The new school year is just about here and that means one thing for us parents: back to school shopping time! Even though we’ve been packing lunches for a few years now, it can still be overwhelming to choose the right lunch gear for our kiddos.
We look for a few things:
- A good value and high quality items that we don’t have to replace in a few years
- Kid-safe products that are free of BPA and PVC
- Functional items that help us get healthier lunches ready each day without a fuss
- Ease of opening and closing for little fingers that never have enough time to finish lunch, especially if they struggle with opening a container
- Durable items that won’t leak
So, ready to learn what products pass our test? We’ve got our list below, and are sharing from a few friends this year as well. Have something to add? Let us know in the comments section.
Thermos Food Storage Jar
Built for maximum temperature retention & comes in a variety of designs like Hello Kitty and Toy Story that your kids will love taking to school. None of our lunch gear gets as much use as our Thermos Jars and they’re in brand-new shape two years later.
UPDATE: Amazon is sold out of the Hello Kitty Food Jar (8/10), but there are plenty others to choose from. Here’s my daughter’s second choice: Ni Hao Ki-Lan. They should be about $15 for the 10oz jar. You could also try Target.
LunchBots Stainless Steel Food Container
LunchBots are great for foods that don’t need to stay warm or cold all day and come in a variety of configurations. The Duo is great for keeping things like a sandwich and wet grapes separate.
These are so incredibly easy to open and close (our preschooler loved these last year) and they fit a full sandwich perfectly.
Crocodile Creek Food Jar
New this year is an insulated food jar from Crocodile Creek. For kids who like their lunch tote, food jar and water bottle to match – this is a great set to consider.
Klip It Lunch Cube To Go
Carrie of Le Pomme de Portland uses these great containers to pack lunches for her three kids. I love how compact everything is.
Get Product Details Here. Also available at The Container Store
SNACK AND SANDWICH REUSABLE BAGS
Lunch Skins Reusable Bag
Dual-purpose pack comes in sizes for sandwiches or snacks with plenty of designs to choose from. My friend Courtney’s son loves the great shark design.
I particularly like the zipper close that won’t get things caught up in it, will close well, and is a quiet open.
These stainless steel bottles are easy to clean, durable, toxin-free, and non-leaching. They come in a variety of colors, sizes and configurations so you’re sure to find one to meet your needs.
Stylish, Swiss-engineered water bottle comes in a variety of sizes, lids and designs. Guess which is a favorite around our house?
Stainless steel drinking bottle comes in a fun variety of designs, holds 13 ounces, and includes a cover for the drinking spout (to keep the germs away!).
COMPLETE LUNCH SYSTEMS
The carrying case holds a stainless steel divided “tray” with hinged lid to keep food in place. This is perfect for kids who like lots of variety. Last year, my son used the Rocket Ship magnets, and this year my daughter chose Rainbows & Unicorns (of course!) with a pink tote. She is so excited.
Great system for kids who like a variety. First, the tote unsnaps quickly to act as a placemat. The individual containers within the tote can be divided even further with these little trays that sit inside them. You can put cheese on one side and grapes on the other and they’ll never touch! My daughter loves taking this one to school!
Fun lunch box contains five individually compartments and holds the included 8.5oz drink container. We haven’t tried this one but I’ve heard of many happy friends with this system.
Crocodile Creek Lunch Box
Great designs for boys & girls, features a layer of padding for insulation, and an outside zippered pocket that’s perfect for extra napkins, utensils, or a note from home.
Skip Hop Zoo Insulated Lunch Bag
Roomy, insulated bag with adorable designs to choose from.
Silicone Baking Cups
I love putting grapes, cut carrots, nuts or other small items inside the cup, and then lining them up in our Snapware Sandwich Box.
To-Go Ware RePeaT Utensil Set
This full set of spoon, fork and knife come in a convenient carrying case to keep it all together. Easy care, good for the earth – you can’t go wrong.
Don’t send anything back to school without your child’s name on it. This Brother Family Labeler is a simple way to make sure your lunch and school gear comes home each day. This was another great tip from friend, Courtney.
What’s missing from this list? Let us know your favorite lunch gear.
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