Those who follow my Instagram feed will know what a big fan I am of making creative lunches for The Boy. I have a wide range of lunchboxes, cutters, silicon pots, picks etc. to create fun lunches which engage him and ensure he eats everything up at lunchtime. While this seems to fit in with the Bento lunch philosophy, I tend to give him fairly normal food in comparison to the usual Bento foodstuffs; sandwiches, fruit, savoury snacks and sweet treats that other parents put in lunches. I do believe it's all in the presentation though so make an effort to make it enticing for him.
After all, the top chefs do swirly patterns on plates for a reason, don't they?
I've recently been sent a Yumbox lunchbox to review with him. There are a few lunchboxes on the market which have different compartments, but none that are as fun or well thought-out as a Yumbox. Yumbox lunchboxes are split into five sections with an illustrated tray guide which helps parents to pack a healthy and hassle-free lunch. The tray is divided into the correct portion sizes of the key food groups: fruit, vegetable, grains, protein, and dairy. There is also a small well for a dip.
I was really impressed with the different compartments in the lunchbox, as one of my concerns with Bento-style lunches is food falling into each other and everything becoming muddled up. Likewise this was also a concern as I worried that the predetermined spaces wouldn't necessarily allow the food to fit inside. The first lunch that I did for The Boy had bear sandwiches which I did find were too big to fit inside, however I was creative and managed to get everything in.
Lesson learned concerning the sandwich sizes, I now have a different selection of cutters that I use when using the Yumbox. It also means that I'm more creative and think outside of the box when selecting the food I put in; I've started using wraps, or crackers and fillings for The Boy to assemble his own 'main' part of the meal.
The inner transparent section comes out of the main section for ease of washing, and fits snug back into the box. You might notice two light blue cubes in the middle, these are reusable ice-cube blocks which I bought from the picnic section of a supermarket, and they conveniently fit into that recess underneath to help keep the food chilled until lunchtime.
One question I was asked a lot on Instagram when I started sharing photos of The Boy's lunches was concerning the leakproof aspect. Yumbox state that the box is leakproof for thicker liquids like dips and yoghurts, but I decided to test this with water (not something you normally put in a lunchbox but thought I'd give it a go!).
The biggest aspect of the Yumbox lunchbox that I like is that it had changed the food that I put into The Boy's lunches. He always had two types of fruit put in, but now I'm finding that he invariably has four or five different fruit or vegetables put in; at present his favourite combination is carrot and baby sweetcorn strips, strawberries, grapes, and cucumber. This is in addition to the reduced amount of carbohydrates in the form of bread, and an increase in protein and dairy. It's a far healthier lunchbox that The Boy takes to school every day, and one that he devours readily.
Yes, the Yumbox is a more expensive option that other lunchboxes. At £24.95 it is certainly not the cheap Sistema lunchbox that we bought from Asda in September for £4.00, which is just as well because that was broken by the end of September the first time that The Boy dropped it on the floor. The Boy has of course dropped the Yumbox, he's five years old. He's dropped it both in his lunchbag, and on it's own, and it's undamaged as the heavy duty and thick plastic casing it very robust. The edges are also rounded which reduces the impact and helps prevent weak areas. I feel that this is a lunchbox which will last him a long while and therefore worth the investment if weighed up against the amount of cheap lunchboxes which would need to be replaced in that time.
You buy cheap, you buy twice!
I was sent this product for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.