With school right around the corner, you might have a search for the perfect lunch box on your mind. Just add it to the list of what backpack, shoes, clothes, and school supplies to buy, right?
Without a doubt, school shopping can be overwhelming. Surely your child’s school supplies list seems miles long. Perhaps you, like me, feel like this season means being “on the run and never done.”
Whether you have one school-aged child or a dozen, this time of year is a whirlwind. Thankfully, searching for the best lunch box for kids can be both fun and successful.
Finding The Best Lunch Box For Kids: What’s On Your Mind?
Image source: Flickr
Lunch boxes have come a long way since you and I were in school! Back then, the typical lunch carrier probably featured the Power Rangers or another beloved character on a simple metal tin.
Nowadays, you have a lot more options and features to choose from.
Why Might My Child Need The Best Lunch Box?
If you regularly send your child to school with a packed lunch, it’s worth your time and money to find a great lunch box. Simply tossing a lunch in a brown paper bag or recycled grocery bag won’t cut it.
Not only might your child feel embarrassed, but these packages are unsafe!
Your child needs a lunch box that will allow them to travel to school in a safe and stylish manner. A high-quality lunch carrier helps keep your child’s food cold or warm. Also, it should protect your child’s food from spilling, getting lost, or being tampered with.
Another important consideration is if you have a child with allergies. Sometimes buying food at school is simply not feasible. So, instead, send your child to school with the confidence of a durable and easy-to-recognize lunch box.
What Should Be in a Child’s Lunch Box
When it comes to packing your child’s lunch box, it’s important to strike a balance between nutrition and taste. Include a variety of food groups to ensure they receive essential nutrients.
Consider including a protein source like lean meats or plant-based options, along with whole grains such as whole wheat bread or pasta. Add some colorful fruits and vegetables for vitamins and fiber. Don’t forget to include a dairy product like yogurt or cheese for calcium. Finally, add a small treat to make the lunch more enjoyable. Check out Harvard School of Public Health‘s website for a comprehensive list of yummy examples from each food group!
Remember to take their preferences and any dietary restrictions into account, and always pack a reusable water bottle to keep them hydrated throughout the day.
Looking for more lunch box food ideas? RealMomNutrition.com has a fabulous list of 100 Lunch Box Ideas Your Kids Will Love.
What Are The Most Popular Kid’s Lunch Box Options?
This school year, you have virtually unlimited options when it comes to buying your kid a lunch box. Though the metal character-laden lunch boxes of your childhood bring back fond memories, they are often made of silicone, glass, or metal. Also, they don’t provide insulation for temperature control.
Here are some lunch box examples you’ll see in stores this school year:
Insulated lunch boxes
One great food-safe option is an insulated bag. This type of lunch box keeps food cool or warm for hours.
Did you know that the Federal Drug Administration recommends foods like deli meats, cheese, cooked foods, milk, and yogurt not sit at room temperature for more than two hours? Now think about what time your child eats lunch.
Most of us send our children to school in the early morning. And generally, they don’t eat until noon or sometimes even later. This means the best lunch box for kids needs to keep your child’s food at a safe temperature for long periods of time.
The exterior of an insulated lunch box typically features a tough, fabric-plastic blend, such as vinyl, nylon, or polyester. They also feature an inner layer made of water-resistant plastic, aluminum, vinyl, or foil. Batting made of foam makes up the middle layer and most of the insulating capacity.
All three layers work to keep food warm or cool. It’s also a great idea to stick a few ice packs in your child’s lunch box. However, this type of cooler is not the only option for your kids’ lunch.
Bento lunch boxes
Long before we packed lunches for our kids, Japanese soldiers used bento boxes to carry their meals. Now, bento lunch boxes safely store and easily separate different types of food for your child at lunchtime.
Bento boxes may remind you of school lunch trays. Within a small square or rectangular box, you will find a tray divided into several smaller sections.
Bento lunch boxes are a great option if you have a picky eater. As someone who admittedly hates her food touching, I wish I had a bento box when I was a student!
