Laddies who lunch - best containers?
December 5, 2019 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Hi all! I am hoping Santa brings a few new containers for my own and my kids' packed lunches. But I have been frustrated to no end finding durable, reasonably responsible containers, especially sized for slightly oversized sandwiches but which still seal. The durable is key; we have years of school and work lunches ahead. What are your solutions? Lots of snowflakes below.

Here are my parameters:

- I have great soup/rice/pasta containers; the size I am hoping for contains either an oversized (breadmaker) sandwich/wrap/bagel/etc., which fit in a reasonably standard lunch bag (ours clip to the backpacks.)
- It needs to seal as sometimes things ooze
- must go in dishwasher, including lid if possible
- don't care if it goes in the microwave at all
- no glass, because these get dropped regularly, and (rarely) kicked
- I prefer not plastic, but if you have a wonderful other solution or a plastic thing that really will last for a year or more, please share. The closest thing I have found so far are the Roots containers that came in the lunch boxes at Costco, but one just cracked.
- needs to be available in Canada or ship to Canada for not vast sums of money. Extra bonus if it can be found in a bricks-and-mortar store in Toronto east of Yonge.
- BONUS a 60-lb child must be able to stand on it without it cracking (don't ask)

Thank you wise shoppers!
posted by warriorqueen to Shopping (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I do not know how big a breadmaker loaf is, but this stainless steel and silicone option from is quite large.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:54 AM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

I've found the Ikea containers to be very good. Durable, hard plastic. Very sturdy. The size on this link is great for a large sandwich.
posted by EllaEm at 7:09 AM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Snapware is thick plastic and holds up very, very well in the dishwasher after a year of daily abuse, snaps closed well with excellent sealing, and stacks well for storage.
posted by enfa at 7:13 AM on December 5, 2019

I like the Sistema Lunch Cube, available at Canadian Tire. We have them for my two kids, and use them every day. available here
posted by Amity at 7:26 AM on December 5, 2019 [5 favorites]

Keywords that will help your search are "bento lunch box" because the problem you have -- sturdy, leakproof, compartmented lunch container -- is a problem shared by hundreds of millions of people in the East.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:32 AM on December 5, 2019

Another stainless steel option to consider is the Indian style stuff like so. Lots of sizes available, you may have luck searching by your ideal dimensions + stainless steel Indian lunch box.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:44 AM on December 5, 2019

Thanks seanmpuckett and everyone. I should have said I'm looking for specific product recommendations...I appreciate the perspective but I've tried a lot of the bento boxes and the lids still crack or the seals fail. The tiffin ones have bent or leaked. I'm sure in both cases there /are/ products that don't get wrecked but my Pacific Mall and TNT finds have generally failed.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:46 AM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

Seconding the ECOlunchbox metal/silicone option. Our toddler has used one for over a year and it's held up great. All pieces go in the dishwasher.
posted by the_blizz at 8:00 AM on December 5, 2019

2nd Snapware. I've found that there isn't anything better (I use both the pyrex ones at home and the lighter plastic ones for carrying around, which is a system I've found works very well. They use the same sets of lids, which is nice.)

They have tons of sizes, maybe the 4.5C rectangular container is good for you? Or other sizes are here.

(I'm in the US and struggling to get google to let me search Canadian stores, but lots of chains stores typically carry the brand, it shouldn't be too hard to come by.)
posted by mosst at 8:00 AM on December 5, 2019

r/MealPrepSunday talks specific products a lot, you might have luck searching there.
posted by gaybobbie at 8:32 AM on December 5, 2019

Perhaps consider that as long as being kicked and stood on are relevant criteria few materials will stand up to this for years. Hopefully, as your kids get a bit older you can drop these criteria and be able to really enjoy nice containers long-term but it may be unrealistic to aim for years of use until then.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:35 AM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

PlanetBox steel lunchboxes are great. We have one that's been used daily for maybe four years now and one used for about three years and both look nearly brand-new. You would need the little sealable internal containers to make it leak-proof, so it may not work for you if you are looking for a really large volume or if you want the whole thing to seal, but we've never had a problem with the containers leaking, so if the largest container would work for you volume-wise, it might be good. The

I haven't tried, but the boxes do seem like they are sturdy enough for a kid to stand on! Ours has been dropped many times. You'd probably want the Rover or Launch.
posted by john_snow at 9:32 AM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

+1 Snapware. My not gentle friend shoved a couple meals' worth in her bicycle pannier daily for years without leaks or breakage.
posted by momus_window at 10:04 AM on December 5, 2019

My kid uses the Sistema Lunch Cube. They are plastic, yes, but they are also cheap and seal pretty well and have held up over the last couple of years of 4-to-7-year-old abuse. Sistema has a lot of similar products in different compartment and lid combinations, so you should be able to find something you need in their line.
posted by cheese at 10:21 AM on December 5, 2019

Love sistema! Also it’s made in New Zealand!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:22 AM on December 5, 2019

Another thought - if this is for a sandwich/wrap/bagel, how about a bag instead of a box? It'll hold up to a lot, as long as people are ok with their food getting similarly banged up...

I've had good luck with both LunchSkins and Stasher in the past.
posted by mosst at 1:31 PM on December 5, 2019

Durable? Try a waterproof work box. Pelican are the gold standard, and come in a few different styles, all scream industrial, and the only issue here is that this brand is expensive. I have a larger case from them like that first link, and while it would be total over kill I can think of nothing better than would hold up to years and years of total abuse.

The good news is that there is heaps of knock offs, even Amazon is in on this. I have this one - it doesn't weigh to much and would easily fit a large lunch inside, and can frequently be found on sale for much less. The foam comes out easily and then you have just the most durable box to pack food in.

I have several of these cases. They are the BEST at everything. Your kid can stand on them. You can stand on them. They are made out of ABS plastic and are super durable. A proper seal and latches that will last. It's not perfect - I would put the food in some sort of plastic dividers and use the waterproof case as a lunch box. The hinges are usually metal so those ones would rust if you washed them in a dishwasher and some have foam glued in them that you would have to deal with. You will find these in larger hardware stores if you want to check them out in person.
posted by zenon at 2:33 PM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Stasher bags, They are expensive at $10 each but last for ever and are easy to clean. I put mine in the dishwasher and you can boil them if the kids forget a sandwich in them for two weeks. Buy them at a store or off their own website or Mighty Nest. I ordered one from Amazon and it was fake. Paper thin and made from God knows what- the bad reviews you see online are probably all these fakes.

I have a ton of (glass) Snapware type containers from various brands and I find the lids start to break after a year or two. Super annoying as they change styles enough to make finding replacements really hard. If you do buy them buy the IKEA ones as they never seem to change the sizes and therefore the lids are readily available.
posted by fshgrl at 1:00 AM on December 6, 2019

Thank you, this has given me some things to try! I do know this period is probably short, but I just can't handle the amount of waste trying to minimize waste is causing.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:10 AM on December 6, 2019

Seconding the Pelican cases. I've seen them at Academy Sports and other stores. We use the 1030 and 1040 for small scuba gear. The 6.5" × 3.9" × 1.8" 1040 would be the size for a six-inch Subway sandwich, if you didn't mind it getting a bit squished (or used flatbread).
posted by TrishaU at 12:56 PM on December 6, 2019

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