My son will be starting preschool soon, and we’ll need to send him off with his own lunch everyday. When the discussion of lunchboxes came up, I knew exactly what I wanted to get for him. One of my friends, who is a great blogger–Bonzai Aphrodite, frequently posts pictures to Instagram of her son’s lunches. Not only do the contents of the lunches inspire me, but I’ve always admired the lunchbox itself, so I went straight to her to find out what they use–a PlanetBox!
PlanetBox has a ton of options–various sizes of lunchboxes, water bottles, and bags, along with a myriad of accessories like themed magnets for decorating your lunchbox–that you can create your own kit with, but you can also get a pre-built kit without using the configurator.
We went with the Rover kit mainly because my friend recommended it. It holds 4.5 cups of food which is plenty for a toddler, and will more than likely be enough through his entire school career. And because everything is made out of really nice stainless steel, there’s not reason it won’t last that long. We really liked the stainless steel versus something plastic for longevity and health reasons.
So what did we get in our kit?
The Rover has three differently shaped and sized compartments for snacks, one little treat spot, and the larger main dish compartment. The Rover also includes one Big Dipper and one Little Dipper. These are stainless steel cups with food grade silicone rubber seals. The neat thing about them is that when they are placed into the lunchbox and the lunchbox lid is latched, it puts pressure on the dippers to seal them. Just the engineering thought that went into that little piece is quite indicative of how well designed and made PlanetBox is.
We also added on the optional utensils. Like the lunchbox and dippers, they are made from dishwasher-safe stainless steel. They are undersized to make them perfect for kids to use, but not so small that I’d feel awkward using them myself in a pinch. I love the matte finish of the utensils (they get all beat up and scratched anyway so why make them shiny?) and the embossed PlanetBox logo on the handle.
PlanetBox also makes a great stainless steel water bottle they call the BottleRocket. All of the bottle parts are dishwasher safe and there is no straw, just a great silicone drinking spout. I can’t count the number of bottles we’ve had to get rid of due to no longer being able to keep the straw clean. And unlike a lot of water bottles without straws, it doesn’t make that sucking noise while drinking. It also has an easy to use button and latch to keep it tightly sealed when not in use. After showing him how to do it once, my son had no trouble getting it opened and closed on his own. Because the bottle is double-walled and vacuum-insulated, it will keep drinks cold for up to 12 hours. It can be used for warm liquids as well, but be careful because with the insulation, warm drinks will not cool very much. Make sure anything you put in it isn’t any hotter than you’d want your child to drink.
So now that we have all of this stuff, how does a toddler carry all of it? PlanetBox has three options–a Sleeve, a Carry Bag, and the JetPack. The sleeve is exactly like a laptop or tablet sleeve–its slim and flat and covers and protects the PlanetBox so it can be placed inside another bag. If your child already has a backpack they use, this might be a good option. The JetPack is a full-sized backpack with special compartment just for storing a PlanetBox. This is a great option for older kids (eight-years and up recommended) who need a backpack and use a PlanetBox. We went with the middle-of-the-road option–the Carry Bag.
The Carry Bag is made out of 100% recycled polyester fiber and fits perfectly with wanting to make my son’s lunch as environmentally friendly as possible. The bag has a main compartment that fits the Rover (or Launch) lunchbox. The main compartment also has two small elastic straps for holding down the utensil set. The mesh pocket can hold an optional ColdKit if you need it. The bag has two outside pockets–one that is intended for a water bottle (naturally the BottleRocket fits perfectly) and one that can hold a separate snack (it’s perfectly sized the a Big Dipper). The bag also has an adjustable handle and strap so it can be carried in-hand, or over the shoulder. The messenger bag aesthetic on a toddler is just too cute. One last thing of note is that the zipper pulls on the Carry Bag are perfect for little fingers with their soft loops.
The BottleRocket and Carry Bag (and other bags) come in a bunch of colors and designs and can be mixed and matched. Since my son’s favorite color is pink, we opted for a pink bag and water bottle. PlanetBox also makes over 30 different magnet designs that can be placed on the front of the lunchbox itself for further customization. My son loves underwater animals (we are thinking marine biology might be in his future), so we went with the “Under the Sea” set, although “Rockets” and “Dinosaurs” were also in the running.
Coincidentally enough, although we wanted the PlanetBox for my son’s first day of preschool in September, it arrived in the mail the day before we needed to pack him a lunch for daycare. Because everything is dishwasher safe (except for the magnets–don’t wash those), we threw all the pieces into the dishwasher (make sure the silicone seals and spout are placed in a utensil basket), and got everything ready to go for the next day. My wife did a great job of filling up the PlanetBox with a great meal and snacks–pears, tomatoes, carrots, and leftover pizza–plenty of food for a toddler for several hours.
If you need any help or inspiration for packing your PlanetBox, there is a handy Packing Tips card included, but you can also find several Instagram and Pinterest folks posting pics every day as well.
Obviously my wife and I love the PlanetBox. It’s better for the environment than paper and or plastic bags. It’s better for our son since only stainless steel is touching his food and drink. It’s convenient because it’s dishwasher safe, and, if you pack lunch the night before and throw the whole thing in the fridge, it keeps itself pretty cool for a few hours even without any ice or a Cold Kit. But the most important thing is that my son loves it. Even before he got to carry his own lunch to daycare for the first time, we had company over the same day it arrived, and he had to show each and every person exactly how it all worked.
Note: I received a PlanetBox kit to review but all thoughts and opinions above are my own.