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Zest up lunches with the best of the best lunch boxes for kids (and awesome supplies and tools for back to school too.)
2023 back-to-school guide for all your lunch supply needs.
Back to school shopping can be overwhelming and confusing (and especially if it’s your precious child’s first year at school, I clearly remember my son’s first day of JK, sniff sniff).
It doesn’t have to be.
Especially when you have an ultimate list of back to school supplies for lunches.
Included below: The best of the best lunch bags for kids, awesome thermos, drink containers, and super cool accessories (think sandwich cutters, utensils, and fun ideas to make eating an adventure.)
These are fun, cool and will make your life easier (and save you time and hassle in the mornings).
Read on friend.
Editors: Note: I originally started this post to showcase some awesome lunch box notes around the web, well, because I’m obsessed. And I’ve been focusing a lot lately on how to teach my kids kindness! But this post evolved into something bigger, and badder, and it’s going to save you tons of time when it comes to back-to-school shopping. I remember how lost I felt when my son first started school. But, if you are interested in only the lunch box notes, grab em here, or skip to the bottom and that’s where you’ll find the cool deets!
FREE LUNCH BOX NOTES
Little notes of love for your child’s lunchbox! Make your loved ones smile by sharing one of these inspirational lunch box notes each day. This printable set includes over 100 notes! Where should we send your free lunch box notes? You’ll get the link to download instantly.
What to Look For In A Lunch Box
When choosing a perfect lunch bag you need to think about a few things:
I don’t recommend cheap products that will break on you after one use. It’s like investing in a good sweater that you’ll slip into season after season as opposed to the threads piling after just one wash.
Lunchboxes take a beating.
End of story.
So by having durable school supplies, you can minimize the need for mid-year replacements (and accidental leakage).
- Choose a box that will seal and keep food fresh
- Choose a box that’s reuseable (save the environment)
We want to make sure little fingers don’t get pinched, stuck, or cut. It’s important that hinges are set properly.
We also need to consider how safe the materials are? Are plastic chemicals leaking into our kid’s food? We have stainless options below, as well as BPA free plastic alternatives.
- BPA Free
- Dishwasher safe
Get mealtime under control with these bright, fun, and super practical meal planner printables. Includes:
- Weekly Meal Planner Printable
- Grocery List
- Monthly Lunch Planner
- Menu for the Week Printable
- Suggested Staple Grocery List
- Pantry, Freezer and Fridge Inventory Trackers
- Favorite Recipes Cards
When choosing the best lunch boxes for kids function is super important. We want function over fashion right? (Your little one might disagree when they see the coolest spiderman lunch box)
It’s like wearing 10-inch stilettos hiking, not really gonna work.
We need to think about what our kids like to eat. Do they like sandwiches? Soup? Perhaps bite-size snacks?
Pick your lunch box based on what you will actually be sending to school.
Check the number of compartments and ensure it has enough to suit your needs.
Then make sure your little one can open the lunch box problem-free. All of the choices we’ve curated below should be a snap for your child to open and close on their own.
- Ensure your lunch box will fit into your child’s backpack (and not take up ALL the room)
- Is it easy to clean?
- Easy to store?
Best of the Best Lunch Boxes For Kids (Bento Boxes #Love)
1. Lunch bots bag and box for girls and boys
The lunch bots bag and box for girls or boys is a great choice. This fun box comes with an insulated sleeve with a buckle handle (that attaches to backpacks and bags), a translucent bento lunch box with 5 containers and 5 leak-resistant lids, AND a matching ice pack that fits perfectly! What’s neat about this box is the containers can be used on their own or in the box.
And if your child screams personality, there are TONS of designs to choose from. (From aliens to unicorns.)
Food safe – No phthalates, BPA (bisphenol-A), lead, and PVC.
Pros: You don’t have to purchase a zillion accessories separately, it comes with a cool ice pack and a lunch bag.
This is a solid choice folks!
2. Lunch Bot Large Cinco Steel Lunch Container
The Planet Rover really is the mac daddy of lunch boxes. It’s a sleek, steel choice and would be suitable for an older child as well as a young child.
This power player lunch box comes with five different compartments for a variety of tasty choices. It’s also 60% larger than most of the lunch bot containers.
If your little one is more of a sandwich guy, then you can opt for the three-compartment box here.
These lunch boxes are virtually indestructible and a great choice for rough kids.
Grab these cute carrying cases here to go with your Large Cinco Steel Lunch Container.
Cons: Not leak proof so dry foods only, leave the jello at home!
