Just when you thought mornings couldn’t be much more complicated (I am trying to master plaiting; enough said) now my three-year-old moves to pre-reception at a New School. And they require her to take a lunch box.
I thought it would mean a Postman Pat box with an apple. But no. Things have moved on.
Read on to share the fruits of a surprisingly large amount of research…
I found this brand recommended on Mumsnet. Essentially it is a neoprene zip up bag – useful in that the whole thing can go in the washing machine. We have been using it all summer, and is ideal for car journeys as much as school meals.
(£9.99 normally but now on sale at £4.99), Bibetta.com
Elsa adored the Tum Tum lunch box range: specifically Scruff the Dog which features on:
*Excellent stacking pots, which don’t leak (3 for £9)
*An insulated lunch box, with little rucksack handles on the back (and a holder for a little photo of Elsa) (£15)
*A neat water bottle with an easy to flip open cap (£7)
To view the whole brilliant collection see here
Regulations prevent most schools from heating up your child’s lunch. Get round it with a thermos flask. There’s a TumTum one (obvs), but the one I tried I bought off Amazon is a Thermos Food Flask (£17.99), which will either keep food warm or chilled.
Annabel Karmel’s Lunch Boxes book is not a bad place to start. Also try Pinterest for some fine looking ideas.
I have equipped myself with:
*Sandwich cutters: nothing like a sandwich in the shape of a star or a dinosaur
*Food Doctor pitta breads
*Lots of wholemeal tortilla corn wraps (so lunch isn’t wheat-based every day)
As far as bottles/ flasks go, my winner is the Oxo Tot drinking bottle from Lakeland (£7.99) which never leaks.
NB Lakeland also does pleasing tupperware in which the lids have a coloured rim which matches the rim of the base, reducing time spent hunting for the correct pair, and Sistema boxes which have fold out compartments for sandwich, cut fruit etc.
I haven’t tried but have heard good things on Sigg drinking bottles – metal, with a plastic spout you can replace, which are sold at a variety of prices on ebay.
What to put in it? Well, water, or for a treat Strawberry Fields cold pressed juice. I’ve always been anti-juice for the sugars but this delicious version – available in WH Smith and Ocado – has strawberry and apple, but also carrots and beetroot.
So, the wisdom seems to be that over time they will need to carry more than just a lunch box, so a greater bag which also fits books etc will be necessary.
The YKRA brand, old school canvas bags in lovely primary colours, is available on Meliejoe.com.
They start at around £64 – hence my daughter admires from afar rather than owns one herself –but if you do dare to browse the site try not to notice the Stella McCartney Tiger Rucksack or you will be in real trouble…
In fact everything on the Melijoe site is utterly irresistable. And Parisian. And generally a little plus cher, but oh so chic.
Finally the universal advice is to EMPTY THE BOX as soon as your beloved offspring arrive home.