Back to school and back to lunch packing? This awesome guest post and photos are from El Cerrito mom, Wendy Copley. For more from Wendy, see Wendolonia.com.
Back-to-school time means a return to the daily task of packing lunches for our kids. While it can feel like a chore at times you can make the task more fun for yourself — and maybe even encourage your kids to actually eat what you pack — by using fun lunch boxes, bags, and accessories.
I have also written a very thorough round-up of lunch boxes with a comparison chart and carrying cases on my own website for those of you getting started for the first time.
Here’s where to find them in the (510):
Whole Foods (Oakland, Berkeley)
I was as surprised as anyone to discover a really great selection of lunch-packing supplies at a grocery store, but Whole Foods has one of the better collections I’ve found in the East Bay. You can purchase tiffins, Laptop Lunch systems, and a variety of stainless steel boxes along with insulated lunch bags and more water bottles than I think I’ve ever seen in one place in my life. Whole Foods also gets extra credit for carrying the Eco Lunchbox line which is owned by an East Bay mom! The well-hidden lunch box area can be found at the back of the store near the intersection of the purified water dispenser and the end of the butcher counter.
Zipang (El Cerrito)
On the north end of the 510, Zipang stocks lots of inexpensive lunch supplies. Bento box enthusiasts such as myself tend to make a run on the store when a new shipment comes in from Japan so selection can vary dramatically from one visit to the next, but they always have several different styles of bento boxes that are easy for little hands to open in stock. The store also has a small selection of supplies for spicing up your child’s lunch – decorative picks, egg molds, and cute plastic dividers that keep foods from touching each other in the lunch box (perish the thought!).
Daiso (El Cerrito, Berkeley, Alameda)
With three East Bay locations, all parents can jazz up their children’s lunches on the cheap (heck! even the Daiso in Union City is sometimes worth the journey). This store has one of the best selections of bento supplies that I’ve ever seen and almost everything sports a very affordable $1.50 price tag. Bento boxes, cute silicon cups, tiny forks, adorable skewers with animals on the ends – Daiso has it all. Allow some time to browse the rest of the store as well. It’s almost impossible to come out of this treasure trove empty-handed.
Need some ideas for what to put in all these lunch boxes? Check out my list of Lunch Box Ideas.
Whole Foods Market, Oakland
230 Bay Pl
Whole Foods Market, S. Berkeley
3000 Telegraph Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705
Whole Foods Market, N. Berkeley
1025 Gilman St
10562 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA
Daiso, El Cerrito
7000 El Cerrito Plaza
El Cerrito, CA
2369 Telegraph Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
2202-R South Shore Center
Alameda, CA 94501
Wendy Copley writes about cooking, crafts, parenting and her obsession with lunch boxes at Wendolonia.
[Photo by Wendy Copley, all rights reserved]