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BACK TO SCHOOL – Choosing the best lunch box for your child

With so many different lunchboxes on the market, it can be tough to choose one that suits your needs, so we enlisted the help of an expert. We asked Joanne from online health and wellness store Shop Naturally for answers to the 5 most commonly asked questions when choosing a lunch box.

Are BPA Free Plastic Lunch Boxes safe?

LunchBots lunch box

Let me start by briefly explaining what BPA is for those who may not know. BPA (or Bisphenol-A) is a chemical found in some plastics, canned food and even thermal cash register dockets. It is a known endocrine disruptor, which is the body system that runs your hormones. Many countries, including places like Canada, have banned the use of it, especially in baby bottles. In Australia, there is no ban, and the industry is self-regulated. In my store, I have a strict BPA Free policy for anything that touches food & drink, and that goes all the way down to the packaging of our tinned coconut milk. You may be surprised to know that many organic food companies place organic produce inside cans with this hormone disrupting chemical inside.

There’s a lot of media around whether BPA Free plastic is safe or not, and claims that the replacement materials are worse. After speaking with building biologist, healthy homes author and naturopath Nicole Bijlsma about this topic last year, here’s our recommendation when it comes to lunch boxes:
Most lunch boxes are made from #5 (polypropylene) and never contained the main BPA source, polycarbonate in them to begin with. Polycarbonate was used to make clear, hard plastic that looks like glass. Lunch boxes aren’t made out of these materials. 
BPA Free or otherwise, plastic breaks down in extremes of temperatures, so keep them out of the dishwasher, the freezer and the sun.

I don’t like the idea of plastic in my kids lunch box. What are the best alternatives?

By far, the most popular choices in our store are the Lunchbots range. Why? They’re all stainless steel so there’s no plastic touching your food. Ever. The lids are snug and won’t let anything fall out but not leak proof for liquid, however we also have solutions for that.

U Konserve

They’re available in 2 different sizes and 4 different bento configurations for those kids who like their food kept separate. 

What do you have that’s stainless steel and leak proof?

In a standard stainless steel lunch box, we have several options from the U Konserve brand with BPA Free plastics lids and a stainless steel base. There are also a variety of snack pots with screw lids for dips, yoghurt, dressing and more.

There is also a range of insulated food jars available that will keep left overs hot or cold for hours. Use them in summer for salads and in winter for soup.

What’s the best solution you’ve found for keeping food insulated?

The best way to keep lunch boxes cool until lunchtime is to pop them in to an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack. Our favourites are the range from Fridge To Go. The ice packs live inside their own compartments so they don’t sweat and make the inside of your lunch bag wet. Genius. They insulate for up to 8 hours and we’ve provided real life photos on our website so you can see what fits inside.

Can I put my lunch box in the dishwasher?

If it’s plastic, we advise you not to. You’ll get more life out of them if you wash them by hand. If it’s stainless steel, you can do it as long as there’s no paint on the outside. For anything else, check the manufacturers details. 

Joanne Musgrave is the founder of Shop Naturally and a Holistic Health Coach

Visit the Shop Naturally website
Jump to the Lunch Boxes section
January 25, 2015