Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fave Lunchbox - Yumbox Panino

I've tried basic plastic tupperware, some disposable, some not. I've tried Lunchbots, Planetbox, GoodBin, Rubbermaid as well as various cute asian bento boxes and realize that there is no perfect lunchbox. That said, my fave so far is the Yumbox Panino. In a perfect world, I'd make a few tweaks but for now, I'll take it!  Here's why:

There are 4 sections. I put the main food item in the large square compartment. In the 2 medium sized ones, I put fruit and vegetables, and the circle in the middle is great for condiments/dip or a small treat. I adore all the cute bentos you see online with cute rice shapes, cute toothpicks, and cut out food but I don't have the time nor the skill level required. Kids with those moms are so lucky! With the Yumbox, you don't have to do anything fancy. Just fill it and it looks attractive and appetizing, as is.

You don't need 3 or 4 different containers with 3 or 4 different lids. Matching up the lids, washing all the pieces, having all the lids fall through the dishwasher cracks, storing all the containers, picking out the right container for each food item...such a pain! And picture your child at school opening them all...chances of spillage are high and chances the teachers are annoyed each time they have to open a container...haha. It's just 1 container to store and 2 parts (outer box & removable tray) to wash either by hand or in the dishwasher. Done.

It is too limiting for me to pack foods that will not leak. What about hummus, salad dressing, ketchup, yogurt, applesauce, and even soy sauce! Lots of other kinds of food gets a little drippy, even fruit. I suppose you can always buy additional leakproof containers but then you end up with all the annoyances I mention above, not to mention the additional cost. The original Yumbox had thicker walls and an imperfect seal. I found some food seeping into other sections. The newer models have fixed this and seem to maximize the food storage space as well. They also now have slits on the silicone interior of the cover. The thin walls slide snugly in to create the awesome seal. This awesome seal also keeps the wet items away from the dry ones. The dry foods stay dry and don't get soggy...crackers, nuggets, what have you.

It's bright, colorful, all neat & pretty. It's easy for kids to open without help from teachers, and it's fun for them to eat, lunchables style. Ever since I started using the Yumboxes for all three of my kids, there is much less food coming back home. Most days, 2 of the 3 bring home near empty boxes and my picky one has been leaving much less.

You don't need plastic baggies, plastic wrap, or a slew of containers. Less waste and cost. You don't need to buy pricier snack sized, individually packaged foods. Instead, you can put your raisins, yogurt, applesauce, or fruit directly into a compartment.

It's compact and light, but not flimsy. It doesn't take up a huge amount of space when open on crowded school lunch tables. I also know that if I fill the Yumboxes, that's generally the right amount of food for my kids. Sometimes I'll throw in a banana, granola bar or frozen yogurt. Before, my portions were not as consistent and a lot of time I overpacked. Now there is much less waste.

Form & function. What else can you ask for?
Although I do not recommend microwaving food in plastic, if you purchased your Yumbox after May 1, 2013, the tray, not outer box, is microwave safe. It is BPA and phthalates-free.

Solid customer service makes the world of difference these days. I found out after the fact, that Yumbox would have replaced a broken latch on an older, used box I tried. They also offered my "Lunchbox Ideas" Facebook group a helpful discount, no questions asked. Love them.

And why the Yumbox Panino over the regular 6 compartment Yumbox?

I think the 4 compartment Panino is much more flexible for a variety of foods. A friend gave me an older original model which I used almost everyday for months. I found it hard to fit certain foods into the small spaces and it didn't maximize the amount of food I could put in the box - nuggets, sandwiches, quesadillas, etc. Also, after packing 3 or 4 items, I felt the need to put more variety but didn't have anything else to pack which stressed me out. If you have more than 4 items to pack, I just pack a few together in the large space. If I need more compartments on some days, I just use silicone baking cups.

A mom from our Lunchbox Ideas group just informed me that if you do not prefer illustrations on the tray, you can purchase a blank tray & outer box separately from the mix & match section of the yumbox site for only $0.50 more. Just be sure you're getting the right tray for the right outer box.

Please share your thoughts on the Yumbox or any other favorite lunchbox of yours. I'd love to hear your opinions.

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