Motherhood

10 Great School Lunchboxes

Let’s talk about lunchboxes. Officially, their job is to keep food hot or cold, separate soggy things from dry things, sandwiches from snacks. But in the best case, they also add a dose of personality to the middle of the day. Here are a few fun picks…

Anton also loves this shark lunchbox. (And I’m considering ordering this one for myself!)

If you have kids, what kind of lunches are they into right now? Do you have any other recommendations?

P.S. What food experts pack in their kids’ lunches and what adults (actually) eat for lunch.

(Top photo of lunchboxes by SoYoung.)

  1. Thank you for taking your time to compile this amazing data. With this, you’ve won my heart once more. I’m becoming hopelessly enamored with your blog like I just met it today out of the blue.

    Warmest Thanks
    Kent

  2. rachel says...

    my kids and i love neoprene lunch bags– durable, insulated, easy to toss in the wash when the yogurt container explodes. i’ve had the same one for 11 years. high five for keeping crap out of the landfill!

  3. june2 says...

    That kate spade one is an amazing and affordable office gift – thanks!

  4. Christine says...

    I was so disappointed in the SoYoung lunch boxes! I had them for both of my boys- they were super cute- but once something spilled inside the lunchbox, the outside showed a water stain no matter what I did. I ended up throwing them out :(

    • Jessica says...

      I second that! Not just a water stain, but mold. The fabric inside stays wet. Disappointing considering the price.

  5. Jess says...

    My policy has been that my daughter has to pack her lunch herself or eat the school lunch. All through kindergarten she ate school lunch, but this year she’s into packing her lunch. Her reason is because she only gets TWENTY minutes for lunch and she doesn’t want to spend half of it standing in the lunch line. I don’t understand only allowing 20 minutes for lunch. Oh, and they only get 20 minutes for recess as well, which is revoked for misbehavior. dumb.

    • Elisa says...

      Wow and I thought it was austere here in Florida. My kid gets half an hour for lunch and fifteen minutes of recess in the morning and fifteen minutes in the afternoon. What is up with this?? May need to complain to the school board

  6. Jo says...

    I am not a fan of making school lunches at all! But lately, I have started to relish the half an hour to myself in the morning while no one is up. I make my cup of coffee, get out all the lunchboxes and hit play on Netflix. I watch a friends episode in peace while slicing cheese and cleaning strawberries. Now it’s my guilty pleasure and im not sure my family even knows about it…

  7. Kim says...

    If anyone has any nutritional questions, or needs school lunch inspo, check out @kidseatincolor on instagram. I love her stories, and she’s not an influencer type. Lots of information, given in matter of fact language. She has a blog, too. She’s very open minded and real. She take questions everyday, I think.

    • Madi says...

      Yes- I love her! Her posts have made me feel approximately 100000% better about feeding my toddler.

  8. Tanuka says...

    Speaking of lunchboxes, I saw the cutest news (albeit from 2018 so not sure if I can call it “news”. A boy was bullied for his “girly lunchbox” and his dear uncle went out and bought the same lunchbox in support. Then he packed it, brought it to work and took a photo to share on social media. “There’s no one way to be a man,” he posted on Facebook along with the photo of him proudly posing with the lunchbox. “Men can be colorful. Men can be expressive. Men can be emotional and silly and gleeful.”

    See the story here: https://www.simplemost.com/this-grown-man-brought-a-cat-lunchbox-to-work-heres-why/

    Made me smile & hope it makes you all smile too :)

    • Samantha says...

      I love Yumbox! They’re pricey, but such a time saver to fill without needing a bunch of individual little containers.

    • Robin says...

      Yes! And even a four year old can open the latch. My kids now get school lunch and I borrow their yumboxes (the original size) all the time for my lunch. Just through in crackers, cheese, some cut up fruits and veg. So great when I don’t have easy leftovers.

