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Friday, February 11, 2011

Review & Giveaway: EasyLunchboxes

I've been packing the boys' lunches for years now, and I've accumulated quite the collection of bento boxes. I've also been reading several bento blogs for years and I've picked up tricks on how to pack bentos so that the different components of the lunch stay apart. But a typical two-tier Japanese bento box has 5 pieces - two containers to form the tiers, plus three lids (there's a gap between the two top lids for a utensil; see the photo in the middle of this page at Just Bento). Add in one or two silicone cupcake liners as dividers, and a belt to hold the two tiers together, and you're looking at 8 pieces to corral for just one lunch.

It was manageable when I was picking the boys up at preschool, because I was the one keeping track of all of the pieces. But once Alex started kindergarten, I realized it was too much to ask him to keep track of all of the different pieces. And he immediately broke the one perfect-sized, two-piece bento box that I had for him.

I had seen Easy Lunchboxes mentioned as a great kids lunch box on various blogs, and Gina's raves over at Moneywise Moms really piqued my curiosity. Looking for a better solution to my lunch packing problems, I contacted Kelly, the founder of Easy Lunchboxes, and asked if they would provide me a sample to review. I was very excited when she said yes, and I've been working them hard for the last few months.

The lunchbox is a simple two-piece with a divided bottom container, and a fitted lid that meets the dividers at the top. In the lunch pictured below, I've packed some cold cuts, cheese, crackers, fruit and cookies. I did find that while the items stay divided, a five-year-old isn't quite capable of fitting the lid on firmly enough to keep the fruit juice from leaking out:

Here's another example, which contains some chicken nuggets, a ketchup packet and sweet & sour sauce, green beans, and crackers and dried fruit. This is a lunch for preschool, where they'll heat up the chicken before serving it.

After using Easy Lunchboxes for several months, I have quite the list of observations:
  • The section dividers reach all the way to the top of the container, so food doesn't mingle. This is unlike the Japanese bento containers I have, where the dividers don't reach the lid so I have to worry about foods sliding into a different compartment.

  • The plastic is durable and BPA-free.

  • Easy Lunchboxes are dishwasher-safe (although I keep reading that you shouldn't put any plastics in the dishwasher).

  • Easy Lunchboxes are microwave-safe (although I keep reading that you shouldn't microwave any plastics).

  • They come with a durable cooler bag that's perfectly sized to hold the container.

  • The cooler bag has a short strap that's easier for a child to carry.

  • The plastic is very easy to clean.

  • Easy Lunchboxes are very easy to pack in the morning because it's easy to designate each section for a type of food (big section for "main course", medium or small section for fruit/veggie, and the remaining section for dessert/chips/etc.).

  • The big section is perfectly sized for holding a sandwich.

  • Because they're reusable, they're eco-friendly.

  • Alex has had some trouble getting the lid off. It's because the lid can get "stuck" coming off, and you have to tug at a different angle, but that can be a difficult concept for a young child to grasp.

  • The container is a little big for a child (perfectly sized for an adult, though).
My Conclusion:
I wanted these for Alex's lunch, but I think he's got to be a little older before they're really right for him. However, they are incredibly convenient, and I still use them every day for the preschool lunch (where the staff re-plates the food). In fact, I'd be using them for myself if I were brown-bagging my own lunch!


Easy Lunchboxes wants to give one lucky CFO reader the chance to try out their waste-free lunchboxes - the winner will receive a container set and one lunch bag in the color of their choice.

To enter this giveaway, visit and then come back and tell me something you learned and which color cooler bag you would like if you win. Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through to the blog in order to see the form. If you're having trouble with your entry, you can go directly to the published form.

For a second entry, subscribe to CFO via RSS or email and fill out the form again to let me know you've done so. You'll get the latest on CFO delivered right to your favorite feed aggregator or inbox. If you're already a subscriber, just fill out the form to let me know (and thanks!).

For a third entry, follow me on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway. Then fill out the form to let me know you've done so (include the link to your update).

For a fourth entry, blog about the giveaway on your own blog or mention it on Facebook. Then let me know about it by filling out the form again with the link to your post.

You can enter up to four times (one for each type), and you must complete the form once per entry. Only one entry of each type per email address will be counted. I'll select the winner using and announce them here on CFO as well as contact them by email. Winners must respond within 24 hours, otherwise their prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be selected. Additionally, these guidelines apply to all giveaways here at CFO.

The giveaway ends at noon PST on Friday, February 18, and is offered to US and Canadian residents only. Please do not enter this giveaway if you have won or received free product from EasyLunchboxes within the past 3 months. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a set of Easy Lunchboxes to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and my own. Read the full CFO disclosure policy here.

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