Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lots of Styles and Options for Lunch Bags, Boxes, Kits

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lots of Styles and Options for Lunch Bags, Boxes, Kits

Article excerpt

A generation ago, kids carried their lunch to school in a metal box or brown bag. Now, check out the huge selection of insulated bags, bento boxes and "lunch kits."

Kids of course focus on the fashion -- the character, color or design.

For the younger ages, the year's hottest designs at Wayne-based Toys "R" Us include characters from "Sofia the First," "Doc McStuffins," "Skylanders," "Despicable Me 2," "Monsters University," "Monster High" and "Hello Kitty."

Older kids are going colorful.

"Bright shades and bold prints are on-trend this fall," Sofia Wacksman, vice president of trend for Kohl's Department Stores, said in an emailed statement. "For the girls, make a statement with colored leopard print or a graphic heart design. For boys, try bold plaids or fun skater prints."

Lunch box options typically cost anywhere from $10 to $25.

While deciding which one may be difficult, finding lunch boxes, bags and systems and kits, which include the food containers that fit into the outer bag, is not. They are not only sold at big chains like Toys "R" Us, Kohl's, Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond, but also independent locations like Chef Central in Paramus and various North Jersey Learning Express stores. Even supermarkets like ShopRite and Stop and Shop have a small selection.

While kids are focused on style, parents need to remember utility and safety. Here are some tips from "Beating the Lunch Box Blues" by J.M. Hirsch, who helps parents make the best lunch box choices.

THE GEAR

* Dishwashers rule

If it isn't dishwasher-safe, don't buy it. Even if you don't use the dishwasher, this tells you something about the quality and durability of a lunch box item.

* Multiples matter

Get more than one of everything. This makes life much easier on those days when you forget or just don't have time to wash the gear used the day before. …

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