When I got an email from Yumbox asking me to take a look at their product because they thought it might be useful for Autistic children, I was more than happy to put it to use and do a review. I loved the idea of a lunchbox which keeps food separated without any fuss and knew it would be useful to the people who watch my videos and read my blogs, so I wanted to share with you what I thought of it.
Yumbox are based in the USA but they have UK and Australian distributors. There are several designs and colour choices so there should be something to suit everyone. Personally, I went for the Framboise Pink Classic Yumbox, simply because I like to have a variety of foods and I like compartments, so it was the most appealing to me – in pink, which is, of course, my favourite colour.
The design itself is very clever, utilising most of the space very well – the compartments are very deep and the tray insert is handy to take out and wash and interchange with other styles etc. The materials feel really solid and high quality – the lid doesn’t open and slam shut, it just kind of stays where you put it, which is nice as it doesn’t make any sudden loud noises. Plus, the rubber feel inlay of the lid doesn’t attract the dust from your tea towel, so that stays nice and clean, which is a bonus, as I was expecting it to look all fluffy after I’d dried it!
It’s a simple design, which means there’s the option to put stickers on of your own to personalize it with your latest obsession, rather than buying a new lunchbox to suit each time you like something new! Also, the flat top lends itself very well as something to lean on whilst writing, maybe on the bus home or at break time.
Anyway, onwards to the testing! I set about packing my Yumbox with a range of foods which I usually snack on around lunch time, slightly ignoring the advice to avoid juicy/watery types of food, purely to put it through its paces! I used ham, coleslaw, grated cheese, potato (with some kind of dressing), chilli sauce and jelly – things that do not want to be mixed!
I had a little trouble putting the foods into the relatively narrow compartments, without it all falling into the others, but it’s not the end of the world, and it wouldn’t be an issue with a lot of foods, just the mushy ones I was using! I found that I had enough space for most of what I wanted, but it is aimed at children so the portion sizes are fine for that purpose, and good enough for an adult who just wants some snacks for throughout the day.
After I’d packed it all up and stuffed it into a cool bag, I left it for a while and then gave it a good shake around – like, a lot more than you would expect it to move around before lunchtime! I was wary of opening it up, to be honest, but to my surprise it was as I left it, no seepage or spillages into other compartments. My jelly was still the correct flavour, and not chilli infused!
There was some residue on the lid, as you would expect, but the issue I found was that when you leave it open at a vertical angle, the juices run down onto the other compartment lid sections, which means they mix if you close it again. No big deal really since, I figured it’s not often that you open, close and then open again.
As for washing it, I found hand washing to be a bit of a pain, since the intricate design of the tray means all the bubbles cling on for dear life and you have to rinse it for a while to get them to let go – and then you need to leave it to air dry since the tea towel can’t get in to dry it – once again, no big deal; you can pop it in the dishwasher on the top rack, and you can always buy more than one tray insert for added ease and speed.
The single bad thing which I would point out purely from an Autistic point of view, is that, since there aren’t separate lids for each compartment (which is, of course, the point of this), the smells of all the different foods do mix together when you open it, which I personally found a bit overwhelming. However, it’s not something that affects everyone on the spectrum, and it’s not always going to be an issue if the smells of the food aren’t pungent like mine were.
Obviously, the best thing about it from an Autistic point of view, is that you can separate things. I like that for several reasons; firstly, because nothing touches or mixes so I can eat things separately in the order I want to, secondly because it means I could arrange the food by colours, but also because it just looks nice to have it all arranged and orderly. Knowing that the food will be in a set place is a nice feeling, rather than it all shaking around in a box and being all mixed up, even if it was all individually wrapped.
Overall I was very happy with my Yumbox – it’s a fair price considering what’s gone into it, it’s lovely to hold; both the materials, and because it’s compact. And, it’s a great product for kids (fun colours on the outside, education pictures on the inside to help them learn about food groups), but also elegant enough for adults (plus, it helps with portion sizes, so it could be useful for dieters), both on and off the spectrum – but in this instance, it really does seem to suit those on the spectrum (for a change)!
Watch the video review:
And visit their (UK) sites here:
The Yumbox shown in the video, and used for the review is a 'Framboise Pink Classic - Yumbox': http://www.yumbox-uk.co.uk/products/framboise-pink-yumbox (£24.95)
For more about Asperger’s, click here.