3. Zulay Kids Bento Box
Zulay Kids Bento Box (Toddler-Friendly)
The Zulay Kids Bento Box is a great way to pack a young child’s lunch and it’s a wonderful choice for the mini artists in the room.
5 perfectly proportioned kid-sized compartments, sealed with a leak-proof lid and secured with kid-friendly latches for easy access with tiny fingers.
This bento box is sturdy and built to last against all the wear, tear, and havoc a young child can bring on an innocent lunch box.
The fun design will make your food choices look more attractive to your picky eater. I love that the large compartment can fit a sandwich, and the other compartments are the perfect size for a young child.
Cool Feature Alert: The top lid on your bento box has purposefully been left free of logo or designs so you and your toddler can add your own personalized touch. Paint it, put stickers on it or have your kid decorate it with his or her own sense of style and creative artwork. Your kids will love their customized lunch containers. Grab a couple of sharpies or a hand full of stickers and have fun! (Decorating Supplies Not Included).
Pro Tip: This easy to access lunchbox is great for young toddlers and children with fine motor delays. Easy-snap latches are easy to open and close for any child. The non-slip, drop-proof silicone edges protect against slips and tumbles.
4. Yum Box Panino Blue
The YUM Box Panino Blue is the lunch box I use, and as you probably guessed. I love it.
So it’s a given to say it makes the list of the best lunch boxes for kids.
My son is in kindergarten and it’s been perfect for us.
It’s my editor’s choice for kindergarten kids, and the reason I’m OBSESSED is there is one big latch that’s super easy to open.
It’s lightweight (another amazing feature), easy to open and this model of Yum Box has a compartment large enough for a sandwich.
The Yum Box has one 2 cup portion, two w/2 cup sides and 1 oz dep/treat well (sometimes I put mini marshmallows in here for a treat).
This genius lunch box is also leak-proof. Meaning you can empty your jello in and it won’t leak.
It’s true, I do it all the time.
So go ahead, put your applesauce next to your crackers, I dare you.
Your toddler will love that they don’t have to fuss with opening hard to unwrap containers and packages.
BPA-free and phthalates-free.
Cons: There are so many pros, but if I had to find a con, at times I need a little more space. So I put my YumBox in a fun lunch bag and add a drink and a few additional snacks. You can find some awesome lunch box bags here.
5. OmieBox Bento Lunch with Insulated Thermos for Kids
The OmieBox Bento Lunch with Insulated Thermos has a hefty price tag, but man, oh man, keep reading.
This is truly the mac daddy of lunch boxes.
This power player lunch box was invented by Nancy Yen when her son struggled to finish lunch at school. She noticed he enjoyed finger foods AND a hot entrée.
It’s a hot and cold lunch box all in one. Awesome features are it’s stainless steel, vacuum insulated and double-walled so fruits and veggies stay cold.
AND if you want a sandwich you can remove the hot lunch container (thermos insert) and fit your sandwich perfectly.
Oh, AND they’ve designed the long container to fit any brand of box drink.
The lid is easy to open.
I haven’t tried this one personally, but I just might have to splurge and get this one come my annual back to school shopping extravaganza.
Put fun muffin containers in your lunch box to liven things up and create a barrier between cheese and crackers or hold raisins or muffins. I buy Halloween, fall and Christmas themed tins. The possibilities are endless.
6. Bentgo Kids Bright Citrus Yellow
The Bentgo Kids Box is for the little snacker in the family.
This lively lunch box has 5 compartments that are sized perfectly for a young child’s appetite.
The durable bright and fun lunch box is leak-proof, and it’s best feature is the rubber-coated edges for young (or clumsy) kids who drop, well, everything.
Uh-huh. Anyone with a preschooler knows how important this is!
The cool box even comes with a two-year warranty.
Check Out Amazon’s ultimate page of Bento Featured Lunch Boxes and Accessories.
Related: How to Get Your Child Excited to Do Chores – With Free Chore Chart Printables
Thermos and Water Bottles
1. Asobu Juicy Drink Box
I love this indestructible juice box. It’s true that kids love the novelty of still using a juice box. So save some money, buy a carton of juice and fill up your Asobu juice box. Conveniently, two reusable silicone straws are included. BPA free, dishwasher safe,
2. DaCool Insulated Lunch Container Thermos
The DaCool Thermos is, just as the name says, a super-cool choice for your super-cool kid.
Life Warranty on the BPA free, no PVC, FDA approved 304 stainless steel, mac daddy thermos.
The food-grade material outer lid can be used to hold food, and also provides greater insulation and leak proofing.