Also, bento boxes help teach your little one about portion control and healthy eating habits. Likewise, if you’re environmentally conscious, bento boxes help reduce the use of disposable plastic containers.
How We Reviewed Lunch Boxes
It’s easy to get lost among all the different lunch box options available. Fortunately, our list will help streamline the selection process for you. That’s one less thing for you to worry about this school year!
Our search for the best lunch box for kids was multifaceted.
First, we wanted to find out the different types currently available in popular stores. When I was a child, I often fended for myself by throwing some miscellaneous items together in a brown paper bag. So it was eye-opening and informative to read about all the different kinds of lunch boxes you can buy today.
Image via Flickr
After understanding the different types of lunch boxes available, we used professional and consumer reviews to narrow down the best-rated and best-priced options. In the end, we have a list of 9 lunch box recommendations – your best options out there for kids!
Our List Of The 9 Best Lunch Boxes For Kids
We’ve assembled a comprehensive list that covers both insulated and bento-style lunch boxes. No matter your child’s age or personality, you’re sure to find a great lunch box for the coming school year.
While our list is numbered, keep in mind that these products are the best-of-the-best and are in no particular order.
MAZFORCE Original Lunch Box
MAZFORCE Original Lunch Box Insulated Lunch Bag – Tough & Spacious…
- GRIP YOUR LUNCHBOX WITH CONFIDENCE – Seize the day with this unique tough & modern insulated lunch box. The design is…
- KEEP YOUR FOOD FRESH FOR HOURS – Keep your drinks cold and don’t let your sandwiches spoil with our ultra-thick foam…
- STOP WASTING VALUABLE SPACE – Don’t sacrifice an inch inside your lunch bag. This bag is designed with a max-efficient,…
First up on our list is the MAZFORCE Original Lunch Box. This is a great environmentally-conscious option. It features eco-friendly, waterproof Oxford fabric and a leak-proof aluminum inner lining.
You’ll feel safe sending your child to school with the MAZFORCE because it’s free from PVC, BPA, phthalates, and lead. These chemicals, used in most plastics, can leach into foods and potentially cause harm.
Additionally, you’ll love the six designs available to ensure your child has a one-of-a-kind lunch box. The MAZFORCE also comes with a variety of practical features and perks. For example, the handle includes a detachable buckle. This means you can easily clip it to your child’s backpack.
Inside, you’ll find mesh pockets and an outer zipper pouch, all perfect for organization. The outside of the MAZFORCE has a mesh pouch for water bottle storage.
If for any reason you dislike the MAZFORCE, you can fall back on the hassle-free refund and exchange policy.
OmieBox Bento Box for Kids – Insulated Bento Lunch Box with Leak Proof…
- KIDS EAT BETTER — Your kids will gobble lunch up when it’s their favorite food served warm inside OmieBox. OmieBox…
- EASIER, FASTER LUNCH PREP — Now you can send hot soup and chilled strawberries without using a million small lunch box…
- HIGH QUALITY INVESTMENT – Durable, built to last and saves you the expense of buying a separate kids thermos! OmieBox…
Next up is the OmieBox, which is a strong contender if you’re looking for an insulated bento box. The OmieBox features an outer box with a three-compartment removable tray to divide your little one’s lunch.
This lunch box is unique in other ways, though. One of the inner-compartments includes a removable thermos insert. Also, the entire OmieBox is double-walled and air-insulated. That means you can keep your child’s food warm or cool with plenty of time to spare.
Additionally, this product is made of stainless steel and is BPA-free. Its rounded corners make it easy to clean — perfect for busy moms and dads with eager eaters! The rubber seals help keep food from spilling, and the secure clasp is still easy to open with small hands.
You can purchase the OmieBox in a variety of vibrant colors to suit your child’s taste.
OPUX Premium Insulated Lunch Box
OPUX Premium Insulated Lunch Box | Soft Leakproof School Lunch Bag for…
- THE LUNCH BAG YOU NEED for carrying food, snacks, lunch to school, office, work, and on the go. This durable reusable…
- KEEPS FOOD HOT/COLD FOR HOURS Our insulated lunch bag will keep your food/drinks at optimal temperature so you can…
- FUNCTIONAL AND EASY TO CARE Equipped with a front pocket for utensils and side mesh pocket to hold beverage. This lunch…
OPUX makes a reliable, insulated lunch box option for any student. While the outer design looks fairly standard, you can choose from 18 different colors to ensure your child’s lunch box stands out.
