo Kids, since it has rubber edges to protect against drops. The trays pop out easily for washing and you can even buy a spare insert tray to fill and tuck in the fridge the night before. The sets are simple to hand wash and a great benefit is that with only one piece, kids are a lot less likely to lose the container at school! 

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 Drying after a hard day out

Drying after a hard day out

I was surprised and pleased to learn that these boxes are also very slim and compact. It's a great design. One of the reasons I chose a different set of containers for my son for his first year of school last fall was that I was concerned that a bento-style container was too large to fit in the lunchbag we had for him (this SoYoung cooler bag); turns out, the Bentgo Kids fits just fine. It slips easily into a preschooler-sized backpack (such as this kind, which we have), even with other items in the backpack. Bentgo also sells handy, skinny freezer packs, to toss in an insulated lunch bag with the box.

As usual in the lunches I put together, you see in these photos a combination of leftovers (mac and cheese, salad, cooked potato, spelt pancake), raw fruit and veggies, and nutrient-dense proteins like chickpeas, roasted tofu, nuts, cheese, bacon or ham sandwiches, and omelettes. For further lunchbox ideas, have a look at my past lunchbox posts (including my first review, of one of Nurtured's other great containers). This post is a fun one, too.

I do try to get my kids involved in making their own lunches, and Cash (6) loved making this little video describing the lunch. If kids are excited about their lunch, they are likely to eat it. He found this container a lot of fun, especially the little dip section in the middle: his preferred dip is salted butter, which he likes to use for cucumbers, pretzels, etc. 

Thank you so much for your generosity, Nurtured. I can highly recommend the Bentgo lunch systems as super waste-free lunch containers!