Following on from my review of the Polar Gear Bento Box last week, I have another product from Polar Gear to share with you today. This is the Polar Gear Lunch Pod, a round container that is designed to carry hot or cold food.
My first impressions of the lunch pod were very good. It looks really smart, feels nice and sturdy and has some great features, like the fold down carrying handle built into the lid and the little compartment containing a handy folding plastic spork. Inside, it has a divided bowl that can be lifted out to make one big bowl. The pods capacity is 500ml, which means it can hold a decent amount of food for both an adult or a child.
I’ve been on the lookout for something to carry warm food for Small Child’s lunches occasionally, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to try this one. I had a quick read of the instructions and warmed it up with hot water first, before emptying it out and filling it with some leftover curry from dinner the night before. This was a homemade minced beef and potato curry, which I mixed with some leftover rice before heating in the microwave.
I also packed some cold extras in a small bento box to go with it. Along with the curry, Small Child had an onion bhaji, sliced in two and topped with a fun bear pick, leftover naan bread, which I cut into stars using a little bento cutter and separated from the bhaji using a lettuce shaped silicone divider, some raspberries, in a sheep shaped silicone cup, and red grapes and blueberries, which I decorated with cute panda and rabbit picks.
I eagerly awaited Small Child’s verdict when he came out of school that day. How was the curry? Was it warm? Sadly, Small Child was unconvinced, in his words “It wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t freezing cold either”. So either room temperature or lukewarm then, from the sound of things. This was disappointing, but I wondered if user error might be to blame. I went back to the instructions to see if there was anything I’d missed. First off, the instructions state that the pod will keep food warm for 3 hours. I’d filled it up just before 8.30, which made it 11.30 once three hours was up. I doubt very much that Small Child had his lunch that early, I expect 12 or 12.30 is more realistic, so definitely longer than 3 hours. Secondly, I wondered whether I should have heated the food to a higher temperature so that it would stay warm longer, and thirdly I only filled it up half way – this may also have made a difference.
I decided that I needed to test the pod further at home to give it a really fair review, so yesterday morning I filled it up with homemade soup with the intention of seeing whether it would still be warm for my lunch. I read the instructions a bit more closely this time, filling the pod with very hot water from the kettle to let it warm through first and heating the soup to as hot a temperature as I dared in the microwave. I also filled the pod right up, so there was more food in it this time. I waited two and a half hours then opened it up to see what the temperature was like. This time it was vaguely warm, but not as warm as I’d hoped. I had to heat it up again in the microwave before eating, so not ideal.
Having said that, when I sat down to eat it I did enjoy eating the soup straight from the pod – it was a far nicer experience than eating soup from a square lunch box for example. The fact that it is microwavable is definitely a redeeming feature, so I am still very likely to pack soup or other leftovers in the pod for my husband to take to work, as he usually has access to a microwave. The leaflet also says that the pod can help to keep foods cool – it’s not the ideal time of year to test this out but I think it would be great for carrying a nice healthy salad in the warmer months.
Overall, though I think it looks really great I was disappointed with the heat retaining qualities of the lunch pod. I would only use it for warm foods if it was for a short trip out (a picnic for example, or to carry warm porridge for breakfast), and sadly it isn’t going to be the right solution for sending warm food for Small Child’s lunches. Setting that aside, I think the fact that it is microwavable definitely redeems it as a lunch container. It looks smart, is easy to carry and most importantly is a pleasure to eat from. I will be happy to use it in the future for my husband’s microwavable lunches and for cold salads in the spring.
Don’t forget, I have a fantastic giveaway of the Polar Gear Bento Box running on the blog at the moment, so hop over to this post to enter! The giveaway will finish this coming Saturday night, and there are six chances to win!
Disclosure; I received a free Polar Gear Lunch Pod for the purposes of carrying out this review, however all opinions expressed in this post are my own. I have no affiliation to Polar Gear, and was not otherwise compensated for this review.
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