COOL, CRE­ATIVE AND EASY-TO-CARE-FOR LUNCHBOXES

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Afun part of back-to-school shop­ping is the search for the per­fect lunch con­tainer. Should it be square with a zip, with space for lots of tasty items? A smart lit­tle purse-like af­fair? A sack? And what about the pat­tern? When you’re go­ing to be spend­ing ev­ery lunch hour with it, it’s im­por­tant to get it right. This fall, there are lots of new de­signs for stu­dents old and young, with thought­ful de­tails and add-ons meant to make lunchtime pleas­ant and palat­able.

Form and func­tion

Karen Cicero, con­tribut­ing edi­tor at Par­ents magazine, re­minds par­ents and care­givers to keep kids’ ages and grade lev­els in mind when shop­ping for lunchboxes. “If you have a preschooler or kinder­gartener, you’ll want a box that’s easy to open and close,” she says. “For mid­dle school­ers, you want to make sure it’s large enough to hold their lunch, an ice pack, and snacks they’ll need for after-school prac­tices.”

Also con­sider how easy the box is to clean, and whether it hooks on your child’s back­pack, “which is a good fea­ture so it doesn’t get lost or sep­a­rated,” Cicero said. Many lunch-kit col­lec­tions can be co­or­di­nated with back­packs, wa­ter bot­tles, and hot or cold in­su­lated con­tain­ers.

Bento boxes

Bento boxes are big among ele­men­tary and mid­dle school kids, says Cicero. Pop­u­lar for years in Asia, bento boxes are made of plas­tic or steel fit­ted with var­i­ous-size com­part­ments. That sep­a­ra­tion keeps foods from be­com­ing a pile of crumbs or mush. And with just one con­tainer to wash and re-use, there’s of­ten less waste.

No more zip­pered bag­gies, plas­tic wrap or foil to pol­lute the en­vi­ron­ment. There are built-in bento con­tain­ers in many of this sea­son’s lunchboxes. Or Bentgo’s color­ful, leakproof bento con­tain­ers come in sev­eral va­ri­eties, in­clud­ing an in­su­lated bowl with a sil­i­cone­lined snap lid and its own fork and spoon.

Ditch the dis­pos­ables

Other en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly op­tions in­clude Russbe’s sturdy, gus­seted re­us­able bags, which come in a bunch of de­signs and sizes. All have leak-re­sis­tant dou­ble-lock clo­sures; they’re al­ter­na­tives to plas­tic bags. Cicero also likes Packit: The whole bag is lined with a gel ma­te­rial, so you can freeze it the night be­fore and food stays chilled all day. There’s a peppy buf­falo check, and a tie-dye pat­tern in the col­lec­tion. “Our school has a zero-waste pol­icy, so we try to pack most food in a ther­mos or con­tain­ers. Snap lids are eas­i­est for the kids to open,” says Toronto mom Amy Tse.

Kristy Lu­centi of Brook­lin, On­tario, says her young son picked out a PBKids’ car-themed lunch­box that matches his back­pack. “I found a set of Rub­ber­maid con­tain­ers that fit nicely in his lunch bag,” she says. “His school is strict on zero waste, so the con­tain­ers are very con­ve­nient.” She puts morn­ing and af­ter­noon snacks in the smaller con­tain­ers and his lunch in the big one.

Trend­ing top­ics

“What’s new is that you’ll see a lot of girls with tra­di­tional boy de­signs,” says Cicero. “Gen­der-neu­tral op­tions in­clude geo­met­ric pat­terns, stars and an­i­mals.” Uni­corns are trend­ing strongly with girls, she says. Zaz­zle.com has a nice va­ri­ety; a lot fea­ture rain­bows, too. Tar­get has the Skip Hop Zoo uni­corn-shaped bag, and Gym­boree of­fers a uni­corn-printed box that clips to a match­ing back­pack.

Other pop­u­lar pat­terns? Cute cats and fun food

Pot­tery Barn Kids has a lunch sack shaped like a kit­ten’s face; it wouldn’t look out of place on a 20-some­thing’s of­fice desk.

Photo-printed lunch boxes and bags stand out from the crowd; some are even 3-D. For younger kids, di­nosaur, galaxy, mer­maid and cam­ou­flage pat­terns in glow-in-the-dark inks are pop­u­lar. Cicero also men­tions quin­tes­sen­tial fa­vorites like su­per­heroes and sports themes. Nike has lunch-size ver­sions of its clas­sic duffel bag.

Croc­o­dile Creek has de­signs with jun­gle, ro­bot and back­yard an­i­mal themes. And Hanna An­der­s­son of­fers soft lunchboxes in whim­si­cal de­signs in­clud­ing a galaxy and space­ship, flut­tery but­ter­flies, race cars, and smil­ing suns with rain­bows. For older boys, con­sider video-game ref­er­ences like Minecraft or Halo 5 lunchboxes. Li­censed char­ac­ters are peren­nial lunch­box fa­vorites. This year, a Won­der Woman lunch­box picks up on the movie’s pop­u­lar­ity. And the front of a Star Wars Chew­bacca lunch­box is cov­ered in wash­able fake fur.

Fash­ion for­ward

Al­li­son Spam­panato, se­nior vice pres­i­dent for prod­uct de­vel­op­ment at Pot­tery Barn Kids and PBTeen, is bet­ting on a few stylish de­signs: “Our Emily & Meritt gear fea­tures neon pink and over­size flo­rals, bring­ing two trends to­gether,” she says. Other graphic stand­outs in that col­lec­tion: a chic, black-zip­pered lunch sack with the word MEOW in white type, and a bold, black-and-white-banded sack. There’s also a shi­bori mo­tif. Larger-scale ging­ham and polka dots, and icons like sail­boats, bows and hearts are a fresh take on preppy. — AP

This photo shows bows and polka dots that jazz up a pretty Emily & Meritt lunch bag from Pot­tery Barn Kids. — AP pho­tos This photo shows a Emily & Meritt Neon Roses lunch sack from Pot­tery Barn Teen that com­bines fash­ion for­ward trends in a stylish lunch tote that would ap­peal to any age.

This photo shows steel bento boxes.

This photo shows glow-in-the-dark di­nos that make for a fun lunch box from Pot­tery Barn Kids.

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