Now that school is back in session, it’s time to think of what you are packing your child’s lunch in.
It’s important for all children to avoid toxins, and particularly those with autism are the most susceptible to damage and healthy implications from exposure to them.
Since children do eat off of their lunchbox and because lunch storage containers are coming in contact with their food, it’s important to choose safe options. Lunchboxes are often made of plastic, and this plastic can contain BPA, PVC, phthalates, and lead. The most common non-breakable lunch/food containers are made out of plastic as well.
As a nutritionist and a mom, I have tried many alternative lunchboxes. Here’s what I’ve learned.
I prefer stainless steel over plastic. There are several good eco-friendly companies on the market. You can also find many stainless steel container options at Indian markets.
BPA-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free, and lead-free (“non-toxic”) plastics are available. While I prefer other alternatives to plastic, plastic does have the advantage of often having the best options for easy-off lids. It is also an option when schools don’t allow glass.
Glass Water Bottles
Hands down, glass water bottles are by far the best. Everyone that I know with one raves about it. There is no metal taste like with stainless stain bottles. Look for a brand with a sturdy feel or a silicone sleeve. My favorite is Lifefactory.
Build your Own or Lunch Systems
There are two options, what I’ll call, “Build your Own” and “Lunch Systems.” You can choose an empty lunch box that you fill with whatever containers you like, or a full lunch system that includes the containers and the carrying case all in one. In this case, the best is whatever you like. I tend to like the size efficiency of a lunch system like PlanetBox, but the flexibility of something like the ECOlunchbox Three-in-One that you can put into any size bag depending on your needs.
For reusable sandwich bags or more lunchbox ideas, see at my post on NourishingHope.com.
Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Autism Diet Specialist, and author of Nourishing Hope for Autism. Visit: NourishingHope.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Photocredit: “My lovely lady lunch box” by theguturistics on flickr. September, 21, 2011.