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The new lunch boxes: How they stack up

The Laptop Lunch is bento-style lunch kit; laptoplunches.com.

The Laptop Lunch is a bento-style lunch kit; laptoplunches.com.

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Updated: May 9, 2012 9:43AM



These days, a lunchbox isn't just a box. It's a kit. A carrier. An insulated bag. It's bento-style. It comes in a dozen colors and prints, with a matching water bottle. We (and a few other moms) put some of the newer, eco-friendly models to the test with our kindergartners.

Laptop Lunches

Bento-style kit comes with five containers, stainless utensils and carrier. Some models include water bottle. $20.99-23.99; laptoplunches.com.

Pros: High on style. Containers are lightweight, hold food securely and can be configured however you wish.

Cons: With ice packs (not included), the kit can get heavy, at least for a younger child. Lots of little parts to keep track of.

PackIt

Highly insulated lunch bag. Store it, unpacked, in the freezer. $19.95; packit.com.

Pros: Keeps food colder than conventional ice packs, and for several hours longer (up to 10 hours). Easy to clean.

Cons: None to think of - except if your child prefers a hot lunch.

PlanetBox

Bento-style metal carrier with five compartments and decorative magnets. Water bottle not included. $34.95-59.95; planetbox.com.

Pros: Slim but sturdy design, easy to latch open and close. No messing with individual parts or lids (though separate round containers for dips, etc. are available). Easy to clean. Magnets are a nice touch for kids.

Cons: Even heavier than Laptop Lunches. If you kid is a big eater, this may not hold enough food.



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