Of all the back-to-school swag kids get every year, lunch boxes are probably the most fun. And that’s because lunch is fun. No tests, no math, just apple slices and PB&J ⏤ not to mention recess! ⏤ what could be better? Plus, lunch boxes are more than just a vehicle to transport Graham crackers, they’re like the social media of back-to-school: an early way to broadcast to everybody what a kid’s into. Spiderman, robots, taco trucks, who knows.
With that in mind, here are some of this year’s best and most useful lunch boxes, along with other lunch accessories like reusable sandwich bags, bento boxes, and ice packs adorned with unicorns. Choose wisely. The bag lunch years don’t last forever.
Lego Brick Lunch Box
The biggest problem these officially licensed Lego boxes pose is that kids may be tempted to dump out their snacks and fill them with bricks instead. They’re shaped like a single Lego block, come in one of nine colors, and the stub/knob on the front hides a zip-up exterior pocket.
ECOlunchbox Seahorse Bag
For the future marine biologist in the family, this line of environmentally friendly organic cotton lunch bags are machine washable and boast a cord handle and hook-and-loop velcro closure. In addition to a Fatherly inspired (?) seahorse, they’re also emblazoned with a sea turtle, blue whale, or dolphin, and can be paired with a matching Splash bento box that’s sold separately.
FUNKINS Emoji Fun Insulated Lunch Bag
Made of a stretchable, insulated neoprene and adorned with a collection of fun emojis, Funkin’s machine-washable lunch bag stands upright but stores flat, and includes an interior pocket for utensils.
Thermos BB-8 Star Wars Lunch Box
It may not be a vintage tin lunchbox with Luke and Han guarding the front, but this foam insulated BB-8 softshell kit from Thermos features two compartments to keep food, like the dark and light sides of the force, separate.
Taco Tote Lunch Truck
A back-to-school lunch box to match your kid’s flat-pack taco truck fort, the insulated “Tacotastic” tote from BigMouth features a wide-mouth zippered opening and hard sides to keep their hard shells from getting cracked.
Zoli Lunch Kits
Prepping your kid’s lunch will be a breeze with this all-in-one lunch box kit; it includes the NOMNOM lunch tote filled with a 10-ounce insulated water bottle, a food jar, a spork, and their popular tiered SUMO snack stackers. Zoli also sells matching backpacks.
Your kid will blow minds in the cafeteria with the OmieBox, which includes an insulated, sealable bowl that keeps food hot or cold without spilling — or can be removed completely to make way for a tasty sandwich. It’s leak-proof and has dividers to fit different sizes and types of foods.
Insulated Camo Lunch Tote with Bento Box
Not only does this soft-shell tote feature a mesh water-bottle pocket and the oh-so-trendy bento box filled with five lunch containers, but its cool camouflage shark design is sure to appeal to future fashionistas and oceanographers alike.
Brown Paper Bag Insulated Lunch Bag
An eco-friendly way to teach kids the importance of brown bagging it (no, we can’t get Chipotle every day, son) without actually burning through paper bags, this tear/leak-proof lunch sack looks like a wrinkled paper bag, keeps food both hot or cold, and rocks a double magnet roll-top fastener.
JJ Cole Snack Bags
Every day you pack your kids crackers and apple slices in one of these machine-washable, water-resistant snack bags from JJ Cole means one less plastic sandwich baggie ends up in a landfill. Also, they’re decorated like robots, cats, rockets, or butterflies, so everybody wins.
BUILT NY Big Apple Buddies Cornelia Cat Lunch Backpack
For the toddler with a big appetite and presumably a heavy lunch, the Cornelia Cat box is actually a backpack with adjustable padded shoulder straps, wipe-clean interior, and zippered front pocket for quick access to snacks on the go.
Robot Tin Lunch Box
Because kids aren’t nearly as suspicious of robots (and their impending world domination) as adults, this food-grade tin box designed like a classic ‘bot should be a huge hit in the cafeteria.
Spider-Man Lunch Box
For the Peter Parker fan who’s still raving about Spider-Man: Homecoming, this back-to-school lunch box looks like Spidey’s face ⏤ complete with eye puff graphics ⏤ and is insulated with a padded top handle. Plus, your kid can make all sorts of “It looks like I’m removing his brain!” jokes when taking out his sandwich.
Crocodile Creek Ice Packs
Just because a lunch box is insulated doesn’t mean that cheese snack won’t still sweat. Ensure lunch stays cold by throwing in a couple of Crocodile Creek’s playful ice packs, which are adorned with a multitude of kid-friendly graphics including planets, dinosaurs, and unicorns. Yeah, they’re cool.