This insulated lunch box is BPA-, PVC-, lead-, phthalates-, and cadmium-free. Its outside is polyester fabric with reinforced zippers.
You can even help promote your child’s organizational skills with the OPUX box. It features a front pocket great for storing utensils. It also comes with a mesh pouch on the side for drinks. Its handle is detachable via a buckle, so you or your child can easily clip it to a bag.
The one downside with the OPUX is it doesn’t have a pocket inside. So, your child’s food items could become disorganized.
Bentgo Kids Lunch Box
Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box – Bento-Styled Lunch Solution Offers…
- PORTIONED FOR KIDS: 5 practical compartments portioned perfectly for a child’s appetite (recommended for ages 3-7)….
- LEAK-PROOF TECHNOLOGY: Keeps meals and snacks fresh and mess-free during transport– Includes two kid-friendly latches…
- MICROWAVE AND DISHWASHER-SAFE: Removable compartment tray reheats food safely in the microwave and cleans up easily in…
Another great option for a bento box is the Bentgo Kids Lunch Box. This fabulous lunch box for kids is both microwave- and dishwasher-safe, a major perk that sets it apart from competitors.
The bento box is drop-proof with rubber-coated edges, making it a sturdy and durable choice for young children. You can choose from three different color options.
You can rest easy knowing that this product is BPA-, vinyl-, lead-, and PVC-free. The tray is also removable for easy washing.
If you’re someone who likes to give back, you’ll love that Bentgo supports Feed the Children with each purchase. You’ll also love its two-year warranty.
Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie Insulated Kids Lunch Bag
Skip Hop Zoo Kids Insulated Lunch Box, Eureka Unicorn, Multi
- Roomy, insulated lunch bag keeps food and drinks cold
- Large main compartment of the kids lunch box is big enough for a sandwich, apple and juice box
- Easy-clean lunchbags are machine washable on a gentle cycle and allow to air dry with a gentle detergent.
If you’re looking for the cutest pick, the Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie Insulated Kids Lunch Bag might be it!
You can choose from over 20 adorable zoo animals, like owls, monkeys, and bats, depending on your child’s preference. All of the animals are colorful, cheerful, and adorably designed.
This insulated lunch bag has a large inner compartment that comfortably holds a sandwich, apple, and juice box. You’ll also find a mesh pouch on the inside for added organization. The inside pocket is great for utensils or an ice pack. Another great interior feature is a name tag for extra security and organization.
Its handle has a clip so you can easily secure it to your child’s backpack. The lunch box itself is machine-washable, which is a significant perk for busy parents. Finally, the Skip Hop Zoo lunch box is both BPA- and phthalate-free.
Artovida Insulated Neoprene Lunch Bag
ART OF LUNCH Insulated Neoprene Lunch Bag for Women, Men and Kids -…
- INSULATED LUNCH BAG – This insulated lunch tote kids by Art of Lunch keeps your food fresh for longer than plastic lunch…
- LARGE CAPACITY – Lunch bags for adults made with thicker neoprene than other brands, these insulated lunch bags stand…
- CUTE DESIGNS – Art of Lunch works with amazing artists around the world to make lunch more interesting. Choose from a…
One of the best-rated products on our list is the Artovida Insulated Neoprene Lunch Bag. With over 20 stylish colors and patterns, just about anyone can find something they like!
This bag insulation comes from four-millimeter-thick neoprene, a synthetic rubber. This keeps your child’s food cool and fresh for up to four hours.
This lunch box stands upright and folds flat for storage, and can fit a container up to 7-by-6 inches. The Artovida Insulated Neoprene Lunch Bag is lead- and PVC-free and has a stain-resistant outer shell. It’s machine washable, which is great for on-the-go families.
