16 of the Best Lunch Boxes for Back to School
Pack your child's midday meal—either to be enjoyed in the school cafeteria or at home during distance learning—in one of these innovative, adaptable options.
Part of the fun of heading back to school is lunchtime. Seeing everyone's lunch boxes, from brown paper bags to intricately designed bento boxes, offers a look into classmates' personalities. While there's no right or wrong way to bring a packed lunch (or to pack a lunch to be enjoyed later during at-home learning), we're in favor of a lunch box that makes your child excited for their midday meal. That's why we're sharing some of the best lunch boxes available, just in time for back to school season, no matter what it might look like this year.
Finding the right lunch box is an important aspect of back to school shopping, no matter how old your child is. From toddlers to high schoolers, we're sharing lunch box options they're sure to love. And the best part? The options we've selected are easy to pack and clean—music to any parent's ears. Another important factor to consider when choosing a lunch box for back to school is food safety. You can't pack yogurt, deli meat, or milk without an ice pack or an insulated lunch box. The lunch boxes we've selected have a myriad of features that make them safe and healthy for your little one. If you don't want to worry about remembering an ice block, we're sharing a lunch bag with freezable walls that will keep your little one's lunch fresh until noon. Simply place the bag in the freezer the night before (for 12 hours), pack it in the morning, and send them on their way. For the child that loves bringing a hot lunch from home—after all, nothing beats Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup—send them to school with a thermal jar that'll keep its contents warm.
Ahead, from sophisticated bento boxes to insulated bags, explore some of our favorite lunch boxes for back to school.
Colorful Bento Box
These fun designs are a collaboration between Poketo x Takenaka Bento. Poketo is an LA-based lifestyle brand that offers colorfully designed products to bring art to your everyday life. The Bento box is made from 100 percent recycled PET bottles and is BPA- and lead-free.
Shop Now: Poketo x Takenaka Rectangular Bento Box, $32, takenaka-global.com.
Thermal Jar for Hot Lunch
Do you have a kid who wants hot lunch every day but won't eat what they serve at school? The OmieBox is the lunch box you've been searching for. This large bento box features an integrated thermal jar that allows you to pack hot soup, pasta, casseroles, or stews in one part of the lunch box with room temperature items in the other compartments. The insulated jar is wide and shallow which makes it easy to eat the food inside. To make lunchtime even easier, its lid features a chunky handle so even small kids can open it. The side compartment is designed to hold most drink pouches and boxes so a lunch bag isn't necessary, but the box is small enough that it fits in many bags with no trouble.
Shop Now: OmieBox Bento Box for Kids, $39.50, amazon.com.
Perfect for Snackers
The Yumbox Original is a dream come true for kids who don't eat sandwiches and their parents who have to figure out what to feed them for lunch. The inner tray of the box is divided into five half-cup sections, and there's also a smaller sixth section for a treat or a dip for veggies. Adorable illustrations in each compartment feature fun emojis, astronauts, or Paris-themed artwork that prompts lunch-packers to include a variety of types of food. The outer shell seals tightly over each area and prevents leaks from one section to another.
Shop Now: YumBox Lunch Box in Nevis Blue, $28, yumboxlunch.com.
Leak-Proof Bento Box
Designed with healthy eating in mind, the Rubbermaid Balanced Meal Kit includes an outer box and individual containers that are color-coded, labeled, and sized to encourage you to pack the major food groups in the suggested portions. Kids will enjoy matching their favorite foods to the icons on the containers and adults will appreciate the friendly reminders to pack a balanced meal.
Shop Now: Rubbermaid "LunchBlox" Leak-Proof Entrée Lunch Container Kit, $19.98, walmart.com.
