Finding the right kids lunch box is not a task for the faint of heart. As parents have learned the hard way (guilty!), if you have the wrong kids’ lunch container, that organic turkey sandwich you packed will wind up in the trash. The best lunch boxes for kids are durable, easy to open and close, don’t leak, keep food fresh, and in some cases, prevent different foods from touching each other.
Thankfully for picky kids and their discerning parents, there’s an abundance of lunch boxes to choose from. You can opt for a simple insulated lunch sack, to a top-tier bento box for older kids who can manage to open and close it, or a container that holds food and a water bottle. These kids’ lunch boxes will make weekday lunchtime that much better.
Best Kids’ Lunch Boxes
Two reasons we love this kids' lunch box: It's leak-proof, and it keeps food separate. If your kid is the type to freak out when food touches, this lunchbox is your savior, as it comes with a removable compartmentalized tray, is divided up into five wells, each of which seals independently with one lid. Though it's user friendly, it's better for older kids with more dexterity.
Great for younger kids, this lunch bag fits a sandwich and a small juice box. This lunch bag is easy to use, it's made of lightweight neoprene, and it's just insulated enough that it's perfect for younger kids who don't need to tote the entire contents of your fridge to school. It's machine washable, which is nice, and extremely durable.
One Fatherly editor has had this exact lunch box for three years and counting and it's absolutely indestructible. You can partition food into one of four slots, so nothing touches. It's easy for kids to open and close. Food stays cold and fresh. And it's a cinch to clean. If you don't close it all the way, it can leak. But that's the same for any bento box, really.
Not only does this lunch box look badass, but it's made from PBT, a high-quality plastic that won't break or crack. It's airtight, freezer-safe, dishwasher-safe, and has two hermetic compartments and one food cup so there's no mixing of foods. This bento box absolutely will not leak, if you close it correctly. That's thanks to its internal lid fitted with a silicon hinge. But it's a bigger bento box, so it's better for older kids.
This is one of the coolest lunch situations we've come across, for kids who like a hot lunch. The Milu jar is shake- and leak-proof and can be carried in a backpack or in the enclosed bag. This lunch container has stainless steel double-wall vacuum insulation, so your mac and cheese stays hot all day lunch. Its wide mouth makes it easy to clean, and it can hold anything from stew to chili to rice. The lid can be used as a bowl. It keeps your food hot, but not steaming hot.
Give your kid the ultimate balanced lunch with this bento box, which has five compartments portioned for a child’s appetite. This bento box gives you plenty of food options, it doesn't leak, and it's basically destruction-proof. The removable compartment tray reheats food in the microwave and cleans up easily in the dishwasher. The flaps are hard to close, so this is definitely better for older kids.
If your kid doesn't need quite as many food options, opt for this bento box, which has three compartments. The snap-on lid makes this easy for little hands to open and close. It's designed to separate food for your child for easy packing and eating, though it's too small for kids with bigger appetites.
For the tastemaker, there's this work of art of a lunch kit, by Alessi. The Alessi lunch box has three compartments: two containers, separated and hermetically sealed by two lids, and a third compartment where snacks can be stored. It is without question the most sophisticated option on this list. But it's expensive, and not suitable for messy eaters.
This is one of our favorite lunch boxes because the Box Buddy keeps food cold thanks to its ice-pack, and has a neoprene sleeve for insulation. You insert an ice pack between the two food compartments to keep grub cold, snap it shut, and it's ready to go. It's easy for kids to use, though it's not totally leak-proof.
This bento box has both hot and cold food compartments, to make even the pickiest eaters happy. The OmieBox has a thermos inserts so you can pack hot food that won't make cold fruit all mushy. This lunch box weighs nearly two pounds when it's empty, so beware.
Retro has never looked so good. Older kids will dig this Stanley lunch box, which is made of steel, holds 10-quarts and has a fully packable lid. It's got sturdy latches and hinges for extra durability, and you can nestle a bottle within the lid. But be prepared to lug it around, as it weighs almost four pounds.
No more ice packs, ever. Store the lunch bag in the freezer overnight and its walls will be frozen and ready to keep your food cold. It's so easy for kids to use, plus it really does work and it comes in a ton of cool patterns and colors. It's made from a non-toxic poly canvas and has a food-safe, water-resistant lining. The hard part is remembering to chill it in the freezer every night.
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