Pour in hot & cold water to pre-heat or pre-cool for 5 to 10 minutes before packing. This keeps liquids hot and cold for 12 hours.
3. Stainless Steel Food Jar- Pottery Barn Kids
Pottery Barn Mackenzie hot and cold. Pottery Barn!? #love. Need we say more? Grab this cool thermos which keeps liquids hot and cold for hours.
4. Thermos Funtainer – 10 oz
There isn’t anything fancy about this thermos, it’s what I use for my son. The durable stainless steel keeps liquids hot for 5 hours and cold for 7 hours.
Simple yet efficient.
5. Water bottle Funtainer 12 OUnce.
The Funtainer is the matching water bottle to the simple thermos above. We also have this water bottle so it’s favourite of mine. I appreciate simple things, that are good quality and this water bottle is both.
Lots of super fun colours to choose from (including popular movie designs)
It keeps liquids cold for 12 hours and has a durable stainless steel interior and exterior.
Little Bento: 32 Irresistible Bento Box Lunches for Kids
Trust me when I tell you, Little Bento is going to change your lunch game! You need this book.
Super Cool Accessories
1.Ipow Silicone Non-Stick Baking Cups. This is my lunch box supermom secret. These are amazing, they look so cute and my son LOVES them.
2. To-Go Ware kids bamboo utensils. What I like about these is that they come with a little case. These are for little hands and big hearts. Buh-bye plastic.
3. Fit & Fresh Cool Col Slim Ice Packs for Lunch Bags/Boxes, slim and convenient, includes 4 ice packs to fit all types of bags and boxes.
Put ice packs in the freezer overnight- they’ll be perfectly frozen in the morning and ready to be placed in your lunch bag, cooler or tote
4. AmazonBasics Reusable Silicone Baking Cups, I use these to separate loose snacks in my son’s lunch bag. You need this in your life!
5.Fred & Friends Bites & Pieces: puzzling crust cutter. These cool cust cutters will keep your kids guessing!
6. Marley’s Monster Reusable Cloth Napkins – these are rad and the name says it all, Reuseable!
7. Yum Box Ice Packs – these will fit perfectly into your Bento Yum Box. Keeps food cool and fresh for 4 to 6 hours. These cute coolers are sure to make your lunch cool, in more ways than one!
8. Humangear GoBites Uno utensils made from durable nylon, FDA food-safe – 100 BPA PC and phthalate-free! Yes.
9. Keeper reusable snack bags are freezer safe plastic lunch baggies that are hand washable.
10. Bento bundle – Essential Sandwich Cutters (30 pcs) Crust cutters, food picks, popsicle moulds and more. These tools will get tricky eaters excited to eat!
11. Yo To Go Yogurt Sleeve fits an entire yoghurt.
12. Gimars 18 Pc Vegetable (or Cookie) Cutters. Does your child scrunch up their adorable noses at their yummy vegetables? Well, make it fun with these cool shape veggie cutters.
Related: 6 Smart Ways To Raise a Kind Child
The One Supply Every Mom Needs
Bento Lunch Bag fits all bento lunch boxes and bags. It has a spacious roomy interior that will fit your bento box and provide ample room to add a juice box or other packaged food items. The front zipper can hold your cool lunch box notes which I insist you grab here for FREE!
This certainly is an epic guide, and I’m sure within the best of the best lunch boxes for kids you’ll find something you love!
Now onto the fun part!
Lunch Box Notes For Kids
It’s really easy, simple, and virtually takes no time at all to add a fun lunch box note to your kid’s lunch. I saw these on Pinterest and fell in love. What kid doesn’t need a little inspiration. I can only imagine if I were a kid and receiving this, I’d be over the moon excited.
You can also see our epic post on the best free lunch box notes from around the web. There will be something here you’ll fall in love with, guaranteed (for FREE)!
100+ Premium Lunchbox Notes Available
If you love this idea (as much as I do), then check out our 100+ premium lunch box notes. This set includes:
- 24 Woodland Animals card set, perfect for kids of all ages. (Preschoolers too)
- 24 Minimalist Animal card set perfect for young kids who have limited reading abilities
- 24 Growth Mindset cards set to inspire, motivate and build confidence in your kiddos
- Includes 6 themed Halloween notes and 6 Christmas themed notes
- Also includes 12 blank cards (with cute animals) to personalize your own special messages
Phew, that was an epic list! The best lunch boxes for kids, best thermos and supplies and some cool ideas to boot! I hope you find something here you and your kids will love.
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