When I was a kid, I almost always took my lunch to school. Between the mystery meat and puzzling menu match-ups (my sister is still wonders why pizza always came with a side of canned corn), it was the only way to survive. Early every morning, Mom got up and made our lunches, then packed them in plain brown paper sacks which she folded down the tops of before stapling them shut. Not exactly trend-setting stuff but that was a-ok with me. I was content knowing Mom had trimmed the crust from the sandwich bread and given the sliced raw carrots to my sister instead of me.
When I graduated from college and entered the work force, I bought my own stack of little brown bags (and a stapler) and the tradition lived on.
However, that was then–this is now. As summer vacation nears its end, hasn’t the time come to rethink brown bagging and treat your kids (or yourself) to a more posh portable lunch container?
The Bindi Pop Up Silicone Double lunchbox is colorfully cool and made of high-grade FDA food safe silicone that’s non-absorbent and BPA-free. It’s designed with an integrated fork and spoon set and is microwave/freezer/dishwasher safe. Best of all, when emptied, this lunchbox collapses to 1/3 of its expanded size so it saves space in totes, backpacks and kitchen cabinets. $20.
Parents, before you balk at the price ($59.50)–consider this. The Mackenzie Gray Butterfly All-in-One lunch bag is made to last and comes totally tricked out. It’s woven of tough 600-denier polyester and has a PEVA lining made of eco-friendly, food-safe vinyl. The bag comes with a dishwasher-safe stainless steel food box and utensils that are lead, phthalate and BPA-free; and a zipper mesh pocket for napkins and utensils. The bag can be personalized which will make it easier for your child not to lose it.
LunchSkins sandwich bags ($8.95 each) are eco-friendly cotton sandwich and snack carriers that have fabric tab fasteners. These quick-dry bags are top rack dishwasher-safe or machine washable. They’re a stylish way to replace the 20 million or more sandwich bags that pile up in U.S. landfills annually. Oh yeah–there’s also a spot on the front bag flap to inscribe your name.
The Heritage Traveling Collection serves up a vintage plaid pattern that’s a true classic. Like the original versions now coveted by collectors, the lunchbox is made of metal (100% PVC-free tin). The thermos and coffee mug are stainless steel. $9.95-$29.95.
If I had my druthers, I’d pack my sandwich in the Alphabet Cats & Dogs lunch bag from Harrods. This wipe-clean insulated bag is a pet lovers delight with illustrations of dog and cats against Harrods’ trademark hunter green background. And at £5.95, this bag from the most legendary retailer in London is a down-right steal (even factoring in the exchange rate).