by Diana Ballon
Posted on Family Vacation Critic on April 1, 2020
This is the era of the litter-less lunch box. Say goodbye to single-use plastics! Fortunately, there are some great options out there for reusuable lunch boxes for kids: stainless steel boxes, insulated lunch boxes, fabric lunch bags and Japanese-inspired bento boxes that allow for easy portion control.
For many kids, lunch is the highlight of their school day, and what they look forward to most on a field trip or at day camp. You can make lunch extra special for them by choosing from the lunch boxes described here, and packing it with their favorite foods and maybe a note hidden in a front pocket. This could score you some serious playground cred!
The choices listed here should also satisfy what a parent is looking for in a lunch box for kids—that is, a lunch box that’s easy to wash, and big enough to fit fruit and other healthy snacks, as well as an ice pack. Here are the best lunch boxes for kids.
Best Lunch Boxes for Kids
1. Bentgo Fresh 4-Compartment Bento-Style Lunch Box
This BPA-free Bentgo bento box has a lot going for it. It has three compartments, with the option of a fourth if you add in the divider. The sections are well-sized for portion control so both adults and older kids will find they can pack in enough food—think main, sides and snacks—to keep them going all day. Its compartment tray is leak proof, and inserts are dishwasher safe, provided you put them on the top rack. (Note: you may want to wash the case by hand.) This lunch box comes with a two-year warranty. It’s ideal for all ages, from kindergarteners up to adults.
2. Packit Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure
This lunch bag is cleverly constructed with freezable gel built into the bag, so you don’t have to buy separate ice or gel packs. Just fold the bag flat, put it into the freezer before bed, and it will be ready to go by morning. (Twelve hours in the freezer is optimal.) This lunch bag also has a zip top closure to keep the air dry and cool inside. And its buckle handle can clip onto knapsacks, strollers or diaper bags, making it easy to carry. The only possible downside? The bag can be a bit heavy with the built-in freezable gel.
The Packit lunch bag comes in many great colorful designs from geometric patterns to “surf stripe” to watermelon and tie dye. Younger kids will likely prefer designs like the colorful cats and unicorns, while teens and adults will no doubt prefer simpler ones in stripes or a solid color.SHOP NOW
3. OmieBox Bento Box for Kids
This lunch box for kids is a great choice because it’s a bento box that also has a stainless steel, leak-proof thermos insert. That means you can portion control your kids’ lunch in the bento partitions, and then pack foods you want to keep hot like chicken nuggets, soup or leftover pasta in the included thermos. You can also take out the separate thermos if you want to put your sandwich in instead, and use the divider for keeping different foods separate.
The OmieBox comes apart, so it’s easy to clean, especially with its removable rubber seals, which you can buy replacements for as needed. Note that you can also buy OmieBox’s utensils set with silicone carrying case and the OmieBox lunch bag if you want to have a whole set. This bento box is ideal for kids about age 3 to 8.
Related: Best Kid-Proof Water Bottles
Insulated Lunch Boxes for Kids
4. Under Armour Lunch Box for Kids
Under Armour partnered with Thermos to offer this premium insulated lunch box for kids that’s sturdy, easy to clean, durable and good value for the money. The Under Armour lunch box for kids has foam insulation to keep contents cool. It has a crush-resistant plastic liner inside, and its cloth parts are both easy to clean. This bag also has a good zipper and a mesh interior pocket for extra storage. Not yet convinced? Your kids will also be happy that their food doesn’t get squashed before they get around to eating it. This lunch bag also clips easily onto a backpack, so your child will be less likely to lose it! The Under Armour lunch box is ideal for kids 8 and up.SHOP NOW
5. BUILT NY Gourmet Getaway Neoprene Lunch Tote
This stretchy neoprene tote can, depending on the weather, keep food cold or warm for up to four hours, so it’s a great choice as an insulated lunch box for kids. It has a flat bottom to keep it upright and soft-grip handles so it’s easy to tote around. This bag is also machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about your child spilling things. The BUILT NY lunch tote is also roomy, so if your child is a big eater, you can pack in lots of food without them coming home hungry. This lunch tote will also accommodate other containers, including cans, thermoses, and Pyrex or Tupperware. The fact that it can be stored flat is an added bonus.
This lunch tote comes in many cool and chic designs from flowers to solid colors and stripes. It’s recommended for everyone from children to adults.SHOP NOW
6. Wildkin Kids Insulated Lunch Box
The Wildkin insulated lunch box for kids is made from a premium fabric with fun designs like wild animals, monsters and robots that make it ideal for young kids in daycare or elementary school. Its insulation helps to keep foods hot and cold. It has a zippered front pocket—ideal for packing a special dessert or other surprise. And its inner mesh pouch is perfect for storing things like cutlery, ice packs or napkins. This insulated lunch box for kids is also easy to clean using a wet cloth and mild soap.
Stainless Steel Lunch Boxes for Kids
7. ECO Lunch Box 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Bento Box
The ECO Lunch Box is a cool double decker stainless steel lunch box for kids, with a nesting snack pod that you fit into one of the containers. Together the three containers hold four cups or 32 ounces of food so you can definitely pack a decent-sized lunch, and the two larger ones are stackable so this saves on space.
This stainless steel lunch box for kids is high quality, food safe, virtually unbreakable and completely dishwasher safe! And the lid is easy to use, which makes it a good option for kids. Note: these containers are not leak-proof, so not a good option for wet foods, but perfect for dry ones.SHOP NOW
8. LunchBots Large Cinco Stainless Steel Lunch Box
The greatest plus of this LunchBots stainless steel lunch box is that it’s quite a bit larger with five sections compared to their classic containers that have three or four sections. That means your kids can have a lot of choice in their lunches, and that their food can be neatly divided, which is ideal for picky eaters who don’t want different foods to touch.
The LunchBots Cinco lunch container is really convenient for little kids because they only have to open one lid. At the same time, the sections are separated by dividers that aren’t water tight, so this only works for dry foods. (Option for wet foods: pack separate containers or buy silicone liners.) If your child wants color, you can also buy an inexpensive and colorful Large Dots lid to snap on top. These stainless steel lunch boxes for kids are ideal for any age, from young kids to adults. SHOP NOW
9. Kid Basix by New Wave Safe Snacker
The Kid Basix by New Wave Safe Snacker lunch box is inexpensive, easy to open and close, and easy to clean (it goes in the dishwasher). This stainless steel lunch box also has a fun colorful plastic lid with a leak-proof plastic silicone seal so food will stay fresh. And because the lids are attached on one side, kids won’t lose them, but they’re still removable when it’s time to put them in the dishwasher.
This lunchbox comes in three sizes: a mini 7 ounce for snacks; a medium-sized 13 ounce for chips, veggies, fruit; and a large 23 ounce for sandwiches.
Toronto-based Diana Ballon is a writer and editor who writes about travel, health and wellness, and is most happy when her stories can combine both. Diana’s stories have appeared in numerous digital and print publications. She loves to travel, and is most at peace when she is cycling, hiking, snorkeling and experiencing off-the-beaten path adventures, ideally with her family. Find Diana’s work on her personal website and follow her on Instagram, @dianamaryballon.