These are my favorite, the best, tried-and-true lunch containers and gear for kids that makes lunch packing easy and healthy for all!
Hands down, one of the main questions I get in my inbox or over Instagram is about lunch boxes!
Which ones are my favorites?
Pros & cons?
Where can I find them?
To help you guys out, here are the top lunch boxes/gear that I have used (for my daughter and myself) and what I truthfully think of each!
Things to consider when picking out a lunch box for your child
- How much will your child will need to carry the container around. Some of these reusable lunch containers weigh more than others depending on their size and material. If your child has a cubby or locker that he/she can put the lunch bag in until it is time to eat, then weight might not be major concern. But if you child will be lugging the bag from class to class or in a backpack….a heavier lunch container might get frustrating or end up being dragged on the ground. This is especially true for younger children.
- How much your child tends to eat at school. Some kids need a big fuel up midday, while others save their eating for home (and use lunch time to socialize). Different containers hold different amounts of food. A large container filled with food might be overwhelming to a “home eater” and might also result in wasted food. While a container that is too small and that does not hold enough food might leave another child hungry mid school day and struggling to focus.
- How much time your child has to eat lunch. Each school has a different amount of time that children are given to eat before they are required to pack up. If your child is young and is still working on opening and closing containers independently, consider getting a bento box style container for their lunches. That way, he/she will spend less of lunch time trying to open and close containers…or flag down an adult to help them. Also, bento style lunch boxes display everything all at once for a young child to see and enjoy!
FYI: Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links. What this means is that by buying through these links, Amazon gives me a little bit of money at no extra cost to you. It’s one little way you can help me keep The Natural Nurturer up and running! And I thank you for it!
1. PlanetBox Rover
This is the metal lunch box you most often see me use for my daughter’s lunches.
Pro: It is one container that is easy for kids to open so that they are not wasting their valuable lunch time fussing with lids. I like that it’s metal and it has really stood the test of time, as we have had our’s for going on 3 years. I know many adults find that it is an adequate size for their lunches as well!
Con: It isn’t cheap, which is something that puts many people off. It is also an odd shape and size for a lunch container, making it so that you almost have to buy the insulated carrying bag through their website. I’ve also heard from followers that their customer support isn’t the best in town. Also, because it is metal, some younger kids find it too heavy to easily carry around.
Pro: This is also a bento-style lunch container that is relatively easy for kids to pop open. It is more affordable than the PlanetBox and is the only bento box on the market with a removable insulated container for hot or cold foods.
Con: It is plastic, which is off putting to some (though it is BPA-free). The insulated container works as long as you heat it up with VERY hot water prior to adding heated food (the insulated container is metal) and Alice sometimes struggles with closing it after she is done eating. Also, some followers have shared that this is great lunch box for their younger child, but does not hold enough for older kids.
Pro: More affordable of the above two ($25.99 on Amazon), it is metal but still lightweight. They offer lots of different styles with different numbers of compartment (1 compartment all the way up to 6 compartments) and even containers with different depths. These containers also easily fit in pretty much any lunch bag I’ve tried them in!
Con:The dividers between compartments are not leak-proof, so putting runny/wet items (like yogurt or applesauce) in these isn’t ideal, as it will likely leak to another space. The lids go on and off easily enough, but if the container gets banged around or tipped upside down too much, they may leak.
Pro: Super light weight for those littles who struggle with lugging around a lunch box all day. These bags are made from food-grade silicone, are durable (we have had ours for years) and they come in a variety of sizes, colors and patterns. They are easy to wash, reusable and good for so versatile! Since Stasher bags are soft verse a hard container, they can likely fit into any lunch bag you are already using instead of needing to purchase a new one.
Con: They can be a pit pricy ($11.99 on Amazon for the sandwich sized bag) considering you will likely need more than one or two to pack a lunch. And if your little isn’t great about making sure all of his/her lunch containers make it home…well, that can be extra painful on the wallet.
Pro: These little stainless steel containers are pretty light weight and come in lots of different sizes. They are a great alternative to all plastic containers and, like the Stasher bags, can usually fit in any lunch bag you are currently using. The BPA-free lids do a really great job in my experience of keeping wet foods (like yogurt, dip and applesauce) from leaking. They are also easy to clean, are awesome for adult/older kid lunches, and can be used for many things beyond food.
Con: The lids can be a bit tricky to get back on. Not the biggest deal if you are sending them with an older kid who will take the time to make sure they are sealed properly, but it can end in a messy situation if sending one of these containers with a little who might not take the time to make sure it totally closed before running off to the playground.
Packit Lunch Bags
Pro: These are the lunch bags we have for our entire family. I love that they come in a variety of sizes and styles to fit the needs/personality of each person, these lunch bags have freezeable gel worked into the lining of the bag….so no need for bulky ice packs when packing a lunch. We have had our’s for years, so they last!
Con: They pretty much live in the freezer. The gel needs a good 6 hours to get cold enough to keep food chilled for a prolong period of time, so we basically store our lunch bags in the the freezer at all times…which can be tricky if you are short on freezer space. Also, most bags have a zipper to keep them closed, but several also have a flap secured with velcro…that never seems to stay shut.