  9. Lauren says...

    Anyone considering the robot: check out all the photos. The brand name (SUCK UK) is printed fairly prominently on the back. Wouldn’t have been considered acceptable at my ultra-conservative school. Of course, schools might not consider that a bad word anymore :)

  10. Kate says...

    My daughter has used an Omie box since she was 3.5. Big, big hit and never leaks. I love that it’s easy to wash and has minimial pieces (so nothing gets lost). https://www.omielife.com/ (though I bought on Amazon)

  11. lunch boxes are really nice there is a giant variety of them, I’ve bought a couple for my office and I love them:D

  12. Ragon says...

    We have a variety of bento style boxes we use–from yumboxes (our faces, we have 2 different ones) to simple squares or rectangles. They get carried in a Hanna Andersson lunch bag (silver with embroidered unicorns!). I like having options to either do a small bites lunch in a compartmented box or a more traditional sandwich and not having to make sure the box is washed daily.

  13. Kyla says...

    Another vote for Planet Box here – ours has lasted 9 years!! We switch out the cover every year but the metal hinged bento box is easy to clean and just won’t quit. Love !

  14. liz says...

    Planetbox! My 4th graders have been using the same ones since pre-k; super durable. We have replaced the nylon carry bags but the boxes themselves are going strong. Plus while the foods can be separated, only ONE PIECE to wash! Yes!!!!

  15. Rosha says...

    my kids all have planet box. it makes it easy for them to eat (open one container and see it all!) and oddly fun to pack (what tiny thing can i put in that compartment?). they are super easy to clean. no tupperware lids to find. one and done.

  16. Lucy says...

    Planetbox. There’s NOTHING better out there.

  17. Kim says...

    I really could have used this about 2 1/2 weeks ago!

  18. celeste says...

    I have the Pack It Freezeable lunch bags, I got them from Amazon. Saves a small step but it’s a lifesaver.

  19. E says...

    We like the ones from Fluf…works for elementary and middle school. Machine washable too!

    • Alison says...

      Yes! We have two Fluf carriers. Machine washable is key!

  20. JTA says...

    I highly recommend these stainless steel lunch boxes for kids:

    https://earthhero.com/products/travel/3-in-1-classic-stainless-steel-lunchbox/?gclid=CjwKCAjw8NfrBRA7EiwAfiVJpVb6-8XhyHf-jofiLlwfS8413F8m2QPokbEajexWe8ujFa_uLi_ORxoCar4QAvD_BwE

    We have become a no plastic household when it comes to things that touch and hold our food and these bento boxes are sturdy, provide plenty of room for kids’ lunches and are easy to clean. Plastic lunch containers can retain grease stains and odors and often stay greasy.

    • Erin says...

      I can also vouch for these (and their backpacks and sheets). We have the patterned lunchboxes. I really like the water bottle strap. A thermos funtainer fits perfectly.

    • Lillian says...

      these are all adorable! practically however, we found my daughter needed a lunch box big enough to hold her water bottle and with a shoulder strap for easy carrying on days when her backpack got too full. the llbean flip top lunchbox has been perfect and has lasted 4 years so far!

  21. Love Dabbawalla lunch bags! Adorable modern designs.
    Machine washable, 100% toxic-free. Foam material insulates the lunch.

  22. Meghan says...

    I have that same shark lunch box as Anton. Makes my day a little bit more playful :)

    • Suzanne says...

      Awww i wish I had seen these earlier. My kids have been in school for weeks already but cute ideas for next year!

  23. Do you know what shoes the kids in the picture are wearing? I love them!

  24. Cynthia says...

    I found an awesome lunchbox at target- it has built in freezer backs so you just chuck the whole thing in the freezer before use

  25. Megan says...

    My son has yum boxes and I love them! All the little compartments for food are so exciting for him and they come in so many fun colours!

    • Leah says...

      These boxes are the best! My daughter has used yumbox for years. We have two styles – one that accommodates a sandwich and another that has smaller compartments for her favorite lunch of “little things”.

  26. Meg says...

    We like our Packit! lunchbox – you freeze it and it keeps lunches cold rather than worrying about including ice packs. Easier for me and easier for my 2.5 year old as there’s one less thing to remember to put back after lunch. Plus, they are available in adult patterns too!

    • Michelle says...

      I have a packit lunchbox and I got my girls the snack size for preschool! So handy!