It also comes with a lifetime guarantee, another major perk. However, you should note the Artovida’s handle. It is built into the rest of the cloth lunch box, so you can’t easily clip it onto your child’s bag like other products.
PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag
PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure, Pixel Hearts
- This lunch bag features PackIt’s patented cooling technology. Freezable gel is permanently built into the bag, so you…
- To use, simply fold the PackIt Lunch Bag flat and store in the freezer overnight (12 hours). In the morning, the walls…
- PackIt lunch bags are perfect for packing healthy foods such as: dairy, fruits and veggies. Food and drinks stay cool…
Next up is the PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag. It comes in 43 colors and designs so you will surely find something your child adores!
This lunch box for kids is certainly one-of-a-kind. Using patented technology and freezable gel, the entire insulated lining is a lunch box and ice pack combined. Simply place it in the freezer for 12 hours, and pack your child’s lunch the next day.
The PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag is made of non-toxic poly-canvas, which you can spot clean. It has a food-safe and water-resistant lining that can easily be wiped clean. This lunch box has a zip-top closure and a clip handle.
Another great detail is that the PackIt is free of PVC, BPA, lead, phthalate, and formaldehyde.
Though it is roomy and can fit a sandwich, snack, and 12-ounce drink, keep in mind that there are no organization pouches inside.
Yumbox Original Leakproof Bento Lunch Box Container for Kids (Bijoux…
- PRACTICAL LEAKPROOF DESIGN: Yumbox Original is designed to make your packed lunches easy & delicious. Molded silicone…
- IDEAL PORTION SIZES FOR KIDS: Yumbox Original is designed for little kids. Our goal is to promote healthy & balanced…
- PERFECT HEALTHY PACKED LUNCH: YUMBOX is a winner of Good Design Award for a Children’s Product. Yumbox makes it so easy…
Another great bento-style option is the YumBox Original. The YumBox Original has a molded silicone-lined lid, which protects against dip and sauce spills but not necessarily pure liquids.
A major benefit of the YumBox Original is that each compartment on the tray has its own independent seal. Also, its removable tray can be thrown on the top rack of your dishwasher for easy cleaning.
The YumBox received the Good Design Award for a Children’s Product, and this box is made of food-safe materials. You won’t find any BPAs or phthalates here.
Worth noting is that the YumBox Original is not insulated. You should consider putting it in a bag with an ice pack to protect your child’s cold foods.
MIER Kids Lunch Box
MIER Kids Lunch Box, Fit in Backpack, Green
- Update version: Update to leakproof lining but without a elastic drink holder inside. Recommend to carry it flat when…
- Mesh pouch on the inside lid for ice pack, spoon, napkin, MIER special design for hook and loop closure, the stuff would…
- Perfect Size: 10L x 4H x 7W (inches), it has enough room for a normal sized lunch and suitable for fitting into backpack
The last product on our list of the best lunch boxes for kids is the MIER Kids Lunch Box. This insulated lunch box comes in two fun colors and patterns.
It has an interior mesh pocket like many lunch boxes. However, the MIER lunch box has a hook and loop closure along the interior pocket. That means your child can store food or other items more securely without the hassle of a stuck zipper.
The MIER has a food-safe PEVA lining and should be hand washed. Also, keep in mind that this lunch box is not leakproof. You’re best off keeping it upright when liquids are inside. Also, the handle features padding but is not removable.
Seize The School Day With The Best Lunch Box
Calling all super parents! You don’t have to worry about finding the best lunch box for kids this school year. Instead, you can choose from any of the durable, stylish options above and rest easy knowing your child is carrying the finest lunch box around.
On top of featuring fun colors, patterns, and kid-friendly construction, the lunch boxes on our list are all made with food-safe materials. Also, many of them are easy to wash by hand, dishwasher, or even in your washing machine.
No matter what style of lunch box is on your kid’s back-to-school wishlist, we’re confident you’ll find the perfect solution with plenty of time left to pick up pencils, a backpack, and everything else they’ll need for the year.
So, what do you think? Which lunch box is your stellar student going to rock this year? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image via Pixabay