In the Pit Stops for Kids household (and probably yours) it’s back-to-school time, but that doesn’t mean the travel ends. We’ll be enjoying many weekend trips and sports-related road trips, which means we’re looking for school lunch box ideas that double for the car. Our solution: EasyLunchboxes.
EasyLunchboxes is a great system for eco-friendly bento lunches designed by a mom. Based on the bento box lunch philosophy that saves on wrapping and packaging of all sort (including zip-lock baggies), an EasyLunchbox consists of a compartmentalized tray with lid to be paired with a soft-sided, insulated cooler. And unlike many bento lunch systems on the market, it’s affordable: you get a set of four containers, and don’t need to buy extra pieces.
Why EasyLunchboxes work well for school: It’s an all-in-one system. During last school year, we used various bento box style containers, but they were a hassle to stack and store, and inevitably, my kids lost pieces along the way. The EasyLunchBox trays fit into my kids’ favorite lunch bags perfectly (more on that later) and they’re all one piece. Plus, the trays are thin enough that I can still fit an ice pack and a piece of fruit and drink in the bag.
Why EasyLunchboxes work well for travel: Each EasyLunchbox is a tray, so it’s very car-and-plane friendly. Toddlers and preschoolers can eat snacks from the trays while driving around town, and everyone can eat lunch on the go while on road trips or weekend getaways. Plus, three EasyLunchboxes will fit in one approved cooler bag (sold for a separate price), making it simple to pack and stack multiple lunches for the road.
The downside: The only bummer about EasyLunchboxes is the fact that the bento trays are not leak-proof. This is expressed many times on the website (you can’t miss it), and it’s by design, so that young kids can open the lids on their own. I like the fact that the designer of EasyLunchboxes has kid-friendliness in mind, but it is a concern that we can’t pack liquids like yogurt or pudding in the tray.
A few specifics: Each tray has three compartments, and they’re not huge, so older kids will need a few extras tossed into their lunch bag or cooler: as I said, fruit and a drink, or one packaged item will fit easily. Four EasyLunchbox trays sell for $13.95, making this system the most affordable I’ve seen so far in the bento box world. The EasyLunchboxes site sells their own cooler bags with their trays for $7.95, but other lunch bags and coolers will work. (Here’s a list of the most popular lunch bags the EasyLunchboxes will fit into; we fit them into our LL Bean lunch boxes with no problem.) The benefit of using the EasyLunchboxes cooler is that it’s top-loading, with a top-side handle, which means kids will not be carrying it sideways after the (non-leak-proof) tray is inside. The coolers also have plenty of room for additional food or an ice pack. However, they’re a little bit too big to comfortably fit into a standard school backpack and a little bit too small to take on the road. They’re designed to fit three trays for packing for a family, and ours did fit the trays as advertised, but if I’m packing for the whole family, I need a bigger cooler with room for more trays, multiple drinks, ice packs, and other snacks. Check out exact dimensions of the EasyLunchboxes cooler and the trays here. Bottom line: For a road trip, I’ll stick with my larger hard-sided cooler and stack the trays inside, and for school, we’ll use our small LL Bean bags and fit the trays inside. Either way, EasyLunchboxes will be along for the ride.
Pick up your own EasyLunchboxes at Amazon in time for back-to-school!
As I disclose whenever applicable, we received EasyLunchboxes and an EasyLunchbox cooler for the purpose of review. This type of teamwork with family travel product companies makes it possible for us to review new products on the travel scene.