School lunches are not what they used to be! Gone are the days of the "PB&J, an apple, and a cookie" lunch. Today's parents prepare nut-free, low-sugar, nutritious, balanced meals to send with their kids. For schools with litterless lunch programs, there is the added pressure to ensure no food packaging is sent to school. Some parents also have to contend with a boomerang lunch program, which means parents must anticipate the returning uneaten food.
The focus for school lunch has generally been on healthy contents, but choosing the right containers are just as important and can make a time-consuming process a whole lot easier! Just ask any parent that has had to replace containers due to warps, stains, residual odours, cracks or has had to tediously hand wash their containers. A good lunch container makes life SO MUCH EASIER.
Stainless steel is the EASY lunch container.
Here are 6 reasons why:
1) SAFETY- Stainless steel lunch containers may be new to North America, they are definitely not new to the rest the world. Billions of people worldwide have used stainless steel to transport their lunch daily for more than 100 years. Unlike plastic, which is a synthetic mix of chemicals that emerged in mass in the 70s, stainless steel is a mix of metals from the earth. The safety of high-grade stainless steel is also why it is the material of choice in hospital surgical rooms or commercial kitchens around the world. (see #2)
2) ANTIBACTERIAL- Good quality stainless steel is naturally antibacterial. This is because stainless steel is non-porous, which means that it doesn't absorb food bacteria, or leach out chemicals. This explains why stainless steel is non-staining, non-leaching and non-odour retaining- ALL ideal features for food containers! It's another reason why stainless steel is the material of choice for commercial kitchens and hospitals.
3) DURABILITY- The stuff lasts! The cost may seem a little steep initially especially when comparing it to dollar store plastic containers but think of the economics (and convenience) of not having to replace the containers. Good quality stainless steel should not warp, tarnish, stain, or smell. It should last a lifetime. That's why it's such an excellent choice for daily use lunch containers.
4) ECO-FRIENDLY- Our planet could use a massive plastic diet. With millions of kids taking a packed lunch to school daily, and approximately 200 school days per year, and 10 years of elementary school (JK-G8), think of the mountain of plastic waste we produce with elementary school lunches alone. Imagine if everyone drastically reduced the amount of plastic with their school lunches. No plastic sandwich bags, no plastic wrap, no hard plastic containers, no juice boxes, no single use water bottles. Our oceans and landfills would thank you immensely. Good quality stainless steel lasts a lifetime. And when you're done using it recycle it. A product that is made of 100% stainless steel (no plastic, no silicone) is 100% recyclable.
5) HEALTH- Stainless steel is BPA-free, BPS-free (the replacement chemical found in most "BPA free" products), phthalate-free. All of these chemicals have been shown to be detrimental to our health. And more intensely with fetuses, infants, and kids. Significantly reducing our children's daily exposure to plastic is a good thing!
6) EASY MAINTENACE - With 100% stainless steel products, washing is EASY! Just put it in the dishwasher, top rack or bottom rack. No breakage, no warping, no leaching. No special washing instructions! This is my personal favorite reason for switching!
If you haven't used stainless steel containers, you should. It really does make the process of packing a lunch SO MUCH EASIER!
Have you used stainless steel containers for your child's lunch? What were your reasons for switching? Share your thought.