So let’s look at the pros and cons of carrying a lunch box vs. a brown bag to school.
Lunch Box Pros
Can be a wonderful expression of your child’s inner persona. Bat Man, Hello Kitty or just a bright orange carrying container says ”this is me!”
Keeps food cooler and bugs out
Allows you to send milk, soup or other liquids safely to school while maintaining appropriate temperatures for consumption
Provides a method for sending creative gourmet delights like sushi, left over dinner, or anything other than a sandwich and chips to school for lunch
Recycles - No need for plastic bags as internal plastic containers hold food items
Super Sleuths can ascertain what their child actually ate for lunch by seeing what came home in the box. Most kids aren’t observant enough to throw away what they haven’t eaten.
Lunch Box Cons
Kids have to remember to transport the box to school
Requires a child to find a place to store prior to lunch, then remember to pick up after lunch, then take back to classroom and finally remember to tote it home
Duplicate lunch boxes can cause playground conflicts over actual ownership; one hot wheels lunch box often looks just like another.
Teasing can occur over lunch box characters that are cool or not so cool
Costly item for parents to purchase and to replace when lost
Kids outgrow - Many kids fatigue of their favorite cartoon character or action hero and want a new lunch box prior to the close of the school year. Other kids are especially hard on their lunch containers, losing internal pieces or breaking thermoses.
Stress producing- Due to the cost associated with most lunch boxes kids stress out when boxes are lost, forgotten, stolen or damaged. It can be a hassle to have to find a “safe” place to leave your lunch box while all you really want to do is to run off and play on the playground.
Brown Bag Pros
Cheap to purchase. Just a few cents a bag
Easy to transport - squishes easily into backpack
Ownership easily defined by name scrawled on bag and bologna sandwich within
No one wants to steal(usually)
A great palette for your Childs’s artistic expression
Just throw it away when lunch is over. Then kids are free to roam the playground without having to worry about where they left their lunch container.
Great way to recycle store bags. Even large bags can be cut down to a usable size!
Brown Bag Cons
Food can get warm and mooshy
Accessible to animals when stored outside of the classroom
Bags can tear allowing food to fall on the ground or empty out into backpacks
So what do I vote for?
The old brown bag.
Why? Because it is easy to carry, cheap to buy & easily disposable. Store bags can be recycled or cut down to serve as food carriers. I do understand that lunch boxes provide a paper/plastic free way to transport lunch. However, as a principal I have collected far too many unclaimed lunch boxes from the playground, refereed too many fights over ownership, witnessed buckets of tears over lost lunch boxes and commiserated with too many parents over the cost of replacing yet another lunch box.
Which one do you vote for?