  27. Ann says...

    My two boys had planet box. I did not get all the fancy magnets and stuff they offer now, just plain with the nylon holders. I threw them in the dishwasher if needed. The covers were easy to clean. Done.

    • Morgan says...

      We love our planet box rover (five years still going strong!) and will be buying two more for the littles this year.

  28. agnes says...

    I am so relieved we don’t have to think about school lunch in France (schools provide lunch for a very very very cheap; that’s where our taxes go ;-))! After reading about all the amazing effort to provide every day your children with packed lunch, notes, sweet details, I have to say Bravo to you, american friends! I’m sure my child would end most days with a sad sandwich!

    • Fiona says...

      We lived in France for a year and man, I loved those school lunches (as the parent no longer making lunches). Not only the convenience to parents but how healthy they were. In our school, the cost was income related, I loved that all kids in the school, no matter their parents income, would have at least 1 large healthy meal a day. My son had to bring a lunch for a field trip once and came home saying that all the kids laughed at his lunch – I guess they couldn’t get over all.the.little.containers. What a shock to move back to Canada!

    • Escondista says...

      So you’re saying if I pack a sad sandwich I can feel very French?
      DONE! 😉

    • Kim says...

      We do have school lunches in the US but many kids have packed lunches. My son’s school actually has a pretty great food program but he likes food from home the best. I have the time, so I happily pack his lunch.

    • Becca says...

      Same, and I live in the US. Not a public school, but tuition covers a hot family-style lunch for teachers and students every day. I’m beyond grateful to not have to worry about packing lunches, my kids would definitely end up with a sad sandwich.

    • Christina says...

      It’s the same in Sweden, although our school lunches aren’t as fancy as the French ones (no entrées or desserts here!). I am so thankful that my children get a warm meal + salad for lunch every day without me packing thermoses and stuff every morning. They would never get through a day on a few sandwiches + snacks, although I guess it is a matter of habit too.
      When I do have to pack a lunch, for sports days or field trips I just use whatever containers match the food they have and then put it all in their back packs :-).

  29. Jess says...

    I’m a big fan of Planetbox. Not the cheapest, but really great quality and ethos!

  30. Claire says...

    I think kids have it easy – all the lunch boxes are cute and have sparkly unicorns, etc. on them. My burning question: How do I find a good adult lunch box?! Something that has a flat bottom (my canvas tote bag is not cutting it), isn’t too bright or shiny, and wouldn’t be embarrassing to walk around with? Any help would be much appreciated!

    • Sarah says...

      These are cute but some of them are ridiculously large (Ladybug) Like how much food can a 30 lb preschooler really need in a day?

    • Catherine says...

      My sons are in 3rd and 5th grade and have used the LL Bean Insulated Lunch Boxes since they started kindergarten. They come in a variety of solid colors and are plain and easy to clean. We sometimes use them to take snacks or lunches on weekend outings. I would absolutely carry one as an adult.

    • Colleen says...

      Would love to hear suggestions on this too! I use a reusable shopping bag because I have a water bottle, bring breakfast, a big salad, and a few snacks — it’s a lot of containers so I’m not sure there is a better option but would love something more exciting

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      for adults, I like the small SoYoung ones:
      https://us.soyoung.ca/collections/petite-poches

      also, this grown-up polka-dot one is great and relatively small:
      https://amzn.to/2HVPtTa

      food52 also has these, which you could put into your work bag:
      https://food52.com/shop/products/4014-duo-lunch-box

      and these cool bento boxes:
      https://food52.com/shop/products/5027-bento-lunch-box-cutlery-set

      i also really like the State ones, which are good for kids or adults:
      https://www.statebags.com/products/rodgers-lunch-box-color-block-green-navy

      hope that helps!

    • Kim says...

      Ha ha, I have the dog version of the lady bug and my son eats it all. He’s in a full day school.

    • Erin says...

      I used the larger Built bag for years and liked it. Washable, a good size, stretchy enough to accomodate tetris-ed containers.

      But then I realized that my old pump bag (Ameda Purely Yours) is PERFECT. Insulated, perfect size, nice shoulder strap, durable.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these look great!