This option from ECOlunchbox is a solid, environmentally conscious choice for packing lunch. The boxes are made from high quality stainless steel and the unique silicone lids provide a leak-proof seal for messy foods. Wide tabs on the side make it easy for little hands to pull the lids off the containers and the flexible silicone stretches slightly to accommodate bulkier items. The Pods nest inside the larger Splash box so they can be used to divide it into two areas, or they can be used separately for sides
Shop Now: EcoLunchBox "Splash Box and Pods Set" Bento Box, $45.87, ecolunchboxes.com.
Two-Tiered Bento Box
The Takenaka Expanded Double Bento Box is a traditional Japanese bento box with a modern aesthetic. Each set features two stacking trays and a divider with an integrated fork. The beautiful colors, sleek design, and generous size of the box would be well-suited for a teen who has outgrown the cuter bento box styles and needs a little more food at lunchtime.
Shop Now: Takenaka Bento Box, $29, anthropologie.com.
Reusable Snack and Sandwich Bags
Russbe snack and sandwich bags are stylish and environmentally friendly alternatives to disposable plastic food storage bags. Available in 20 adorable designs, each set includes two snack bags and two generously sized sandwich bags. Gusseted bottoms minimize spills and allow for easy packing and cleaning. The locking seal and reinforced seams offer a secure closure, but the wide tabs at the top allow young kids to tug the bags open without tearing them.
Shop Now: Rusbee "Lemons" Reusable Sandwich Begs, $7.99 for set of four, russbe.com.
Flat Bento Box
Easily placed in your kid's backpack, this lunch box is available in an array of colors, and offers up multiple compartments to ensure food stays separate and fresh. And each component is microwave safe—perfect for high schoolers who want a hot lunch from home.
Shop Now: Mepal Modern Large Bento Box in Nordic Denim, $35, food52.com.
For the Little Ones
LunchBots has just the lunch box for your toddler. The compact size and lighter weight of this lunch box make it ideal for younger children and the stainless-steel construction holds up well to any jostling en route to lunch.
Shop Now: LunchBots "Small Protein Packer" Toddler Bento Box, $19.99, amazon.com.
You'll love this lunch bag for its simplicity—place it in the freezer the night before and let it sit for 12 hours to act as its own ice pack—and packability. For the kid that loves a fun design, this mermaid-covered lunch box is just the thing to get them excited for school.
Shop Now: PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag in Mermaids, $21.50, packit.com.
Small and Separate
Pottery Barn's easy to pack bento box comes in an array of colors. Its five separate components are perfect for simple packing and can fit many different types of lunches, from sandwiches to salads.
Shop Now: Pottery Barn Kids "Spencer" Bento Box in Aqua, $16.50, potterybarnkids.com.
Insulated Lunch Box
Featuring two layers of insulation, this bright lunch box keeps contents cool until lunchtime. Meanwhile, a fully lined interior makes for an easy wipe down cleanup. Its durable make means it can withstand the wear and tear of a bus ride to school, or even recess.
Shop Now: Hydro Flask Insulated Lunch Box in Sunflower, $33.69, rei.com.
Three Compartment Bento
This bento box offers three components and two tiers for a unique lunching experience. It's dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe, and has an airtight seal—meaning you won't need to worry about their lunch making it through a bumpy bus ride.
Shop Now: Monbento "MB Square Graphic Blossom" Lunch Box, $34.99, us.monbento.com.
Tons of Compartments
The Bentology Bento Box encourages variety at lunch time with an outer tray and five smaller inner containers that fit inside it. The boxes are removable so they can be configured to fit what you are packing for lunch on any given day. Pull one out to include a juice box or remove two for a large sandwich. Several of the boxes have leak-resistant lids that help contain wet or juicy items.
Shop Now: Bentology Classic Six-Piece Set in Beach, $12.99, bentology.com.
Eco-conscious, easy to use, and so colorful, your kids will love having a packed lunch in these simple bags. They're great for sandwiches, snacks, and so much more. Dishwasher and microwave safe, they close with a simple pinch-lock seal.
Shop Now: Stasher Bag "Mojave" Mixed Bag, $52.99 for five, stasherbag.com.